Mormons opening up in an Internet world


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  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 4, 2012 3:52 p.m.


    "We're praying that Romney becomes president. Then there will be such light and scrutiny on Mormonism that nothing can hide in archives for decades"

    I don't understand why all the clamor for the church to open its archives. Does anybody hear people demanding that the Catholic Church open up its archives to the public? Unless of course this is just an attack on Mormons in general.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 4, 2012 3:38 p.m.

    âRE: FAIR Question 8. If a spirit is a being without a body (See Luke 24:39), why do Mormons teach that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones? Scripture reference: John 4:24 .â

    Philip 2:6, âWho, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:â

    Luke 24:39, âBehold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.â,

    Ex 33:20-23 âAnd he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.â

    Ex 24:9-11 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Feb. 4, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    This is a very good article. I am sure there is more we can do to share issues about and explore implications of Church history. At some level though I think people often make things seem what they are not. They cast issues as attempts to hide or conceal things, when it is standard procedures. They construe respect for the preservation and security of documents as some sort of sinister plot. They also ignore the real consequences of criminals like Hoffman.

    I wonder though if people have more questions, or if the internet makes it easier for people to ask the question after a minimal encounter with new information of those they think are experts instead of searching more personal discussions with associates.

    At some level it also seems to me that some people are still attacking the Church for how things were taught half a century ago and ignoring more recent attempts at openness and forthrightness.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 4, 2012 1:08 p.m.

    @Allen, I would be interested to hear scriptures where the teachings of Christ(God)conflict with evolution. OK
    In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the*prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe(aion =time,G.165).(Hebrews 1:1-2 )

    In (2Tim 1:9 & Titus 1:2)God existed before time, implying he created time.

    ⦠God who gives life to the dead and Calls into Being things that were not.(Romans 4:17 NIV).

    For in him we live and move and have our Being...(Acts 17:28)Creation is dependent on God for itâs very existence.
    Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.(Ecc 12:7).

    *The office of the prophet ended.(Mt 11:13) *For all the prophets and the law prophesied Until John.
    When God created the Universe, He made no use of pre-existing materials, Nor did he make the world out of His own being or essence(pantheism).

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 4, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    As a Church the LDS have quite an extensive written history to base its founding on but we still do not know the entire story. Contrast that to Christianity in general. They base their faith on a book that dates only to the third century A.D., a two hundred year gap from when Christ made his first appearance. I am sure that those later Christians that were gathering the materials that would be their handbook for their faith were all upstanding and perfect individuals without any sins or skeletons in their closets right. Political and religious motives never even crossed their minds, really? I wonder what ideas and events were altered, changed, suppressed back then.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 7:50 p.m.

    Hi Sharrona,

    Everyone who has studied genetics knows that DNA isn't passed perfectly from parent to child. Occasionally, distortions in the DNA occur, and these distortions may help hinder the survival of the person/animal/plant. There is nothing in the laws of science that would prohibit outside forces from modifying the passage of DNA, as long as those forces were laws of nature. I believe that God does cause outside forces to influence the passage of DNA.

    You said "Evolution is in conflict with the teachings of Christ". I would be interested to hear of scriptures where the teachings of Christ conflict with evolution. The examples you gave of Christ healing the sick don't prohibit evolution. They are examples of Christ bringing other laws of nature into effect and causing the healing.

    This is my fourth post, and I won't be able to discuss this further with you. My blog on science and Mormonism discusses evolution in great detail, and you are invited to continue our discussion there.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 4:45 p.m.

    Re:Allen,I believe in evolution.

    Evolution is in conflict with the teachings of Christ. He should not have healed the lame and the sick if progress is made by Survival of the Fittest. He taught self-sacrifice ,but evolution is necessarily based on self-preservation in the struggle for existence. Evolution is the basic premise of all humanistic and atheistic religions. Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other such faith are all essentially based on some form of evolution(pre-existence,accepting space-time cosmos as the ultimate eternal reality and denying any real transcendent Creator of the Cosmos. Judeo-Christianity is based on an uncreated creator of the universe or Aseity. For science Google, Reasons to Believe.
    @Allen, guidance won't come until the Millennium?
    a- "no", Amillennialism is held in the Eastern and Orthodox Churches , the Roman Catholic Church, which generally embraces an Augustinian eschatology ." Amillennialism(realized millennium) is also among Protestant denominations; Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Methodist .

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 2:13 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska
    "You are only being ASKED to give 10% to the Church."

    You are only being ASKED to pay taxes too but people pay taxes to the gov't because they don't like the alternative.

    @Uncle Charles
    "I don't know of any church that doesn't claim to be the Lord's church and teaching the way to salvation. If they don't, why are there doors open?"

    The United Methodist church doesn't. Heh okay let me clarify, the Methodist church doesn't believe it has sole authority of truth and that it doesn't matter if you belong to other denominations and as such it doesn't claim to be the "one true church".

    "That's what's always so interesting about those who leave the LDS church, what doctrine that is taught that makes you unhappy?"

    I left because there are doctrines I don't think are true. For instance, I don't believe the Book of Mormon is scripture but I wouldn't classify that doctrine on a happy-unhappy basis other than I guess maybe the notion that I was unhappy being tied to a covenant that I didn't believe.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    Concerning topics in which new discoveries and understandings are being made, I think it is foolish to draw conclusions, especially those that seem to be sunk in "concrete", about those topics. Science is that way. The Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are that way. LDS history is that way. I think it foolish for church members and non-members to make specific conclusions about science and about LDS history. There is always the possibility that new discoveries and interpretations may surface that disagree with our conclusions. Much better, I think, to accept scientific things and historical information on faith and prayer and leave the door open for future understandings and interpretations of those things.

    We have a lot of information about Joseph Smith practicing polygamy, for example, but there are a lot of questions about that that remain unanswered. I accept on faith and prayer that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I look for the good points of his life. I await future revelations about him that historians may give.

    We all would like more specific guidance about the church and about our salvation, but I believe that type of guidance won't come until the Millennium. Until then, we have to live by faith and prayer in religious matters and keep an open mind about the future. I've been a runner for 39 years and I've learned to pace myself to avoid doing too much and burning out. I'm learning to pace myself about life, too.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 9:38 a.m.


    "I'm a mormon and I don't feel weird; though, Sometimes I'm accused of being an optimist."


