A Willing Blindness

People are always asking me, “With all the evidence that testifies against Mormonism, how can Mormons still believe it?” I recently came across one possible answer to this question in an unlikely place. In Erwin W. Lutzer’s new book, When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany, Dr. Lutzer addresses the power and psychology of propaganda in a section he titled, “A Willing Blindness.”

“I’ve observed, as I’m sure you have, the power of what I call ‘a cultural current.’ That is, a dominant idea promoted by the media and willingly adopted by a critical mass of people who want to believe a myth so badly they will close their minds to all contrary evidence. When such a cultural movement gains momentum, people will stare at facts and filter out what they don’t want to believe. Contrary evidence will be ignored or reinterpreted to fit their deepest wishes. And the more people who believe the myth, the more difficult it is for those who wish to counter it. In a spirit of euphoria, all warning signs are brushed aside. Before we know it, we are in a world where facts do not matter.

“Hitler also believed in cultural movements; he believed that many people would never change their minds individually, but would do so if they were in a crowd of several thousand convinced followers. When a seeker steps into a crowd of thousands, wrote Hitler, that seeker is swept away ‘into the mighty effect of suggestive intoxication and enthusiasm, when the visible success and agreement of thousands confirm to him the rightness of the new doctrine.’

“We’ve all heard the adage, ‘The nail that stands out is pounded down.’ Hitler said that doubters are convinced when they find themselves as a minority in the midst of a zealous majority; such an experience causes the doubter to succumb to ‘the magical influence of what we designate as “mass suggestion.”‘ No wonder Hitler said, ‘How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!’

“…they are swept up into a cultural current where everyone is both expected to fall in line and be rewarded for it. In such a climate, anyone who swims against the stream is demonized by misrepresentations, false evidence and ridicule. With such pressure, even rational and decent people who refuse to be co-opted begin to question their own sanity. Can they alone be right when everyone else is wrong?

“…Warning signs [are] overlooked because of this passion of people to believe…

“Churchill was right: ‘The desire to believe something is much more persuasive than rational argument.’ Like ancient Israel who wanted a king so badly that they refused to listen to God, so people today are prone to want what they want and don’t care about the consequences.”

A “willing blindness” wouldn’t be the only reason Mormons continue to believe the LDS Church is true in spite of the facts, but it might be one reason.

“…they refused to love the truth and so be saved…”
2 Thessalonians 2:10

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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15 Responses to A Willing Blindness

  1. f_melo says:

    Answers: 1 – Yes, at least 8 times, and attended seminar and institute. I have read it, and after studying the work of serious people who actually did the research, people like Sandra Tanner who actually took the pains to show, for instance, there are more than 200 hundred phrases plagiarized from the KJB, and other studies that show how the BoM has nothing to do with ancient american culture at all, it doesn´t matter if you study central, north or south America. I´m convinced by the evidence, "beyond a shadow of a doubt" the BoM is nothing more than a 19th century novel that deals with 19th century religious concerns, and plagiarizes a lot of stuff in the process.

    I´ve got to give credit to God for this though, it wasn´t my brilliant intellect that took me out of it, because i was a hard-core believer and a persistent defender of it and of JS. Only God could have opened my eyes to the deception it all is.

    I´ve read it, prayed about it, received those feelings of peace that convinced me it was true – but once i learned the BoM had been changed as early as 1981, and more, i took notice i had been deceived. In the process i started researching about that feeling i called the "holy spirit" and it turned out to be nothing more than a spiritual communication made through eastern techniques of meditation, where you clear your mind and concentrate on your feelings/senses. In other words, i had been deceived by false spirits, through false conditioning that made me accept it as the real deal. I then started to actually read the Bible seriously and it was clear the Gospel of Christ in its purest forms had nothing to do with what i had been taught in the church.

    I also researched about the origins of the Bible and actually found out i also had been lied to about it, and the Bible is absolutely trustworthy! There´s no such thing as funny teachings of polygamy, nature of God and temple ceremonies being removed… that´s pure fantasy. It´s interesting the Mormon Church doesn´t study the Bible as if it is the authority – the Bible is only used out of context to support JS teachings – anytime it contradicts mormon beliefs, its set aside as corrupted by traditions of men, and translated wrong(even though they can´t point out what is wrong in the Greek manuscripts).

    Answer 2 – No, as i explained above.

    It´s sad those critics you mentioned above don´t do even basic research before parroting stuff they hear, and unfortunately that undermines the honest work of true Christians that are very concerned with people´s salvation.

  2. f_melo says:

    "The details are not as important as the end goal- defeating the enemy. I have heard it said (and I believe it completely) that LDS critics are more fiercely against the Mormon church than they are against pornography. "

    Pornography is definitely wrong, but doesn´t necessarily send you to hell as sure as a belief in a false god does. I understand those priorities, and i´m glad the EVs that indirectly taught me chose to preach the gospel instead of pretending to be psychologists and treat the symptoms and not the source of the disease.

