There is much good in Mormonism. Mormonism preaches the importance of truth and offers it as a standard to the world. Yet all too often, Mormons are warned away from the more troubling truths of its prophets, its history, and its doctrines. Why is that?
In our attempt to be faithful to our religion, do we sometimes hide from the truth? Do we discount truth when it seems to discount our sincerely held beliefs? Even though our faith claims to value truth, do we value the comfort of our faith more than the sometimes harsh realities of truth? Are we committed to truth, and are we willing to follow it no matter where it leads, or are we committed only to follow the institution of Mormonism wherever it might lead?
“Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect.” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 188. [source]
The many errors and contradictions are indeed easy to detect, not only in Joseph Smith’s history, but also in many other areas of church history and doctrine, and those errors and contradictions are highlighted on this website.
Official church history teaches that a young Joseph Smith went into the sacred grove because he had a simple question. Prophets since Joseph’s day have encouraged us to ask questions, just as Joseph did.
We are warned, however, in our questioning, to avoid information that comes from dubious sources. The information on this website is taken from official church sources. Every post includes a link to a credible website with the source of the information. When possible, that source is lds.org, but sometimes the information will come from byu.edu, reputable news websites, or, like the quote above, from a published book available on gospelink.com, a Deseret Book website.
If you ever have a question or concern about any of the sources I link to, just drop me a note in a comment on the post in question, and I’ll do my best to resolve it.
Unfortunately, using Church-approved and Church-friendly sources for all of the information I present here is often not enough. I am commonly accused of three things:
1) “You must have been offended by someone in the church or felt its doctrines were too restrictive for your desired lifestyle, so you went looking for reasons not to believe.”
No. I was an active member of the church and loved its doctrines. The church is either true or it isn’t. If I or anyone else is offended, or if I or anyone else wants to sin, that won’t change the truthfulness of the church. The errors and contradictions of the church are not there because I put them there. I am not responsible for them. I merely help point them out for others to see.
2) “You can leave the church, but you can’t leave it alone. Your actions just prove that the church is true.”
I dedicated my life to the church. I based all of my major life decisions and many of my minor day-to-day decisions upon the premise that the church was true and its doctrines would lead me to happiness in this life and in the life to come. In the Book of Mormon, when Alma and the sons of Mosiah realized they had been leading people astray with false doctrine, they dedicated the rest of their lives to correcting their mistake. They are lauded for their actions. I spend a little bit of time–far less than I used to dedicate to my church callings–putting things on a website in a rather underwhelming attempt to correct my mistake. Am I to be vilified for that?
3) “You must hate the church and its members.”
I have a lot of admiration and respect for church members. I used to be one, and I worked closely with many wonderful people during my church service. In pointing out the contradictions of the church, I do not say that there is nothing good about the church, nor do I ascribe malice to the church leaders or members. If you want balance on the church, you can’t read only lds.org, since even with their vast resources they do not dedicate time to pointing out negative aspects of the church. Likewise I don’t point out the many positive aspects of the church, even though I both recognize and appreciate them, knowing that people who want to learn about that can find sufficient material at lds.org. If I seem overly negative toward the church, it is only because the posts on this website highlight its errors and contradictions rather than that I see no good whatsoever in the church or its people.
I don’t claim to be a prophet. I don’t claim to be infallible. If I have errors on this website, please contact me, and I will do my best to correct them. I am committed to the truth. I am, after all, just another apostate.