    That is the best comment I've read all day. Thanks for making me smile.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    Uncle Charles, Regarding the painting:

    The issue isn't that the painting was an artists interpretation of the events, but that the painting was commissioned by the church and inserted into educational materials with a purpose in mind. Church authorities obviously felt that members would be better off with this visual in mind when thinking of the translation process rather than one of Joseph Smith leaning over with his head in a hat, which would lead to some probing questions:

    Why was his head in a hat? He was (allegedly) reading from a peep stone.

    What is a peep stone? A common instrument used in Mr. Smith's era and culture for accessing spiritualistic information.

    Did God give it to him with the Golden Plates? Mr. Smith found it while digging a well; you can make your own interpretations from that.

    Did Joseph use it to gain access to God's will? He used it originally and a device for finding treasure for profit and was convicted in court of running a scam using the same stone.

    Why would God have him use a stone so strongly connected to superstition and fraud when He had already provided the Urim and Thummim for translation?

    Does that explain better how a picture could be used to divert attention away from other facts? Most people who read the BoM or study history rely on such pictures to visualize the scene. And each is worth a thousand words. It goes far beyond artistic license.

  • Robbie512 PROVO, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    Pretending in the sense that all those who don't believe in the Church can't be trusted, because they have an obvious bias, whereas those in the church do not. It think the bias can go both ways.

    This, of course, rejects the assumption that the Church, true or not, must be good. The church requires a great deal from people, promising them grace, mercy and eternal happiness in return. If it's true, then it's absolutely wonderful, of course. But if it's not, then it's a terrible thing to be making such claims. Besides that, there's the question of whether or not your happiness comes from living in harmony with your beliefs (whatever they are), or from the substance of the beliefs themselves. That being said, I don't have any qualms with most church teachings, more so with their inability to say exactly what must be done to be saved. Sure, there are general principles, but no hard line, and this leads some (including myself) to seek security by pushing ourselves too hard. I think many members feel the same way, as evidence by books such as "Believing Christ," "The Continuous Atonement," "Weakness is not Sin," "Forgiving Ourselves," etc.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    The thing that works for me is to wear two hats. When I go to church I wear my religious hat, and I'm comfortable with the story of the ark and flood, with the tower of Babel, Adam and Eve eating the fruit, and similar stories.

    When I read scientific articles, I wear my science hat. I believe in evolution, because it's that best explanation that science has come up with. I also believe the earth was created in a physical but immortal form. I believe the mortal earth and evolution didn't come existence until after Adam and Eve ate the fruit. I don't believe the flood was a global flood that covered the whole earth. I don't believe the ark contained pairs of every species that existed on the earth at that time. I do believe the flood might have been a regional flood and that the ark might have contained animals and birds that existed in the area where Noah lived. I don't believe that Adam was the first mortal to exist, because science tells us there have been humans for hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions of years. I believe Adam was the first man, not to exist, but the first to make covenants with God.

    Someday my two hats will merge into one hat, and I'm looking forward to that time, perhaps as a mortal and perhaps as a resurrected person. I think the Internet is a wonderful place to exchange information and ideas with others, to find out what kind and number of hats others wear.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    It's really, really hard to hide from the truth or keep the truth from coming out in the end.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Feb. 3, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    The other day in a very technical forum, a number of very technical people started a tangent conversation about how mormons were weird. It was spawned by an article written that tried to compare mitt romney to a robot, but in the course of the discussion the topic turned to how weird mormons were.

    I posted a comment, "I'm a mormon and I don't feel weird; though, Sometimes I'm accused of being an optimist."

    I got a positive response by simply stating the truth that I was mormon. The whole premise of being wierder than other religions was dispelled because I was a fellow reader/user of this technical avenue.

    I think people tend to create bubbles around themselves no matter who they are. They assume everyone that agrees with their perspective must be exactly like them. In that mindset it's easy to develop an US vs. THEM mentality, and unfairly condemn whole groups of people with whom we may actually be able to build bridges of commonality.

    It helps just to let people know who you are. Let them judge from who you are and the good you do. Just don't hide it, and be open and up front. I think people appreciate that.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Feb. 3, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    @Robbie: I don't know that any is pretending anything. Either the LDS church is the Lord's church on the earth or it isn't. Either the "insert the name of any other church here" is the Lord's church on the earth or it isn't. I don't know of any church that doesn't claim to be the Lord's church and teaching the way to salvation. If they don't, why are there doors open?

    For me, following the gospel as taught in the LDS church brings me great happiness. I don't know of one doctrine that makes me unhappy. That's what's always so interesting about those who leave the LDS church, what doctrine that is taught that makes you unhappy?

    What scripture in the Book of Mormon wouldn't you follow?
    How doesn't every page on the BofM lead one to Christ?

    If I die today and find that the LDS church isn't the Lord's church on the earth, I'm still a better man for following the teachings of the gospel in the LDS church and have no issues.

    The path is straight, narrow and FEW be that find it. Even the very elect will be deceived. Peaceful is how I feel.

  • Robbie512 PROVO, UT
    Feb. 2, 2012 7:12 p.m.

    Let's not pretend the bias isn't two-sided. Members have just as much to lose from the Church being false as ex-members have to lose from it being true. Both groups could easily be pursuing their own happiness at the expense of the truth.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Feb. 2, 2012 6:40 p.m.

    Blowing: You make some strong insinuations but give absolutely nothing to say why. Everything is available on the internet. I refuse to go to anything outside of the LDS circles because my experience has shown they are full of half-truths and mostly lies. The same thing you accuse the church of. First off, the money you make is not yours, it is the Lord's especially if you have been endowed in the temple. You are only being ASKED to give 10% to the Church. The other donations are those an individual freely gives.

    The picture you describe is an artists perception, nothing more, nothing less. To try and say it is anything else is a complete and total frabication of the artists rendition. Many members are not even aware that each ward/branch/stake goes through an audit semiannually. That is right twice a year. Did you know more individuals are excommunicated for misusing the funds than for anything else? The funds of the Church are taken very seriously. Maybe individuals need to take a great understanding of things before they start spouting off something they know nothing about.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Feb. 2, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    If you have to worry about defending what you believe maybe you should find something else to believe. I really could care less about accusations made on the internet. What I do know is that Marlin K Jensen is one of the finest, most honest men you will ever meet. I don't know that I can say that about some of his cohorts.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Feb. 2, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    @Blowing: Honestly, I don't understand people like you or Carrie Sheffield who wrote a disingenuous op-ed in a DC paper this week regarding her former LDS church.