  3. Jim, the Book of Mormon is pretty irrelevant to Mormonism when it comes to the nature of God. Mormons generally don't seem to believe in these verses:

    Moroni 8:18 – "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity."

    Moroni 7:22 – "For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting"

    Mosiah 3:5 – "the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity"

    Also consider:

    D&C 20:17 – "By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them…"

    King Follett Discourse – "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see…"

    I really wish more Mormons would take the theology of God in the Book of Mormon more seriously, enough to question Smith's later teachings. As it is, Mormons have largely apostatized from the Book of Mormon's teachings on the nature of God. I also wish that both Mormons and evangelicals would stop reading traditional Mormon beliefs (as of the 21st century) back into the 1830 Book of Mormon. I think people would then realize that evangelicals believe in much of the doctrinal content of the Book of Mormon more than Mormons do.

    Completely serious,


  4. wyomingwilly says:

    Jim, I love how you lump Mormon " critics" together as some sort of boogeyman. I notice you try
    and slide the conversation over to the Book of Mormon whenever the opprtunity presents itself.
    This reminds me of how Jehovah's Witnesses use a similar technique of placing their Awake
    magazine in peoples hands first, in it are articles on a variety of subjects, but little doctrine.But
    there is always the offer in it of obtaining the Watchtower mag. and it's there where you will learn
    the doctrines of the JW leadership who constitute the sole prophet of Jehovah on earth today.

    That study done 20 yrs, ago you mentioned. So the more secular knowledge you acquire means
    you're more active in your church , which infers that you have the right church ? Strange.

  5. wyomingwilly says:

    cont. You also mentioned that you love how Book of Mormon critics can't agree , their divided
    etc. I quess that proves that they all agree on one thing, namely that the Book of Mormon is'nt
    divine scripture. Naturally, Mormons all agree on what their prophets/apostles have taught on
    various doctrines, right ?

    I submit that instead of using the Book of Mormon as the yardstick in determing if your church is
    true, people should use the teachings of the "modern-day" prophets/apostles of your church to
    determine such. Otherwise, you're going to have to explain the other " mormon " churches today
    who agree with you on the Book of Mormon, yet your leadership has called them such names
    as cults and apostates !


  6. f_melo says:

    "You think Sandra Tanner is objective? "

    Yes, i do. Please enlighten me, what are those researches that shred her criticism? By the way, are there any from non-mormons?

    "I love how somebody who criticizes the book is "serious," suggesting that those who research the book and come away with affirmative conclusions are somehow not serious. "

    I didn´t mean that – when i said serious, i meant people who actually took the time to do the research and to substantiate it with real evidence.

    " I find that most critics I engage with actually don't even know what the most current issues are"
    It doesn´t matter what the current issues are – if the old issues are unsolved and prove the whole thing false, it won´t matter what new issues come up…

    "Almost every criticism that you level at the BOM can also be directed toward the bible. "

    Please, could you give me an example?

  7. Rick B says:

    Jim olsen, You go off on people saying how they attack the BoM yet they never read it, or they claim to have great issues that crumble when you enter the debate, I say, Please, with great sarcasm.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in LDS church teachings and TRIED to speak with LDS teachers, a;; I get from them is, Speak with the Missionary's, that's their job. These so called LDS teachers do not want to speak with me. Not because they dont have time, but because they cannot answer Honest questions. Think I'm full of bull, any Honest LDS readin this came come to my house, and we will go to a LDS church and who ever comes from Here can keep quite and simply watch how LDS will refuse to talk with me, then tell me I am full of bull.

    I'm not saying you never encountered people who claim the BoM is wrong all the while never reading it themselves, but lets be honest here, It works both ways and both sides pull this dodge and refuse to ask questions.

    I went to SLC on my dime, two weeks paid vacation, I slept in my car in parking lots and rented motels as needed to take showers. I cannot tell you how many LDS dodged questions or called security on me to avoid honest questions.

    Sadly I even had a pastor of a christian church tell me I simply should go home and not waste my time talking with LDS. So yes I have seen it from both sides and LDS are know and famous for dodging questions. So take me up on my offer and let me watch your jaw hit the floor in shock when you see LDS avoiding me like the plague. Unless you know it happens and will not be surprised by it, but then that would not be much of a surprise to me either. Rick b

  8. David says:


    Your post amounts to little more than a "poisoning of the well". The truth is no matter how a persons answers your 2 questions, you are not going to give up your faith. For question number 2, you demonstrate that you at least (and probably most Mormons) are biased towards the BoM as they grew up with everyone around them believing it was true. If the answer to #2 is "yes" then should not first exposure that is positive be just as equal of a disqualifying factor? If few critics are honest and do their own research then why not address those few? Why pick from the low hanging fruit? Besides originality has little to no bearing on the strength of an argument.

