Unwise Choices Lead Mormons to Disillusionment

Mormon apostle Quentin L. Cook spoke Saturday morning (6 October 2012) at General Conference using Alma 5:26 as his text. In this Book of Mormon passage Alma asks those people who have believed in Christ and pledged to follow Him whether they still believe. To those who “have felt to sing the song of redeeming love,” Alma asks, “can ye feel so now?”

Mr. Cook posed this same question to his audience on Saturday and said that if any of them are in a “spiritual drought,” if they are angry, hurt or disillusioned, it is important to find out why they feel this way. He explained that people experiencing spiritual drought have not necessarily been involved in major sins, but have made “unwise choices” that put them in this spiritually dry place.

“Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants,” he said. “Others spend most of their time giving first class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ.” With renewed emphasis, Mr. Cook continued,

“Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony.”

But there is a way to get out of this mess. Mr. Cook counseled, “Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.”

I understand the need to repent for failing to honor and keep covenants. As we’ve talked about fairly recently here on Mormon Coffee, vows made to God are not to be taken lightly. Also good advice is the suggestion that people should spend their time more wisely and not be distracted or swayed by the siren call of any given unholy cultural or political view.

Mr. Cook’s final example of an “unwise choice” was not as universally predictable. He suggested that research of the history and character of early Mormon Church leaders results in “spiritual drought” or, in other words, anger, hurt or disillusionment — a crisis of a Mormon’s faith. In order to be “spiritually renewed,” he said, anyone who has dug deeply into early Church history should repent.

This strikes me as odd given that the opening verses of Alma 5 relate the historical narrative of the “fathers” while Alma admonishes the people to “sufficiently retain [this history] in remembrance.” To be fair, a Mormon would find the history recounted in Alma 5 to be faith-promoting, not faith-challenging. Nevertheless, history should never be thought of as a threat to truth.

To compound the spiritual effect of faith-challenging history, Mormonism, as a religious system, calls for members to have faith primarily in the Church and its leaders (as the transmission vehicle of God’s power and will). Therefore, when Mormons learn of the “shortcomings” of early Church leaders, of course their testimonies are affected. They have stood in Fast and Testimony meetings countless times repeating, “I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet. I know this Church is true and is led by a living prophet today.” When they learn that Joseph Smith did not behave like a true prophet, that he fails the biblical tests of a true prophet, that the Mormon Church’s leaders did not (and do not) act as though a holy God is actually leading them, many Mormons find themselves in a crisis of faith. A professed Mormon apostle tells these disillusioned and hurting people that they can receive “spiritual renewal,” but first they must repent of seeking to know the truth.

Will this counsel allay the concerns of Mormons who are questioning the validity of the so-called inspiration of their leaders? Or will it add one more burdensome red flag to a growing collection?

My heart breaks for people who so desperately want to serve God in truth but do not know where to turn. Dear ones, to have an unshakable testimony you must invest your faith in Christ. He has no secrets, no skeletons in His closet. He is always good, always righteous, always true. He will not chastise you for questions, He will not tell you to repent for immersing yourself in seeking His truth. He is an open book, from Genesis to Revelation, and He continually calls to you, “Come unto Me!

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Joseph Smith, LDS Church, Mormon History, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

117 Responses to Unwise Choices Lead Mormons to Disillusionment

  1. Kate says:

    “Look at me. I was smart enough to leave, so you should listen to me, as I obviously know more than you; considering you are still a member.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong about me. Maybe it’s your attitude that you need to check. I have a hope in me that friends and family members open up the Bible and find the True and Living Christ. Where does this hope come from? Jesus. He warns us of false Christs and false prophets. Every Mormon I know is a multi generational Mormon. Just told what to think and believe. Don’t look at anything not LDS church approved they say, when the prophet speaks the thinking has been done for you. Don’t deny either of those things because I was taught that from birth. The Mormons I know do not research anything. They are spoon fed at church as I was. So caught up in callings and the program to look at anything. If you would have told me that Joseph Smith used a rock in a hat to “translate” the BoM I would have been angry and called you a liar. If you would have told me JS had a gun in Carthage Jail I would have called you a liar. If you would have told me he died with the distress code of the Free Masons on his lips I would have called you a liar. On and on I could go. None of this is really important to me, what is important is who God is and who Christ is. I could really care less about all the weird mumbo jumbo that is Mormonism because as I’ve said before, if we don’t have God right none of it matters.