    What is it that you are looking for?
    What hiding do you think is being done?
    What denying is going on?
    Who has ever said that the prophet, not "prophet" is infallible?
    What financials do you want to see and what would that do for you? Interesting that you make the comment that "tithing receipts [would] diminish". Is money an issue for you? Why?

    What a miraculous plan our God put forth to us. One where we would come to earth to get a body and a chance to show our obedience in growing. He knew that only a small percentage of us would actually choose to return to His presence.

    I guess for me, all your insinuations and questions regarding the church have nothing to do with me returning to my Heavenly Father. I have a testimony that the BofM is true, Joseph is a prophet, gospel is restored and priesthood is on the earth.

    The gospel is simple and true.

  • Blowing in the Wind Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 2, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    @crunchem: That was just a simple example, but your response typifies the kind of reaction the church and her defenders give. Believe me, there are MANY people who have left and are leaving because of such "stretches." Go ahead and blow me off if you like, while you watch the congregations dwindle and the tithing receipts diminish.

    You insinuate that if the "prophet" would have painted the picture, then it would be considered the final say and "doctrine." This is part the whole problem, I think. We mythologize the truth and make it out of reach to the earnest humble seeker. We put the "prophet" up on a pedestal of infallibility so that when minor issues like the one I presented come up, it's MY fault for even asking the question. Rather than accepting the consequences of hiding our history (which is resulting in a "great apostasy" according to Elder Jensen), we promote the cult of personality, worshiping those men "at the top."

    I say "we" because I still go to church and have come to terms with the propaganda and misinformation that has come from SLC for years (not without a gut-wrenching struggle, though). My experience is that people are very forgiving. If the church were to open up its vaults of the history, as well as its financial books for scrutiny, I believe it would be taken as a goodwill offering, and any errors discovered would be forgiven by most as part of the human experience. But hiding and denying just repel those who would otherwise accept the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel.

  • crunchem Cedar City, Utah
    Feb. 2, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    @Blowing... Really? The picture of Joseph translating as you describe wasn't painted by the prophet, for goodness sake. Look, a lot of the Freiberg paintings are probably inaccurate as well. So what? When we find out where BOM stuff took place and no one wore purple feathers there, does that make his work invalid? Does it mean we were lied to? A painting is just a way of having everyone, young and old, visualize a scene. It's not intended to be DOCTRINE. Even paintings of Jesus, show variations in appearance, made by various artists, and there are a variety in approved church publications.

    To somehow say that the church is "hiding or suppressing" the truth of the translation process by allowing one depiction of it be more prominent is a stretch, I think. It's not inordinately relevant, for the seeker and learner, to have everything presented all at once exactly as it was done. To know that the BOM was an ancient record, hidden up and preserved, translated by the gift of God, for us, is good enough. If we find out later that Emma scribed in a blue dress and not the white one, big whoopie. If the manuals next year come out and show hats and thummims it won't change anything, for the believer or the unbeliever.

  • Blowing in the Wind Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 2, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    The talk of opening up archives and directly addressing their history is great, and I would like to see that happen. But are they willing to accept what will come with that... namely, admitting to their deception and hypocrisy.

    For example, growing up I recall seeing paintings of Joseph Smith translating the plates (he was sitting there, pointing his finger at the glyphs while a scribe sat on the other side of the desk writing. This depiction is completely inaccurate according to the records the church has. Where are the seer stones? Why isn't Joseph looking into a hat? Knowing the real history wouldn't scare me away. What's the big deal? So Joseph needed a dark place to look. Seems like a little bit of improvisation to me to put the stones in a hat. But for the church, it might be unseemly to represent that as part of the official story, so what do they do? They lie to us.

    The deception may have worked before where there was no access to the historical information, but we live in different world now. I think the only way the church will survive is if they earnestly give some "mea culpas" and start opening up the journals and history books (along with the financial records) and owning up to the fact that they have been less than forthcoming. Otherwise, they will dwindle into a group of zealots who cannot accept anything but the infallibility myth that is perpetuated now. The salt has lost its savor indeed.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 2, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    RE: FAIR is original sin a biblical doctrine? YES. Mosiah 3:19; Ether 3:2.

    FAIR said, The correct translation from the Greek reads: âWherefore, as by one man sin entered the world and through sin death; on account of death all have sinned (Romans 5:12)?but,

    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so âdeath passed upon all menâ, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV)
    Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way âdeath came to all peopleâ, because all sinnedâ(Romans 5:12 NIV)see sinful nature, Gen 8:21; Ps 51:5; 58:3 and Eph 2:3.

    Mormon Encyclopedia The Prophet (JS) explains there is nothing in the original word in Greek⦠that signifies paradise; but it was This day shalt thou be with me in the world of spirits . Also Mormon Doctrine.
    The word "paradise" is in the O.T.(Genesis 2:8 Greek Septuagint) a garden(paradeisos,3857)in the east of Eden.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 2, 2012 5:48 a.m.

    "Maybe the Church should teach its members to avoid Internet sites where anonymous participation is allowed."

    It never ceases to amaze me that people want a church instruct them on every little detail of their life.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:30 p.m.

    @ TheProudDuck I find it ironic that you suggest the Deseret News insist on people using their real names since I doubt 'TheProudDuck' is your real name. Regardless anonymity is a wonderful aspect of the internet that I would hope would continue. While it does lead to some abuse there is also the benefit that people share their honest opinions instead of putting on the usual facade to impress family and friends. If you want a place where people pretend to agree with everyone to avoid controversy then go to Church.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:18 p.m.

    Finding faith-shaking material on the Internet is one problem. The Church has ways of responding to this -- for instance, "inoculating" members against nasty surprises, by getting the information out there up front, accompanied with a faith-promoting interpretation, and by encouraging people who may encounter unsettling information to get the Church's side of the story before making snap judgments.

    But the Internet presents another problem, and one that's not so easily dealt with: Because of the anonymity of the Internet, people are more willing to express doubts. And when a person who's battling doubts goes online, he quickly discovers he's not alone. As countless youth firesides remind us, there is strength in numbers; when we know we're not alone, we have the courage to go places we might fear to go alone. A person with doubts, who easily finds other people with doubts, becomes less fearful of doubting.

