What does it mean to be a Christian? A Mormon apostle explains.

Robert D. HalesIn October 2012 Mormon Apostle Robert D. Hales spoke at the Mormon Church’s General Conference regarding what it means to be a Christian. He defined a Christian like this:

“A Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the literal Son of God, sent by His Father to suffer for our sins in the supreme act of love we know as the Atonement.

“A Christian believes that through the grace of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, we can repent, forgive others, keep the commandments, and inherit eternal life.

“The word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding His priesthood authority.

“A Christian knows that throughout the ages, God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. This same Jesus, accompanied by Heavenly Father, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1820 and restored the gospel and the organization of His original Church.

“Through the scriptures and the witness of Joseph Smith, we know that God, our Heavenly Father, has a glorified and perfected body of flesh and bone. Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit whose work is to testify of the Father and the Son. The Godhead is three separate and distinct beings, unified in purpose.

“With these doctrines as the foundation of our faith, can there be any doubt or disputation that we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are Christian?” (Ensign, “Being a More Christian Christian,” November 2012, 90)

Indeed, if Mr. Hales’ definition of a Christian is used, not only are Mormons Christians, they are the only Christians. As Bill McKeever noted in the January-February 2013 issue of Mormonism Researched, summarized here,

  • Mormonism teaches that Jesus is the literal offspring of Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother (while historic Christianity, though recognizing Jesus as the Son of God, has never believed Jesus is “literally” God’s Son);
  • The Mormon Church claims to be the only church that holds God’s priesthood authority;
  • Only Mormons believe Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ;
  • Mormon doctrine dictates that God the Father has a body of flesh and bone (while historic Christianity worships a God of spirit);
  • Mormonism uniquely expands the biblical revelation of Christ as God’s only begotten Son by adding the qualifier “in the flesh,” something historic Christianity has never affirmed;
  • Mormonism recognizes three Gods in the Godhead while orthodox Christianity has always been committed to the doctrine of only One True God (in Trinity).

mormon-baptismTherefore, on the face of it, according to Mr. Hales definition only Mormons are Christians. Anyone who believes in the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, or chooses baptism in a different church, or dismisses Joseph Smith’s First Vision (etc.) is not a Christian.

Some have noted that this exclusionary list, presented by a Mormon Apostle, in an official Church setting, is a bit hypocritical in light of the usual insistence of Mormons and the Mormon Church alike that “Christian” must be very broadly defined: “Anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world is a Christian, regardless of differences in theology.”

Perhaps the Mormon Church has recognized that Mr. Hales’ definition of a Christian tends to “dismiss or diminish the validity of other people’s religious experiences,” something the Church, on its website, claims it does not do. In the March 2013 issue of the Ensign, readers are encouraged to “review the October 2012 general conference,” specifically noting Mr. Hales’ address discussing, “What does it mean to be a Christian?” An edited quote from Mr. Hales’ talk is provided for Ensign readers:

  1. A Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. …
  2. A Christian believes that through the grace of God … we can repent, forgive others, keep the commandments, and inherit eternal life.
  3. The word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  4. A Christian knows that … God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. (Ensign, “October Conference Notebook,” March 2013, 9. Ellipses retained from the source cited.)

This edited list has lost every Mormon distinctive that is found in Mr. Hales’ original: No mention of Jesus being the “literal” Son of God; no mention of priesthood authority; no mention of Joseph Smith’s First Vision; no mention of a Father God of flesh and bone; no mention of Jesus being the only begotten “in the flesh”; no mention of the Godhead being comprised of three Gods.

The Mormon Church seems happy to recognize non-Mormons as Christian per the broader, more inclusive definition found online and in the March Ensign; but to be a Christian Christian – well, that appears to be another story altogether.

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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106 Responses to What does it mean to be a Christian? A Mormon apostle explains.

  1. MJP says:

    Very interesting, and this is what I was alluding to FaithofFathers yesterday. Mormons really believe that one can be saved if they practice Mormon rules, such as Mormon baptism. And another Christian will never reach the Celestial kingdom if he denounces Joseph Smith as a prophet.

    But the reaction, the summary later provided by Ensign, is right in line with a trend I see from the LDS church: whitewash and don’t appear extreme. Its as if they desperately want to be considered mainstream and not ‘weird’.

  2. Kate says:

    As I was reading this I could plainly see the hidden message from Robert Hales, it doesn’t surprise me that the written form of this talk was changed or whitewashed. The LDS church has always whitewashed, that’s why they are losing members at an alarming rate. They didn’t foresee the internet and the information highway. MJP is right about them wanting to be considered as mainstream though. Think about a potential convert, what they will see in the ensign looks loving and Christian like and what they will see on LSD.org shows Mormons as just another Christian sect.

    When I was LDS I was raised to believe that we were the only true Christians. Those other religions claiming to be Christians, bless their hearts, were just “drawing near to God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.” The good ones would receive Salvation but they would never enter the celestial kingdom where God the father dwells. That is reserved for the righteous LDS who did all of the requirements and endured to the end. I wonder what Joseph would think if he could see what has become of his church. Well technically his church has split into about 100 different churches. I wonder which one he would claim as his own?