  2. Rick B says:

    Shem said

    It only matters to those who have no faith in the truth but are seeking earnestly to tear down the true church.

    Shem I know you could care less, but this has been said before and I know you have heard it.

    First off, LDS maybe dont come out and admit openly that they tear down what we believe, but you guys teach you have the one true church and if we are not with you, then we are of the church of the devil. So get over it, you guys go door to door and tell us we are wrong in a round about way.

    Second of all, we are not tearing down what you believe, we believe Jesus and Jesus spoke of wolves in Sheeps clothing, false prophets and another gospel as Paul in Gal 1:8-9 says. So we are simply warning people and giving them information that the church wont give. We are letting people know about these teachings that even though Parkman claims the church freely posts, we have former Mormons who claim other wise, and before you claim it’s just them telling stories, we have stated before we meet LDS who claim they did not and do not know a lot of these stories and/or wont openly talk about some of these things. Or they get chalked up to, Mere Opinion or, it’s not doctrine, when someone claims it is.

  3. Kate says:


    “I am tired of people outside my religion telling me what is important to my faith and what isn’t. You are not of my faith; you do not know what is involved in my faith; so stop telling me what ideas and quotes are important to it and which ones aren’t.”

    Mormons wouldn’t have this problem if they weren’t trying to highjack Christianity. If Mormons (every sect) would admit they aren’t Christian and Mormonism isn’t “restored” Christianity, this problem for Mormonism would go away. It’s like your church trying to highjack centuries of Mayan culture and history. It’s arrogant and rude. Christians everywhere should be offended that Mormonism trashes the sacred Christian teachings and doctrines of Christianity. It’s fine for you to do that, but you aren’t very receptive to Christians putting Mormon doctrines in the spotlight and showing from Biblical Truth why these Mormon doctrines are not true. They’re not Christian. Now if Mormons want to claim they are a whole different religion called Mormonism that has no basis in Christianity, you might get somewhere with your complaints.

  4. Mike R says:

    Shem, truth does matter . This is’nt about tearing down a church , it’s about
    taking Jesus’ warning about false prophets in the latter days seriously False prophets
    can dress well and act polite and courteous and preach about living moral lifestyle.
    Embracing false doctrine abut God can affect one’s spiritual welfare and this doctrine has
    been declared to be such by recent Mormon officials . I’m telling you what you should believe?
    Or am I stating what Mormon leaders believe ? You’re not the first Mormon I’ve talked to that
    casts blame for some kind of personal persecution simply because I remind them of what
    their prophets have taught as being important teachings but they don’t choose to agree with
    their prophets so I’m like telling them they have to . But you can pick and choose whatever you
    want from any of your leaders , but the claims of exclusive authority and ability from God
    to teach accurate spiritual truth /doctrine starts with them not you. You accuse me
    also of making B.Y.’s opinion more than it is on this teaching of his. Sorry, but he and those
    close to him already settled that question , he called it doctrine and many embraced it as such.
    It does’nt matter if every single one in his flock accepted it or none did , he accepted it .
    He is culpable in dispensing this heresy .
    You’re saying Brigham never wrote his sermons before hand , nor used notes ? OK , but he
    still had them printed and sent out. His opinion came from a heart felt conviction that he was
    sharing new light concerning God/Adam.
    We’re in the latter days, Jesus said to beware–Matt24:11

  5. shematwater says:


    Say what you will, but maybe you should take your own advice about looking at your attitude, because you are still coming off as “I know more because I am no longer a member.” Your entire list of things you didn’t know only serves to strengthen that perception.