    Maybe the Church should teach its members to avoid Internet sites where anonymous participation is allowed. Its flagship newspaper (hint, hint) might follow the example of the Orange County Register and change its policy to require people to stand behind their comments with their names.

  • scotchipman Lehi, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    Truth will eventually come out and prevail thanks to the wealth of information that is now available on the internet.

    I believe in the use of faith in the absence of evidence, but not in spite of it.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Feb. 1, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    Thanks for your comments Michael De Groote--and this quote you mention from Bushman:
    "The problem is that after they have had this fall, this collapse, and there is a certain amount of anger, then their pursuit is to confirm their new view."

    Sadly, this is so so so so so true.

    Confusion at being "deceived" by the Church--and incredible hurt from "learning [supposedly true] things" on the internet about their beloved Prophet leads to an incredible and unending amount of devastation, pain and anger.

    If no help or solace can be found for that terrible hurt and that consuming anger, serious bleeding and then complete hemorrhaging of testimony will surely follow, until it is no longer being "unwilling" to see truth or receive help--it actually becomes UNABLE to see truth or receive spiritual help.

    It eventually ends up that they are not just willful, or stubborn, or rebellious, or arrogant, or filled with the wrong kind of pride and blatantly refuse to see or understand--They actually lose the very ability to see or understand.

    For them, it is like standing out in the midday bright shining sun, and not seeing anything at all.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    I saw a cat playing piano on the internet. I think there may be some stuff on the webs that isn't true.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Feb. 1, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    "Peterson said the problem is not so much that there are no answers to historical questions, but that people discover this or that historical fact they had never heard before."

    In the two cases I know of, the sentence would have to read like this:

    "but that people discover this or that [carefully crafted conjecture or outright lie reported as] historical fact they had never heard before."

    By the time the real truth was found out, the lies were already planted in the mind, heart, and spirit and the damage done.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    @ Michael De Groote Thanks for sharing the additional quote. However what Bushman seems to be criticizing is someone coming to the conclusion that the Church is false. Instead he insists that they must keep studying endlessly while maintaining the conclusion that the Church is true. I am all for a continuing quest for knowledge that allows one to be open to the possibility of being wrong but anyone, Mormon or not, is going to reach conclusions of what is true and spend time enjoying the commonality of ideas among those who share those beliefs. Ex-Mormons like any other person tend to spend more time reading material from like-minded folks. However, my own anecdotal experience with exmormons and active Mormons is that exmormons are much more willing to spend time reading the viewpoints of those who think the Church is true than members of the Church are willing to spend time reading those that think the Church is false. There are exceptions on both sides but generally I see active Mormons avoiding material from Mormon critics and relatively little hesitation by exmormons to read material from Mormon leaders or apologists.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    The first problem of the internet for religions is that information is readily available. The second problem I think is actually more important to the decline of religions and Mormonism. It is the ability to communicate anonymously and express the doubts that most people have about their religion and to discover most others have those doubts as well. Religions work very hard to condemn doubt and expressing lack of faith because it knows that once people are able to candidly express their doubts the illusion of everyone being free of doubt disappears. The internet in essence allows one to say that the 'emperor has no clothes' without worrying that the emperor or his loyal subjects will find out and punish you.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 3:13 p.m.

    The trouble is the "Closed Mindedness" of most Latter-Day Saints.

    They envelop themselves in the Utah-bubble, and all views and and sense of reality is created therein.

    When / IF they finally start to see cracks in their views, ideas, beliefs, ect... everything implodes and they immediately doubt EVERYTHING they've ever believed.

    This usually happens in extremely Conservative, tightly controlled, homes and communities.

    Don't question Authority - is their mantra.

    I was taught to question EVERYTHING,
    Study it out for myself,
    Not to rely on others opinions,
    and NEVER turn to others for answers -- just suggestions.

    I learned this when becoming LDS.
    I strive to live by it to this very day.
    It is also why I consider myself Liberal.

    The bumps in my road in the Gospel,
    are merely a stone not yet turned...

    Let's see what's under them, shall we?

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    '**'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11, And then, one year before that: **'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/.

    Sying these are contradicting in the use of facebook...' - jsf | 2:16 p.m. Feb. 1, 2012


    is on, the internet.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    Small progress, but kudos to DN for broaching the topic and opening it up for discussion.

    I remember teaching a lesson in church a few years back and stating that "church leaders, not even the prophet are perfect" to which there was a audible gasp. There is an element in the church that results in many people deifying the leaders.

    Aside from correcting the historical record, I do think there is a tendency for people to whitewash, and simplify those things which don't conform to being easily understood or run counter to what is "comfortable." The history of our country and founding fathers which is taught in schools, learned by children and clung to as adults often doesn't result in an accurate view. Often on these comment boards people refer to what the founding fathers "believed" without recognizing the differing philosophical views and division that existed between them.

    I think it is too easy to dismiss those who've left the church over things they've learned. Two people can have all the "knowable" facts (and there is much in religion that isn't knowable) and still come down on different sides.

  • Michael De Groote
    Feb. 1, 2012 2:32 p.m.

    Here are a few quotes (for you comment readers only) from Bushman that did not make it into my article:

    "There actually is a kind of intellectual laziness here," Bushman said. "They read ... some book and say, 'Ah! Now I have the facts and I'm done in.' And they don't really have the heart to explore it through -- read my book, read all the FAIR answers, there is a lot of stuff around and trying to figure it out for themselves is just too much labor for them. You definitely don't want to tell them to stop thinking."

    "The problem is that after they have had this fall, this collapse, and there is a certain amount of anger, then their pursuit is to confirm their new view. And they are no longer really trying to figure it out. (Someone thinking about joining the LDS Church) has to figure it out because they are not in the church, and has to work it through. But they have now, in effect, left the church in their own minds. And then they just try to confirm it. ... And they get on blogs and say to each other, 'Look at the latest stupid thing the church has done.'"

  • LovingMormons Bakersfield, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 2:25 p.m.

    Lovely Cora, that you pray for those things that will help the weak, poor and oppressed. I do, too; Jesus told us to pray unceasingly. He also said that the poor will be with us always, so we will be praying for them until His Return.

