Sludge From a Dark Well continued…

Another thought, continued from Wednesday’s post

Regarding Dr. Dursteler’s remarks in “Attacks on Islam, Mormonism spring from the same dark well”, it is incorrect to give the impression that Christians are the only ones who have used the type of rhetoric Dr. Dursteler criticizes (i.e., describing an adversary with phrases like “a criminal, a fraud and a rapist“). Mormon leaders have used similar terms to describe dissenters from their ranks. Consider these excerpts from a letter written by Joseph Smith to the Church 1838:

DonkeyBut these men [Mr. Hinkle and John Corrill], like Balaam, being greedy for reward, sold us into the hands of those who love them, for the world loves his own. I would remember William E. McLellin, who comes up to us as one of Job’s comforters. God suffered such kind of beings to afflict Job…. This poor man who professes to be much of a prophet, has no other dumb ass to ride but David Whitmer, to forbid his madness when he goes up to curse Israel; and this ass not being of the same kind as Balaam’s,… he brays out cursings instead of blessings. Poor ass!” (History of the Church, 3:228)

“…we have waded through an ocean of tribulation and mean abuse, practiced upon us by the ill bred and the ignorant, such as Hinkle, Corrill, Phelps, Avard, Reed Peck, Cleminson, and various others, who are so very ignorant that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized society, and whose eyes are full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin. Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them. Marsh and ‘another,’ whose hearts are full of corruption, whose cloak of hypocrisy was not sufficient to shield them or to hold them up in the hour of trouble…” (History of the Church, 3:232)

In 1841 certain Mormons wrote a threatening letter to Church dissenters which included this:

“Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Lyman E. Johnson, united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat, and defraud the saints out of their property….” (quoted in Senate Document 189, February 15, 1841, 6-9)

Consider poor Martha Brotherton, who refused Brigham Young’s proposal of plural marriage in 1842. She and her family exposed what was going on in Nauvoo regarding polygamy. Fawn Brodie wrote,

“…Heber Kimball and Brigham Young called her story a base falsehood, and Martha’s two sisters and brother-in-law, who had remained true to the church, were persuaded to swear that she was not only a liar but also a harlot.” (No Man Knows My History, 307, footnote)

Or how about this note received at Mormonism Research Ministry from a Latter-day Saint:

“In my experience those who seek to destroy the LDS church, are usually ex-saints who had a hard time living words of morality and wisdom. Groups like yours are made up of perverts, wife beaters, and sheep who will follow the loudest bleating moron out there.”

I think it’s human nature to verbally lash out against those we perceive are against us. I agree with Dr. Dursteler — these sorts of verbal attacks do spring from the same dark well — the deep, dark well of human sinfulness. As Romans 3 says about all people, “The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness” Romans 3:13-14).

Friends, if accusations are untrue, we are guilty of sin to speak them. If the accusations are true, we must nevertheless temper our words and check our motivation before we open our mouths. We are charged to speak the truth, but we are to speak it with love (Ephesians 3:15). Paul told Timothy that “the Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). This is a fruit of the Spirit, and by our fruits we shall be known.

May we always honor God by striving to speak the truth — as unwelcome as it may sometimes be — out of genuine concern, with gentleness and kindness toward all.

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.
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12 Responses to Sludge From a Dark Well continued…

  1. falcon says:

    I don’t know how many sects of Mormonism there are active today, but it would be interesting to know their opinion of each other. I’m sure they all believe they are the guardians of the restored gospel and the others are apostates. True believers don’t cut “apostates” much slack as can be seen from the quotes above. We can also see this in arenas other than religion. I stood on a corner at a college one time where some prolife folks were holding-up pictures of aborted babies. Across the street on another corner were a group favoring abortion choice. On another corner was a guy railing against homosexuality. And then in the midst of the proaborts were the gays and lesbians. I asked one of the prolife guys why the gays were there. He said they always showed-up and that’s why the antigay guy was there. For some reason these folks all attracted one another and took the opportunity to hurl insults back and forth and chant for the better part of a morning. I’m sure they all felt righteous and quite fullfilled when they left that day. I don’t think anyone changed their mind.