    And just so you know, I grew up knowing most of this, and knew all of it before I was out of high school. I couldn’t care less about any of it, because it doesn’t change the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and one of the greatest to ever live. Those who have to deny his humanity in order to believe in his prophetic mission never had real faith to begin with.


    Saying we are wrong is very different than what you are doing. The difference between us is simple: You focus your attention on why we are wrong (so much so that you occasionally fabricate things to prove it); on the other hand we declare you are wrong, but we focus our attention on why we are right.
    I don’t suppose you will ever actually understand that difference, but it is there.

  6. shematwater says:


    Truth is truth, but not all truth matters.
    It is an unchangeable truth that I ate yogurt this morning. Does that truth really matter?
    It is an unchangeable truth that Jeremiah was stoned to death in Egypt. Does not knowing this truth affect my eternal welfare?
    It is also an unchangeable truth that Brigham Young believed that Adam was the father of our spirits, and that he declared this belief. Like the first two truths, it means nothing. It was a personal belief, and thus cannot affect my salvation.

    Brigham Young called it opinion, a guess, and declared that we were free to accept or reject it as we chose. Wilford Wudruff told us not to worry about it, and he was a contemporary of Brigham Young, and thus had a greater understanding of what was meant and intended by that president.
    As I said before, stop trying to pass off your opinions and interpretations as theirs and forcing it on us.
    I assign the blame because it is there.
    “I’m telling you what you should believe? Or am I stating what Mormon leaders believe ?”
    You are doing both, in that you are telling me that because Brigham Young believed this I either have to believe it or believe him a false prophets. That is what you are claiming. You are also telling me that because he believed it I cannot accept that it was an opinion, and thus you are again trying to dictate to me what I believe and accept.
    Stop this and I will no longer lay the blame at your feet. But as long as you continue with this I will continue to lay the blame were it belongs.

  7. Mike R says:

    Shem, you asked if eating yogurt was a truth that mattered . Well, to your body it certainly does.
    What Brigham Young believed and taught about God/Adam means nothing ? Hardly. It was
    important enough for him to teach it to his flock as a new spiritual truth , his version of line
    upon line. Apostles , Elders, and many in his congregation accepted it as such . Recent apostles
    have deemed it false doctrine , BYU professors and Mormon authors have concluded that he
    taught it , one apostle stated that it was a false doctrine that if embraced would damn a person.
    That’s sounds like it is very important , despite your attempt to imply that it was not . I choose
    to take this testimony over your mere opinion . You mentioned Wilford Woodruff, and fail
    to grasp what he and Young meant by not “troubling yourselves” over this doctrine. It’s
    important to note that Woodruff embraced this doctrine because he felt his leader was not
    teaching his flock mere speculation or guesses . Pres Taylor has stated something that you
    might do well to remember when he said that when it comes to LDS and who they allow to teach
    them in religious matters that they do not want men who teach their “own ideas or views ” , they
    want men who hear from God . B.Y. claimed he heard from God on this. , and he did call it
    doctrine. He also reassured his flock it was his duty to make sure that incorrect doctrine
    is’nt taught , what he deemed “unsound ” teaching , one’s own philosophy or personal views
    not be passed down uncorrected lest posterity think the First Pres. condoned it . [cont]