    He also cautioned against those false teachers and "wolves" who war against His truth and our eternal destination. That ranks salvation and truth above earthly conditions, in the ultimate scheme of priority. I will always share food and clothing with the less fortunate. I always share Jesus' Good News for their eternal soul at the same time. I'm not any better than any other soul; I just choose to keep Gospel pamphlets in my trunk along with other staples that I share when street evangelizing. I

    That's just because I would rather have eternal security than a full belly, and Jesus warned everyone about the reality of eternal hell and separation from God. So I pray for God's will in whoever He allows to be our leaders, actually. I just pray that the full light of truth will be shone on any church's false teachings and hidden or revised practices, so that people can make eternal choices based on the facts.

  • Michael De Groote
    Feb. 1, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    weedeater asks,"Why open the article with a straw man controversy (as if to suggest that problematic history in general may just be based on false reports, forgeries, or lies)?"

    I opened the article with Peterson's story because I found it interesting and because structurally, it made a good bookend balance to his quote at the end. It also illustrates how isolated a person who has an intellectual problem with the church might feel. That's all.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 2:16 p.m.

    **'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11, And then, one year before that: **'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/.

    Sying these are contradicting in the use of facebook and twitter, is like using the logig if A=B and C=D, then A=D.

    It is also true that cell phones are linked to teen drug use.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    @Ernest T. Bass
    "FAIR and FARMS always provide rock solid answers. They never need to spin things. "

    Generally I find them to be pretty good. A few times I've read things that felt like they were really making a stretch to explain a point. So I disagree with your use of the terms "always" and "never". This isn't me criticizing FAIR/FARMS so much as just noting that nothing in media is perfect.

  • Theeng2 Holladay, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 1:19 p.m.

    I can't remember how many times as a missionary we would get invited in to a house, have a great first discussion, feel really good about it, and then come back for the next discussion only to be rejected because they had been online and "researched" the church. There's probably about 1 pro LDS website to every 10 or more anti LDS websites on the internet so it's extremely easy to read the anti stuff first which causes a problem since most people only research something for less than a half hour before they come up with their own conclusions. I don't think we need to white wash our history but I do believe we need to be able to tell our side of the story online, hiccups and all, and have a much, much bigger presence on the internet than we currently have. Also, a lot of questions people have the church's main website doesn't try to tackle, which is ok but people end up looking elsewhere and usually end up looking at the anti LDS websites. FAIR is the only website I know that's tried to answer the tough questions.

  • weedeater Murray, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    Why open the article with a straw man controversy (as if to suggest that problematic history in general may just be based on false reports, forgeries, or lies)?
    The article was full of innuendo like Marlin Jensen really wants to get church history out there and discussed. Maybe Elder Jensen does want this but higher ups are not giving him an "Ask Marlin" section of church periodicals, so the net effect is status quo (but you got to make it look like the church is opening up - again Mormon culture is skillful at managing appearances).

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 12:15 p.m.


    Your characterization of Bushman's book isn't accurate. Actually, the history is shocking in some areas and treated fairly in Bushman's book.

    The Church has an ethical and moral responsibility to represent its history in an accurate and truthful way. It can no longer hide and exert total control over what people learn. Ultimately it is a personal journey and choice whether learning the "good, the bad and the ugly" about the Church and its leaders leads one out of the church or if one remains in the church.

    IMO many people, particularly the older generation will remain faithful. Some people who are attracted to religion are black/white thinkers who are drawn in by hierarchy, rigidity, and structure--authoritarian followers. These people will be less likely to leave.

    It is convenient to blame the secular world for the demise of religion, when, in fact, religion has harmed itself. Religion has been harmed by allowing itself to become a political tool. Secondly, it has harmed itself with the numerous scandals and crimes committed by church leaders. When those that pass judgement on others are revealed to be guilty of immoral and even heinous crimes against children, people lose faith.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 12:10 p.m.

    @ LovingMormons: I also pray. But instead of praying for a presidential candidate, I pray for an end to starvation, childhood death by sickness, a cure for cancer,needless suffering,clean water, ending war, and peace on earth. These problems need help the most in my mind. When these important items have been delt with, then, and only then would I consider praying for a football game or a president of my choice.

  • Freeyourmind Orange, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 12:05 p.m.

    @CTR Stan

    Who said I've never had an experience that I interpreted as a spiritual one? That is incorrect.

    However, upon discovering that devout persons of ALL religious faiths express having such experiences, I was forced to conclude that they, alone, are insufficient to establish any objective truth. And since it is such experiences, alone, that members must ultimately fall back on in defending their beliefs, we see that the foundation is not so firm after all.

    If there is a God that speaks to us through emotions (big if), it is impossible to extrapolate such experiences beyond the person. At best, you can infer from such experiences that a certain belief, concept, or practice is good....for you and you alone. It has no direct bearing on anyone or anything else. Thus, you cannot extrapolate objective, historical fact, from subjective personal experience.

  • E Sandy, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    Learning about church history, warts and all, is a problem only if you believe that Joseph Smith and our other church leaders were (or still are) infallible. Smith was a great man and inspired by God, I have no doubt, but he also made his share of mistakes -- just as did many of the Biblical prophets (Noah, David, Moses, Elisha and Jonah among them, to name just the ones that come to mind immediately). Instead of practically deifying Smith, Young and others, let's recognize that God uses only flawed human beings (Jesus, of course, being the exception) to fulfill his purposes and try to learn from the past instead of whitewashing it.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    @Claudio - like it or not, many people will vote based on religious affiliation - eg JFK. But you are correct that they should decide on substance and while I haven't selected a candidate I will not vote for Obama.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    Times change. I have several teen aged youth in my neighborhood that have been very frank about their relationship with their religion. Most of them talk about not wanting to live by the dogma of past generations that do not fit in with these modern times, a different social perspective, the information age, etc. They want to live a life using updated methods and morality by their own conscious and education. Most say using age old books to shape their lives in these modern times is simply wrong. These kids mean no disrespect to their parents, church or society which have tried to teach these youth the same methods that were taught to them. The youth of today, with such huge amounts of information available makes a situation a where they want to think and discover their own way of spirituality and thoughts of the unknown. Some youth are content with living the same culture as their parents, but many are dissatisfied. We should except them for who they are and what kind of person they are, not who we demand they should be. The same goes for many adults these days. They tend to think about things much different than the days of their youth. People and ideas change over time, they always have. It's natural.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 11:08 a.m.