  2. pallathu says:

    I liked the blog as well as falcon’s comments. They are thought provoking.

  3. dj1989 says:

    Falcon… this may be the first time that I agree with your point of view. It’s so easy to see from your example, how fruitless those kinds of protests are. Wouldn’t it be best if everyone just went home?

    You may not agree with me on my next point, though it is an exact comparison nonetheless. The MRM does the EXACT SAME THING. They go and hold up signs in front of Mormon events. But because they are “righteous” and their beliefs are better, they are somehow justified… just like the prolife protesters, and the pro-choice protesters. Like them, I’m sure the MRM go home at the end of the day feeling both “righteous and quite fulfilled”.

    If protests like these are so fruitless, I wonder why the participants continue to do it? I wonder if it’s to prove something to themselves. It would be very interesting to know what a psychologist might say about their mental state.

  4. Dave,

    Be careful not to lump us in with all kinds of “protesting”. You should come out some time and see how many wonderful and pleasant conversations we are able to have with Mormons (and folks of other religious backgrounds, too). Contrary to the assumptions of postmodernism and theological pluralism, there is a way to publicly and even authoritatively herald truth without being self-righteous. For those who feel like their beliefs should be exempt from the light of public scrutiny, I know that’s hard to swallow. But in God’s worldview, a bold heralding of truth and a compassionate disposition are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The two can be mingled and fleshed out at particularly appropriate times.

    Ironically, I need to say one more thing. Dave, your comment comes across as very smug and supercilious toward us. If you’re going to attack personal character like that (and question our “mental state”), why even post here? It certainly isn’t going to be very fruitful. Perhaps you’d have a better time questioning our mental condition and motives over at

    Take care,


  5. dj1989 says:


    I’ve personally seen the protests at Mormon events. I’m not speaking without having experienced it myself. The protests are disruptive, loud, and disrespectful. For the record, they’re never violent, and they are in accordance with the law. It’s EXACTLY like pro-life/pro-choice protests. If you disagree, by all means explain how they are different. My experience has been that they are the same.

    I’m sure that from your perspective it’s wonderful… I’m sure that the prolife protesters, and the prochoice protesters feel the same way… I’m sure they go home saying “how fulfilling that was!”.

    BTW.. my words are neither smug, nor supercilious. They are resentful, and a bit bitter, I will admit. But, those are the fruits of those protests.

    Would you expect anything different? We hold a sense of sacredness in our hearts for the things we believe, and we do it peaceably, reverently, and worshipfully. Mormons have proven in their history, as well as in their day-to-day lives that they’re willing to do what they believe their Creator commands. (I’m only saying that to show that it’s quite obvious that we hold our ideas near and dear to the heart).

    Then, the protesters come and prove to be a nuisance, disruptive, and bothersome. Yet, Mormons let it happen. We simply walk past you 99% of the time, and respect your right to speech, despite the fact that you’re disruptive (at the least… at times incredibly disrepectful).

    Your choice of words makes it all better though (heralding the truch…. authortatively doing it, as well). It’s all just a protest… it fits in perfectly with the prolifers and prochoicers)

  6. dj1989 says:

    BTW… I would agree with you 100%. There is a way to publicly and even authoritatively herald truth without being self-righteous.

    I would disagree whole-heartedly that protesting fits that description.

  7. DJ,

    So you’re comparing, what, the screechers at General Conference with MRM folks being in front of the Rexburg temple? Not impressive. And the LDS traffic guys at Rexburg would hardly describe us as being “a nuisance, disruptive, and bothersome”—they actually complimented us in the local newspaper for our demeanor. If you want to make any more complaints about what any of us have done when evangelizing strangers, take it up individually via e-mail instead of sloppily and irresponsibly associating us with others.