  8. Mike R says:

    Instead of accusing me of passing off my opinion and interpretations as being those of
    Brigham Young’s , you might notice that the finger of accusation you’re pointing at me that
    there’s three more pointing back at yourself. I’m ” forcing “my opinion on no one. The alibi’s
    you’ve used are not new others have used them to deny that B.Y.was a false prophet because
    of his error in teaching about God and Adam . Some LDS even succumbed into worshiping
    Adam as the God for this earth. This was a controversy in the church long after Young died.
    Leaders counseled to refrain from it but LDS had trusted B.Y. that much—and why not ?
    Even today LDS are promised that they can always put confidence in what the living prophet
    teaches, that God keeps His doctrines pure by that one source and thus confusion is
    eliminated . The President of the church will NEVER teach LDS false doctrine.
    Yet Apostle McConkie has admitted B.Y. ‘s Adam -God teaching was false
    doctrine . Now as concerns you’re thinking that I’m telling you that you have to believe it , I
    don’t see it that way. I’m reminding you that Brigham Young is a false prophet and to downplay
    that fact is dangerous because if he is then you’re refusal to believe that fact is no small matter,
    but no one can make you accept that . If your current leadership won’t admit he believed and
    taught heresy then what else are they mistaken about ? The implications of this is not lost on
    those LDS today who have placed their spiritual welfare in the doctrinal discernment of their

  9. shematwater says:


    You are trying to force your opinions and interpretations on us. I have listened to it over and over, and your opinion about what they thought was important is meaningless. You seem to claim to know all there is on this subject, and yet you dismiss his words when it suits you.

    He declared it an opinion, and I am content to leave it at that. I don’t care how many people agreed with this opinion, because it doesn’t matter.
    I also don’t care how many people took it on themselves to worship Adam (which is most likely is being misconstrued by many today) because it doesn’t matter what they did. Brigham Young never once equated Adam with Elohim, who is the God that we worship. I notice how you people like to leave this point out, as it really destroys your whole argument.

    Let us put it this way: Adam may or may not be the father of our spirits. I really couldn’t say. However, in either case the doctrines of salvation as taught by the church are unchanged. We still worship the Head of the Gods, which is Elohim. We honor and revere Adam, or Michael the Archangel, and will do so even more if he is the father of Spirits. But we will always worship Elohim as or God and ruler.
    As such, an understanding of whether Adam is the father of our spirits doesn’t matter because it does not alter the plan of salvation that we follow. That knowledge does not effect our eternal welfare; it never has and it never will. Which is exactly what Brigham Young has declared.

  10. shematwater says:

    I know you prefer to simply dismiss anything that people say that does not fit your opinions of Brigham Young’s meanings and intentions, but here is another good quote for you to consider.

    “The reported statements [of this theory] conflict with LDS teachings before and after Brigham Young, as well as with statements of President Young himself during the same period of time. So how do Latter-day Saints deal with the phenomenon? We don’t; we simply set it aside. It is an anomaly. …It is not a matter of believing it or disbelieving it; we simply don’t know what “it” is. …Even experts of his thought are left to wonder whether he was misquoted, whether he meant to say one thing and actually said another, whether he was somehow joking with or testing the Saints, or whether some vital element that would make sense out of the reports has been omitted. …Whatever Brigham Young said, true or false, was never presented to the Church for a sustaining vote. It was not then and is not now a doctrine of the Church. …It contradicts the LDS scriptures; it contradicts the teachings of Joseph Smith; it contradicts other statements by Brigham Young made during the same period of time; it contradicts the teachings of all the prophets since Brigham Young; and it contradicts the sacred ordinances of the LDS temples, with which Brigham Young was intimately familiar.
    Robinson, Stephen E. Are Mormons Christians?. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1993. Pages 19-20.