    My impression of FAIR and other apologists is this:

    Doctrinally, they kick the Church's critics up and down the street. It's just no contest. The anti-Mormons who try to argue that LDS doctrine is fundamentally incompatible with the essential doctrines of Christianity just get creamed.

    With regard to history, on the other hand, the apologists' arguments generally get to a tie at best. That is, when confronted with problematic history, they'll often come up with an alternative interpretation of the facts that's less inconsistent with what the Church claims. If you are already dead-set on staying with the Church, that's all you need -- just something to keep you from having to actually deny reality in order to preserve your faith. If you're still actually weighing whether or not the Church is true, on the other hand, this doesn't help.

    And sometimes, the apologists' alternative explanations come across as so far-fetched, that a questioning person will be dismayed that those explanations are the best defense that can be given.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    @Whos Life RU Living?

    "Are mormons still advised only to go to approved church websites when writing talks? Just curious."

    I don't know how others prepare talks, but I only use one source, the scriptures. Of course, I give my interpretation, that is to be expected. The purpose of SM talks is to strengthen the faith of those attending. Those meetings are not forums for academic discussions of the church. The church is a private organization and has the right to sponsor talks and lessons that favor its position on issues. All organizations do that. If I want to know about Republicans, I go to Republican sites. Ditto for Democrats, Libertarians, etc. If I want to know if God exists or not, I go to religious sites, atheistic sites, Unitarian sites, and so on. If I go to lds.org or mormon.org or apologetic sites, I expect to find information that favors the church, and I realize those sites only present information that favors the church. To expect to find information in those sites that is against the church means I am naive about the real world.

    I have known for years that the church in its manuals and meetings presents only one side of issues, and I'm glad to read that the church is finally trying to bring out a broader view of the issues. In my blogs about Mormonism I delve into issues, such as evolution and the flood, and discuss the pro and cons. I try to take an approach in my talks and discussions that is appropriate for the group that I'm addressing.

  • deep in thought Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    If Gingrich is still a viable candidate after 3 marriages and ethics violations, it just goes to prove that anything you can get out in the open is less damaging that something you try not to talk about. I honestly believe Herman Cain would still be around if he had taken the "open and frank" approach to his past.

    I am pleased that the church history is getting out there, warts and all. If you research any other religion back to the founding you find plenty of eyebrow raising stuff. To me it makes no difference. I love raising my family in a morally pure, Christ centered way. I am happy and they are happy. Why would anyone try to tear that down? Unless ... misery loves company.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    RE: FAIR Question 8. If a spirit is a being without a body (See Luke 24:39), why do Mormons teach that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones? Scripture reference: John 4:24 .

    Two Greek words,theos pneuma. Actually three Greek words,â pneuma *ho Theos =God[is] spirit,(John 4:24 NIV)

    FAIR,The King James Version of Revelation 13:15 renders âpneumaâ as *life. Thus "God is life(spirit)" or "God is the breath of life" are potential alternative translations of this verse.

    Very poor alternative by KJV translation of pneuma. He was granted power to give breath(pneuma) to the imageâ¦.(Rev 13:15 NKJV)

    It is a metaphor of his mode of operation, as life-giving power, and it is no more to be taken literally than 1 John 1:5, "God is light. St Paul, âwho alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.(1Tim 6:16 NIV)

    *ho=Nominative singular article, a definite article that modifies the subject.
    *life= zoe G. 2222,like zoology).

  • CTR Stan PROVO, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 10:16 a.m.


    If you have never had a spiritual experience, then it is easy to criticize the process and experience. When Joseph Smith said he saw the Father and Son he was persecuted for the rest of his life. When we pray if Joseph was a prophet and receive an answer, then you claim it was an emotional response and âSuch emotional responses are not indicators of the truth.â How do you know it was an emotional response if you have never experienced a spiritual one? If you have not experienced a spiritual witness of truth, then you are not qualified to criticize others who have received heavenly manifestations of truth.

    Most of the time spiritual experiences come as a thought or impression. However, there are times when they are MUCH more than that. I have received a heavenly message with audible word in my mind, that I needed to hear. These messages were not for others or the Church, but for me or my family. Everyone of these messages have been fulfilled in every detail. Inspired thoughts or impressions have also been fulfilled. These messages came from God and nobody can tell me they were emotional responses. Your criticisms will not change the truth that God speaks to His children who call upon Him in faith.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    I said nothing at all about sexual orientation. Would you show me where I mentioned it, because I don't recall doing so.' - ClarkHippo | 9:37 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012


    'So often I have read LDS critics attack a website simply because it comes from FARMS or FAIR. The substance of the site is rarely if ever explored.' - ClarkHippo | 7:50 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012


    **'FAIR podcast series explores homosexuality among Latter-day Saints' - By Joseph Walker, Deseret News - 01/31/12

    I can understand your confusion.

    Since you were refferencing FAIR, and FAIR was refferincing being gay in the LDS church, or overcoming orientation, I made the comment on it's viability.

    Which, is not very much. Even Marcus Bachmann won't address it, anymore.

    This article was published....yesterday.

    It is still even on the Deseret News page.

    But, as I said, I can understand your confusion.

    I did not say that YOU, personally mentioned homosexuality. :)

  • Work2late Morgan, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Like I said in a previous post above, authors who want to "shock", tend to make up things or put things in based on conjecture so they can get the "shock". Anti-mormon authors do that. And I personally even think Bushman did that in Rough Stone Rolling who is not anti-mormon. I want people to put in only what can be documented. And then don't add in all the other conjecture. We only know so much about Joseph Smith's life. Don't add between the lines and make it look like fact. I know he wasn't perfect. But I know he was called of God. I don't need Bushman or others hypothesizing on what "might" have happened just to tell a new story. As someone said above, at some point, it does come down to faith.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    The Church has needed to be very candid about its history for a long time. When the Church tries to hide from its past it just creates more problems. We should come forward and say, our doctrine is pure but the administration of that doctrine can be a bit bumpy from time to time because we are fallable human beings. Joseph and Brigham were not perfect and they made mistakes along the way. But that doesn't negate the fact that they were Prophets of God.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:37 a.m.