  8. falcon says:

    Another thing that I found interesting in the article posted above, was how people who left the group were treated by those who remained in the group. It’s really hard for true believers to think that the “leavers” had a legitimate philosophical reason for not wanting to reamin in the group. Some how those who leave must be assigned motives for leaving that denigrate their character. It’s not unusual for those who leave a sect to suffer emotional, social and/or economic punishment. It takes a real act of courage to leave. I have a book here called “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”. The author was a pastor specializing in providing support for people coming out of abusive relationships. He said that in his work he came to see that abuse is abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual) no matter it’s label, the dynamics were the same. The biggest threat to the “leavers’ of religious sects, in my opinion, is related to the threat of spiritual distruction. It’s the trump card and plays on fear and insecurity.

  9. falcon says:

    I just picked-up a story on a Mormon discussion site that BYUs best baseball player was expelled by BYU and the LDS Church. His alledged offense? He didn’t attend church enough. One poster, who claimed to have been a tutor to athletes at BYU for two years, stated that few athletes lived-up to the honor code. He stated that many lived with girl friends, partied hard, were sexually active and didn’t go to church at all. What’s my point? Who would the LDS Church come down on the hardest, those members who violate the moral code, those who question LDS doctrine and practice or those who identify and point-out Church hypocracy? Will there be public rebuke of this athlete on the order of what we read in the quotes in the article above. I wonder if Notre Dame would boot an athlete for not attending church enough? I doubt if they have church attendence police.

  10. Rick B says:

    DJ1989 said

    They are resentful, and a bit bitter, I will admit.

    The Bible says, out of the mouth flow the issues of the heart. Sounds like you have some, then the Bible tells us to love our Enimes and those who hate us, Can you say honestly your doing that? Rick b

  11. dj1989 says:

    Rick (& Aaron)

    First let me say that I was wrong about the mental health statement. I do wonder what similarities there are between different protesters, such as pro-life, pro-chose, and MRM protesters. I honestly see all of their efforts as an outward manifestation of something that they feel insecure about inside. I’m no qualified to interpret their actions, but from my view protesters don’t really get anything done. I still do think that protesting Mormonism fits perfectly into the same category as the other protesters, however.

    But, you made a good point. The way I worded it was, in actuality, meant to be rude… For that I am sorry. I was sorry the moment I reread the comment after submitting it, and I would have taken it back immediately, but didn’t have the ability to retract it.

    In regards to your comments, Rick… I’m not sure that me articulating my feelings about being wrongfully characterized is what the Bible was referring to. And that is what the MRM does on a daily basis… they wrongfully characterize Mormons as something that we’re not. They wrongfully characterize our teachings in a way that is contrary to their intent. It is a deceptive practice. I have called it “deviously deceptive” in another post recently, and in my opinion, is a perfectly descriptive phrase.

    Yes, I do feel resentment from the efforts of those who despise me… but I do not act on it. That’s a major difference. In a sense, I am turning the other cheek. The creators of the blog would say “We love you, we despise Mormonism”. To that I would respond, “there is no difference”. Mormonism makes me who I am. It is so deeply inbedded in my heart, that to take that out of me (I mean Mormon teachings… which I believe to be the restored gospel of Jesus), would be to take everything good out of me as well. You wouldn’t get all of the wonderful qualities that people admire in Mormons without the Mormonism which they base their lives on.

  12. First let me say that I was wrong about the mental health statement. I do wonder what similarities there are between different protesters, such as pro-life, pro-chose, and MRM protesters. I honestly see all of their efforts as an outward manifestation of something that they feel insecure about inside. I’m no qualified to interpret their actions, but from my view protesters don’t really get anything done. I still do think that protesting Mormonism fits perfectly into the same category as the other protesters, however.

    This is equivocation. You’ve lumped us in together with the street screechers at General Conference, with those who yell out inappropriate, crass insults, and, as you’ve told me elsewhere, you think we’re “cut from the same cloth”. You say you’re not qualified to interpret our actions, and yet you suggest we are “insecure”.

    This is just silly. If you want to psychoanalyze us, go to While we’re happy to discuss real, substantive issues here, we’d rather not spend time responding to petty personal attacks.

    Take care,


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