  11. Mike R says:

    Shem, I listened to your opinion over and over and I find it weak, you are projecting your
    ideas upon those of Brigham and others who heard him teach . You’ve utilized numerous
    alibi’s to rescue him from being seen as a false prophet . These alibi’s have been used before and
    have all fell by the wayside . They range from an apostles attempt to convince us that relevant
    parts of B.Y’s sermon in JofD vol.1 ,p 50-51 was not accurately recorded , yet his faulty defense proved to be what was inaccurate , so his book had to be reprinted . Then you tried using the
    alibi that B.Y. was only giving his opinion or guessing in what he taught . Yet he called it doctrine
    as did those close to him as well as those in recent years . This doctrine of his has also been
    referred to as a “theory” by some Mormons , and there is always the “it was’nt church doctrine”
    line . Prophets are to be tested in what they claim as a doctrinal revealment from God . B.Y.
    claimed such and therefore his new revealment is to be tested , whether none or all of his flock
    embraces it or not . B.Y.and his apostles reassured LDS that the theories of men about
    God not be condoned as correct doctrine to those under their care as shepards.
    You want me to know that you don’t care how many did embrace this doctrine, that it does’nt
    matter etc . Considering that there still may be some who believe it, and therefore would lose
    their salvation—according to a Mormon apostle. That’s makes it more serious than your
    testimony allows.[cont]

  12. Mike R says:

    Now, I’m glad that you admit that according to B.Y. Adam is ” the Father of our spirits” . He also
    did’nt have a problem with LDS calling Adam “our Father in heaven ” , and that facilitates how
    he could be viewed as “Heavenly Father” . No wonder he was viewed as the particular God over
    this earth , and as such that belief led some to see him worthy of their worship . All this because
    of their trust in a latter days prophet—Matt 24:11.
    Now I’m glad you cited Prof. Robinson because the quote you gave is a great example of
    why B.Y. was a false prophet. Robinson thinks B.Y’s teachings could be a joke ? Really ? He
    could’nt be more desperate for alibi’s than that ! He’s right about B.Y. contradicting the LDS
    Standard works , and this is why his teaching is rightly called a FALSE DOCTRINE by someone
    who is higher than a professor like himself ( apostle McConkie). As far as contradicting goes ,
    and the confusion which it breeds , we see the claims of Mormon leaders to be the remedy for
    the malady they claim infects the churches of ” Christendom ” namely, consistent confusion and
    conflict in doctrinal clarity and reliability . The claim has been made that the time will never
    come when LDS will not be able to put confidence and faith in the teachings of those that lead
    them . Under B.Y. LDS were the victims of a broken trust . LDS today would do well to
    test their prophets– Mk 13:23 ; 1 Jn 4:1 ; 2Cor 11:13-15. [ cont]

  13. Mike R says:

    Lastly, I see that you have tried to find an answer to all this by stating , ” Brigham Young never
    once equated Adam with Elohim , who is the God that we worship. I noticed how you people like
    to leave this point out , as it really destroys your whole argument. ”

    Our “whole ” argument ? Hardly. I know LDS don’t worship Adam today , that is not my
    argument . The whole point here is that B.Y. is clearly a false prophet and Jesus warned
    us all to watch out for such in these latter days – Mk 13:23 . It matters not that he was
    successful in colonizing the great Basin . He offered to his flock what he claimed was important
    new truth about their God. Church curriculum today teaches that a correct view of God’s nature /
    identity is essential for salvation so evaluation of B.Y. ‘s doctrine of Adam as God was important
    then and is important today —if we take Jesus’ warning seriously . If Mormon leaders today
    are wrong in not declaring that B.Y. erred in doctrine about God , what else could they be
    reluctant to admit to their followers is incorrect doctrine ? Perhaps something related to how
    a person might receive salvation?
    Now concerning your statement I quoted above. You assured me that today your leaders are
    correct on the identity of Elohim . I’m not inclined to rush into trusting Mormon leaders
    simply because of their track record ,especially with Adam : ” Young apparently believed that
    while God the Father was on the earth in the role of Adam [cont]

  14. Mike R says:

    Elohim ( the Grandfather in Heaven) assumed Adam’s role as the Father of humankind. After
    his death, Adam returned to his exalted station as God the Father , and as such presided over
    Israel designated by the divine names ELOHIM . or Jehovah . He later begot Jesus, his firstborn
    spirit son , in the flesh. Thus a certain flexibility characterized the way Young used the divine
    names. …he referred to God the Father variously as Jehovah, Elohim , Michael, Adam,
    Ancient of Days , I Am, and other Old Testament epithets. Finally, he also referred to gods
    superior to the Father as Elohim and Jehovah . Young’s application of the titles Elohim and
    Jehovah to several different divine personalities has led to much CONFUSION in understanding
    his true beliefs , especially with respect to the Adam-God doctrine.”
    [ LDS author Boyd Kirkland, Sunstone mag. July 1980 ]