    I can tell you I have studied Mormonism extensively. Aside to talking to more Mormons than I can count, I have also read the standard works. In short, I have gone to the Chevy dealership with issues about Chevy's. The truth is there are issues going back to Mormonism's inception that Mormons have no good answer for ("good" being the key word there). But I do not think that matters to you. Quite frankly – honesty, originality, and intent are ancillary issues at best when accessing an argument.

    Your post is a classic example of a tactic that is often employed by Mormons – disqualify the critic so one does not have to deal with the criticism. Seriously, are you calling the critics of Mormonism that frequent this site liars as most have read the BoM in its entirety and many have read it several times (in addition to the rest of the standard works)?

    Divided? I can tell you most if not all of Mormonisms critics will tell you that J. Smith plagarized portions of the KJV into the BoM and the JST instead of receiving those words from God directly. Again, most will tell you that your church lied in its 1835 statement regarding polygamy. No one doubts that Joseph Smith wholesale lifted Masonic rituals and incorporated them into Mormon temple ceremonies. The details of Mormonism lead us to the goal of defeating it.

  9. Rick B says:

    F-MELO Said

    It doesn´t matter what the current issues are – if the old issues are unsolved and prove the whole thing false, it won´t matter what new issues come up…

    For all the Mormons that say we have no clue about what we research, how come I have said this before and am still waiting for it to happen. LDS themselves cannot agree on what is doctrine and what is not, we here have given examples and LDS have seen for themselves and even disagreed among themselves here on this board.

    So when will the LDS prophet who according to all LDS is the MOUTH PIECE FOR GOD and the ONLY PERSON who CAN SPEAK for God, talk to God and ask for God to openly explain all these so called contradictions and problems. I can honestly say we will never see this happen because the LDS god is false and when the LDS prophets claim God spoke to them, they in reality are just making stuff up. So in reality your prophet could not make up enough answers to solve all the problems. If LDS want to tell me I am crazy, them tell me why your prophet has yet to speak to God and get us straight answers. Rick b

  10. Jared Passmore says:

    What a ridiculous post comparing the reason people continue to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in the LDS church to the Nazi movement. I agree with the power of mass sugestion but it starts with individual conviction. I have a good friend that is the great nephew high ranking Nazi leader Hans Frank who ruled the unincorporated part of Poland for Hitler during the war. He was executed at Nuremberg as a major war criminal, anyway he told me of times where his uncle would try to sway the Fuhrer to make peace with the Soviets or some other drastic decision to alter the outcome of the war. He said Hitler had a hyptnotic power over people whether he was with just one person or speaking to thousands. My friend says that it was forced conformity. He also related similarities between Hitler and the son of the morning, "Lucifer" for example they both hated their father. The Nazi empire was based on force and control in hopes of bringing about what people had been decieved into believing was the common good. Very similar to Satan's plan before this life. The LDS church is not based on mass pshycological control or cohersion of any kind it is based on agency accountability and Gods gentle pleading for us to follow him.

  11. f_melo says:

    " The Nazi empire was based on force and control in hopes of bringing about what people had been decieved into believing was the common good."

    How did they get to power before they imposed their forced conformity? Aren´t t he LDS deceived the same as to what the common good is?

    "The LDS church is not based on mass pshycological control or cohersion of any kind it is based on agency accountability and Gods gentle pleading for us to follow him."

    Of course it is. When missionaries ask investigators: If you feel in your heart the confirmation that the BoM is true, will you be baptized? Will you accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God and the C.J.C.S.U.D as the true church of Christ?
    Then if the investigator gets baptized, after a year he gets to go to the temple and pretty much sell his soul to the church, those covenants made there will always be used to "remind" him of his duty to the church/god

    If that´s not psychological control, i don´t know what is…

  12. clyde says:

    What makes this post interesting is I printed this out before olsenjims' comments were deleted. With his comments there is a better understanding of what is going on.

  13. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Thanks, Clyde. For the benefit of those who have not followed this matter across threads, the reason Olsen Jim's comments were deleted was in an effort to focus a conversation between Jim and Bill McKeever taking place on a different Mormon Coffee thread (New Article: Questions for Glenn Beck). In a comment to Jim, Bill wrote (about their conversation), "…as I explained, right now this is between you and me. I am giving you a chance to explain yourself and I will do my best to reply in a timely manner. Do not post anywhere else on Mormon Coffee until I am satisfied that you have answered my questions completely and honestly." Much of Jim's comments on this thread have been quoted by those responding to him; hopefully, that at least provides some context.

  14. clyde says:

    One thing to remember about the german people is that they are extremely loyal. I remember one candidate got 80% or more of the vote in the 60's or 70's and caused concern among the allies. I don't see psychological control here just development of loyalty.

  15. clyde says:

    This post like others you have posted can be seen in a general sense too. You can always wonder why people follow some televangelist who have abused power and those people still follow them. This blog is interesting in that the post has fizzled in the comment department. Maybe with olsenjims comments it may not have fizzled as quickly as it has.

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