    Thanks for the clarification. I actually agree with you that websites which are both pro-LDS and anti-LDS presents sites which are favorable to their side. But does that that automatically make their claims illegitimate?

    For example, someone I know once stated there was no place in the old world which matched the descriptions of valleys and rivers of water described in the old world. When I sent this person a link to a website, describing old world locations similar to those in the Book of Mormon, their reply as simply, "That's a FARMS website and everyone knows FARMS is (curse word)." Nothing was said about the substance I presented. It was a simply a matter of, ignore the message, attack the messenger.


    I said nothing at all about sexual orientation. Would you show me where I mentioned it, because I don't recall doing so.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    'Mormons opening up in an Internet world' - title

    This claim is ironic.

    Considering, not x3 months ago:

    **'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11

    And then, one year before that:

    **'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/10

    So, we're for it.

    Then, against it.

    Then, for it again.

    This ever changing stance shows that there is still a long way to go.

    And that the LDS faith still has some distance, before deciding if the internet is a tool they should support for their members, as a whole.

    Me, personally?

    I think the internet is a GREAT tool.

    It allows us to get information. And dispel many false hoods.

    **'Fox News host: Romney not Christian' - By Hal Boyd, Deseret News - 07/17/11

    **'Trump on Obama's Birth Certificate: 'Maybe It Says He's a Muslim' - Fox Nation - 03/30/11


    **'Obamas to attend church for Easter Sunday' - By Philip Elliott - AP - Published by DSNews - 04/11/09

    **Obama, family attend Christmas church services By Julie Pace AP Pulibshed by DSNews 12/25/11

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    Ultimately, being more open will be a net positive for the Church. For example, members of the Church rarely became upset over Utah's early polygamy days. But sometimes members would lose their testimony when they learn of earlier polygamy in Nauvoo. The difference? Utah polygamy has always been common knowledge, but Nauvoo polygamy was known only to those members of the Church who studied on their own - and when they learned about it, it was often from a source unfriendly to the Church. If all of the issues are more commonly known, I think far less people will lose their testimonies.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    "Certainly that is true of some of the negative LDS sites, but you would have to be in denial to believe that FAIR and FARMS does not present a side that is favorable to their beliefs."

    Of course FAIR and FARMS present arguments that are favorable to their beliefs. And there is nothing wrong with that, given that anti-Mormon websites outnumber those that are favorable to LDS beliefs probably 100 to one. FAIR and FARMS usually presents the critics' arguments and discusses why they disagree with them.

    The balance of things written about LDS beliefs is still almost 100% negative out on the internet, so a good, scholarly point of view favorable to LDS beliefs is only "fair" (no pun intended.)

    I am overjoyed at this news. I have been studying all angles of LDS beliefs intensely for about the past 6 years, and I have loved every minute of it. Most friends and family members have been supportive of it, but I still would get the occassional criticism from a well-intentioned, but somewhat misguided active church member who claims I should only read "Sunday-only" material, so to speak. While each individual member is free to choose what they wish to study, I find it enlightening, fascinating, and, ultimately, faith promoting to learn the full depth of information that is available. The resources at FAIR and Maxwell Institute have been invaluable. I thank them for their efforts, which much has been on their own time.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    Re: LovingMormons

    That is exactly what is wrong with far too many supporters of Mr. Romney. A presidential election is not the appropriate venue to sell a religion. If you agree with Mr. Romney and his politics, then by all means vote for him. If you vote for him solely because your religions match...well, you shouldn't wonder why people are in shock that candidates don't talk about substance.

    And to those who will come forward to criticize my views as anti-Mormon or anti-Romney, etc., I myself am LDS and have been for over 20 years. I have no preference in this presidential election and have not said a single word in this comment as to my support for or against Mr. Romney.

  • tll Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:16 a.m.

    Expecting any person or people to be perfect is a recipe for disappointment. None of are perfect today and nobody was perfect 'back in the day' either. Fortunately we do have far more information available to us now so we can learn and make appropriate decisions for ourselves. If we base our testimonies on people rather than gospel principles we will be forever disillusioned.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:15 a.m.

    Mc: "If someone is fully converted to the church the answers are there and they will satisfy. If you want to find fault and try to prove it false, the truth will not satisfy."

    It's interesting that you didn't include those who are looking for the truth without an agenda. Or do you believe they even exist?


    FARMS, FAIR, and Rough Stone Rolling all had the effect of greasing the rails on my way out of the church. I would gladly send someone there who was looking for answers because, with a little critical thinking, one can detect where they reach the limits of their arguments. To be honest, many of their articles do substantively rebut some critics' arguments against the church. However, others, such as Joseph Smith's experiments with polygamy/polyandry left me cold, and the suggestion that I wasn't putting it the context of the time doesn't float for me when speaking of morality.

    Mc's post is very salient regarding apologetic sites: if you are looking for ways to prop up your faith, these apologetic sites can give you an argument to justify your faith. However, if you are looking for truth, consider this: they are not endorsed by the church nor are they vetted by their non-Mormon peers. They give their opinions according to their study and the necessary slant. And, yes, I'm commenting generally, because I don't have the time nor the space to comment on specifics.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    'So often I have read LDS critics attack a website simply because it comes from FARMS or FAIR. The substance of the site is rarely if ever explored.' - ClarkHippo | 7:50 a.m. Feb. 1, 2012

    You mean, like you can overcome orientation?

    **'Psychologists nix gay-to-straight therapy' - AP - 08/05/09

    'The American Psychological Association slams technique that seeks to change sexual orientation.

    No solid evidence exists that such change is likely, says the report, and some research suggests that efforts to produce change could be harmful, inducing depression and suicidal tendencies.' - article

    This claim, has been widely discredited.

    Even those who claimed to support it previously, have a 'revelation.'

    **'Marcus Bachmanns Gay Cure - By Michelle Goldberg - The Daily Beast - 07/10/11

    'Yet when the City Pages reporter asked Marcus if his clinic performs so-called reparative therapy a widely discredited technique meant to turn gay people straight Marcus denied it.' - article

    I can also go into...

    Exodus International.

    When claiming the 'substance' is valid...

    make sure, it is credible.

  • Freeyourmind Orange, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    The problem with questions about the church is that ultimately the apologists will admit that in many cases, it's a matter of faith, and you have to ask God directly for some kind of spiritual confirmation. For those who reject the process of praying and then interpreting an emotional response as a reliable methodology for determining truth, this advice is not helpful.