    Brigham Young dispensed doctrinal err to his flock for many many years , this caused
    sincere people to be confused and even troubled . Sadly, because of the unhealthy submission
    which they gave him they followed a false prophet–Isa.9:16; Matt 15:14.
    This is why after his death it became necessary to craft a tactic which Boyd Kirkland
    reminds us : ” But After Young’s death in 1877 many of doctrines were apologized for,
    reinterpreted, repudiated, or simply denied to have ever been taught. Much of this took place
    at the turn of the century , when the church was trying to improve its public image ….”

    That’s why all the alibi’s used to defend him against the obvious—he was’nt a trustworthy
    prophet in the latter days. God has a better plan for the Mormon people may they ask Him for

  15. shematwater says:


    I am done with you on this subject. You accuse me of “projecting [my] ideas upon those of Brigham and others who heard him teach” and yet you have done nothing else. You make many claims, and yet you have actually given no proof of any of it. All you have is your word and your claim that you understand these men better than those who followed them in the church.

    You are arrogant and I am done listening to false prophets whose only goal is to twist and misrepresent the truth concerning God’s servants in order to destroy their good name and the gospel they built up.

    Brigham Young was prophet of God, and nothing you say will ever change that. When Christ returns and you see Brother Brigham standing among that great host as the righteous are caught up you will know the truth, and will be among those seeking for the mountains to cover you because of the many lies you have told to defame his character.

  16. shematwater says:


    I am done with you on this subject. You accuse me of “projecting [my] ideas upon those of Brigham and others who heard him teach” and yet you have done nothing else. You make many claims, and yet you have actually given no proof of any of it. All you have is your word and your claim that you understand these men better than those who followed them in the church.

    You are arrogant and I am done listening to false prophets whose only goal is to twist and misrepresent the truth concerning God’s servants in order to destroy their good name and the gospel they built up.

    Brigham Young was prophet of God, and nothing you say will ever change that. When Christ returns and you see Brother Brigham standing among that great host as the righteous are caught up you will know the truth, and will be among those seeking for the mountains to cover you because of the many lies you have told to defame his character.

  17. Mike R says:

    Shem, Indeed it is time to wrap this up since you’ve chosen to digress into attacking me
    personally. Your diatribe makes me think that you may have an anger problem . ( I know
    you’ve been dismissed from another ministry site for your conduct so it’s wise if we end
    this dialogue) . There is abundant testimony from B.Y. but also from those close to him
    and who heard him teach that furnishes enough evidence about his Adam-God doctrine.
    Brigham Young was a false prophet.
    False prophets are not always like Brian David Mitchell ( he was the “Mormon” prophet
    who kidnapped Elizbeth Smart a few years ago) . False prophets can be polite, well dressed,
    and live a moral lifestyle , but they dispense false doctrine on important issues . I think that
    many Mormons can lose sight of that fact . Now you’ve attempted to tell me of my future
    demise at the time of Jesus’ return . Sorry but when Jesus returns He will be the
    true Jesus not the one which Brigham Young created by his teachings .
    The Mormon people have been told to submit to their prophets for their spiritual safety:
    ” It should be remembered that Lucifer has a very cunning way of convincing unsuspecting
    souls that the General Authorities of the Church are as likely to be wrong as they are to be
    right. This sort of game is Satan’s favorite pastime …” [ Des. News 5-26-1945].
    But the Mormon people need not fear to doubt their prophets teachings , Jesus advises LDS
    to test them because there will be false prophets in the latter days–Matt 24: 11,24—and He
    wishes none be misled.

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