    The fact is that people of all religions experience emotional responses in a worship context that they interpret as spiritual manifestations of the correctness of whatever organization or belief system they belong to. Such emotional responses are not indicators of the truth or reality of actual historical events.

  • LovingMormons Bakersfield, CA
    Feb. 1, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    We're praying that Romney becomes president. Then there will be such light and scrutiny on Mormonism that nothing can hide in archives for decades.

    We just want the Way, the Truth and the Life. God will orchestrate and liberate. You have nothing to fear if its God's truth that you seek. His will always come to fruition. Keep the faith, but don't be hiding when it knocks.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    Ok Clark,

    I was making a joke.

    The reality is that many sites have an agenda.

    Certainly that is true of some of the negative LDS sites, but you would have to be in denial to believe that FAIR and FARMS does not present a side that is favorable to their beliefs.

    I see the LDS including FAIR and FARMS kind of like Newton.

    He knew the apple fell to the ground, now it was just a matter of proving why. Debating whether or not the apple fell was futile.

  • Mc West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    Finding answers only goes so far if you don't have faith and desire to go with it. If someone is fully converted to the church the answers are there and they will satisfy. If you want to find fault and try to prove it false, the truth will not satisfy.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    "Peterson said the problem is not so much that there are no answers to historical questions, but that people discover this or that historical fact they had never heard before."

    Another problem, in my opinion, is that the answers to the problems aren't very satisfying.

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:19 a.m.

    I love FARMS.
    Before FARMS, Latter-Day Saints in tough situations often felt like they were defending submachine guns with water pistols.
    I have always eventually found the answers to the tough questions.
    Because I know the gospel is true, I know the answers have to be there, and with that faith those tangible answers eventually and always turn up.
    Mr. Opposition doesn't have us over a barrel any more.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:15 a.m.


    Thank you for proving my point.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    "FAIR and FARMS always provide rock solid answers. They never need to spin things."

    Just like Fox news is Fair and Balanced.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    FAIR and FARMS always provide rock solid answers. They never need to spin things.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 7:50 a.m.

    @Whos Life RU Living?

    You asked - "Are Mormons still advised only to go to approved church websites when writing talks? Just curious."

    Probably no more than critics of the LDS Church advise their followers to only view approved websites.

    So often I have read LDS critics attack a website simply because it comes from FARMS or FAIR. The substance of the site is rarely if ever explored. Barely do they go into specifics, except when personally attacking someone like Peterson with remarks such as:

    "He's just lying for the Lord," or

    "He's following the church's mission to pray, pay and obey."

    When discussing websites, the critics simply make blanket attacks such as:

    "FARMS is a hack," or

    "FAIR's website is the most dishonest site on the whole web."

    In a nutshell, what the critics are telling their followers is, "Don't go to these websites, just take our word that they're not credible."

    In case your wondering where I got my quotes, feel free to browse the most popular sites critical of the LDS Church and you'll find all of these quotes in abundance.

  • Work2late Morgan, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 7:41 a.m.

    It is interesting that Bushman is cited in this article as one who has a "definitive" biography. While there are many documented truths in his book, he also has many undocumented concepts that sound like fact but that are conjecture by the author. If you read his book, go look up some of his references for different sections, especially those that are controversial or put Joseph Smith in a bad light, and read those referenced sources and see how much of his own ideas he put in just to "shock". Very similar to what the undocumented enemies to Joseph Smith do on the internet. His book is an example of an author who wants to be portrayed as having "new" information on an old topic and relies on his readers not doing their homework.

  • Ok Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 1, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    "My rule is always calm down," he said. "And then wait. Look around. There may already be an answer out there. Just because you don't know about it instantly doesn't mean it's not there."

    A very good rule. Good for the LDS Church, other religions, world leaders, and for personal use. If more of us were to calm down, wait, and look around, more working answers would be found and more problems solved.

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    Are mormons still advised only to go to approved church websites when writing talks? Just curious.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    We are blessed to live in this time and place. For all the advancements to improve communication we have access to more than the people in Europe when the first books, including the Bible were published. It is with excitement that we have all these wonderful works and words for us in our day. That doesn't mean the other side doesn't try to use it like all the battles since Adam. We don't have to dwell on those but just need to keep on accessing the Good Books and Music as President Packer has stressed to us for 35 years. We just have to use our filters on our devices to ensure our children, grandchildren and even ourselves don't get hooked in this loop of negativity.

    Thanks for the Deseret News, Church News, Ensign, New Era and Friend, Liahona for providing us with truth and light to prepare us for the day, and everyday that we have to look forward to with a smile. The blessing is we can get these things online and in hardcopy besides many of these things even with a direct talk from leaders

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:50 a.m.

    Interesting. There is a lot of false and misleading information on the Internet. Some of the things said are just beyond the pale. That said, there is no question that a lot of accurate history and details have been suppressed, hidden or ignored. There are some significant inconsistencies and doctrinal variations. This is a serious issue. The bottom line is that religion is a matter of faith, and nothing in the world can change that fact.

  • DeepintheHeart Lewisville, TX
    Feb. 1, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    Given that you interviewed Daniel Peterson, I'm surprised you didn't mention resources on the Internet that can help answer these questions. FARMS, or the Neal K. Maxwell Institute as its now known, and FAIR are two that come to mind. I think it is very important for people with questions to keep looking. Questioning is not the problem; assuming there are no answers is.

  • jdh_md NEW YORK, NY
    Feb. 1, 2012 4:11 a.m.

    In the interview with Elder Jensen had at Utah State he mentioned the church's project of updating the History of Church. It is apparently quite a long way into the process already. Looking forward to this updated volume of church history. Elder Jensen is wonderful and the information will be a great volume for study and growth of the church.

    I love this church, acknowledge it is not perfect, and try my best to become more like Christ through what I learn from it.

  • paperboy111 Lindon, UT
    Feb. 1, 2012 12:58 a.m.

    The Internet is more than 20 years old and most of the history of the Mormon Church has been well documented and widely available for roughly the same span of time. 25 year-old Mormons have have unfettered access to the full and complete history of the Church during their entire lives, at the click of a mouse. And that's exactly the generation currently leaving the Mormon Church in droves.