  3. falcon says:

    Yup, Mormons have to scrub things up for public consumption. This and the fact that it’s not unusual for Mormons not to know or to deny the features of their religion that are weird, bizarre and have no place in the Christian family, tells us all we have to know about this sect.
    Mormons really don’t want to talk about their distinctive features. They don’t want to do this because it’s embarrassing. They will tell themselves that these things are so deep that the uninformed person can’t fully appreciate the beauty of this restored gospel. In-other-words, only someone who is super spiritual can understand these things. It’s only those who are getting personal revelation and confirmation from the Mormon god who get these things.
    It’s amazing to hear former Mormons say, “I can’t believe I ever believed that nonsense.” But when you’re inside the Mormon bubble and if it’s all you’ve ever known, it’s easy to see why it happens.

  4. faithoffathers says:

    The logic behind this analysis of Elder Hales’ talk is equivalent to the following analogy:

    Bill Thompson states that all Americans who want to run for President of the United States must be born within the United States.

    Bill Thompson was born in Toledo, Ohio and wants to run for President of the United States.

    Using the logic employed by Bill McKeever and Sharon in analysing this article, a person reading the statements about Bill Thompson would conclude that Bill Thompson is stating that all people who want to run for the office of President of the United States must be born in Toledo, Ohio.

    I am surprised Sharon would go for this.

    Elder Hales states a characteristic of Christians in general. He then states how it applies to “us.” And the “us” refers to Latter-day Saints. I do not read his talk and think that he is saying all Christians must X,Y,Z like Latter-day Saints do.

    The first paragraph quoting Elder Hales in Sharon’s article is a good example:

    “The word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding His priesthood authority.”

    He gives a characteristic of Christians- they take upon themselves the name of Christ. Then he states how Latter-day Saints take upon themselves His name- “we do this by being baptized…….”

    He is not saying that all Christians must do like we do.

    There is absolutely no reason for making the conclusions that Bill McKeever and Sharon have made about this talk.

    It is ironic that this analysis resulted from a talk entitled “Being a More Christian Christian.”

  5. MJP says:

    FoF, the million dollar question is what happens to a person who does not do what the LDS require?

  6. johnnyboy says:

    I have been a lurker for far too long. I used to comment on here years ago. I just wanted to thank all of you for your patience with those on here trying to defend mormonism. @Kate, I think that Joseph would LOVE how the LDS church is now. He would marvel at it’s “greatness”. He’d probably have to temper some of his more outspoken comments, but why worry when the Ensign will do it for him!

    My wife and I are currently trying to escape out of the church. It will take some time due to our circumstances, but we will be out eventually. The posts on here over the past few days (including the comments) have helped me realize how impossible mormonism really is. I have been very active in the church for many years. I won’t bore you with my whole life story, but I kept quiet (and still was believing like a good NOM) until my wife began researching for herself this year about the history of the church. She was asked to teach the D&C for the 10 year olds and she wanted to be a good teacher and really know what she was talking about! hahaha. Little did she know what she would uncover!!

    Once she realized everything that she had been fed her whole life was not the truth she just looked at me and said “we need to get out of this now!”. I think it was the “peep” stone that started her down the path. hahaha. It is still hard for me also because of having to re-learn the gospel without the Mormon taint all over it. I am trying though.

    Today was the first day the lightbulb went off about the Grace of God. It’s like a huge weight is lifted!!! The “rules” and rungs of the mormon ladder don’t mean anything. All I need to do is believe in Christ, believe that he has saved me… and my good fruits will follow as a natural extension of that!

    Thank you all again. I am slowly starting to see the light.

  7. faithoffathers says:

    Johnny Boy,

    Would you mind if I asked you a few very simple questions? And I in no way mean to diminish your experience or perspective.

    How long have you been a member?

    When was the last time you read the Book of Mormon cover to cover?

    How regularly do you read the Book of Mormon?

    Thank you. Seriously.

  8. Old man says:

    Wonderful news johnnyboy, may the Lord bless both of you as you begin your walk into the light of his truth.
    With your permission I would like to show my ex-wife who is also having doubts, what you have posted here.

    “The word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding His priesthood authority.”
    Another million dollar question might be……….
    I can’t find any reference to priesthood authority in Scripture but will I get it if I give the LDS 10% of my pension?

  9. grindael says:


    Hang in there. There is more good stuff about the Grace of Jesus. As Pastor Jack Hyles once said,

    It Sanctifies us. This means that from day to day the Holy Spirit is conforming us more in the image of the Lord Jesus. As the artist slowly paints on the canvas what is already in his mind, even so the Holy Spirit gradually, day by day, is setting us apart more and more for the service of Christ. This is not done all at one time but rather from grace to grace. John 1:16, “And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” It is done from faith to faith.” Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” It is done from glory to glory. II Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Word of God teaches us that He has predestined us to be conformed in the image of His Son. Romans 8:29, “For whom He did foreknow, HE also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.” This means that someday every believer will be like Jesus. That sanctifying process is a gradual one, from grace to grace, from glory to glory and from faith to faith as we yield ourselves daily to the Holy Spirit and He conforms us more and more to the image of our Saviour.

    Since every individual is different, the Spirit works in different ways. That is why each man may be given different gifts of the Spirit. I leave you with Peter, who eloquently explained this to the church, God’s Elect:

    To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

    10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

    13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

    17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

    22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1)

    2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. …

    23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2)

    With the help of the Holy Spirit that is exactly what we do, die to sins and live for righteousness.

  10. johnnyboy says:


    I do mind because the question is irrelevant. But if you must know my life story of my membership:

    Been active since I was 8, ( I am now 38). Lived in the bay area for most of my life. Was a good mormon Eagle Scout. Served a mission in Chile (numbers numbers numbers!) in the mid-late 90’s. Went to BYU and lived in Utah for a few years. Been a Scoutmaster, a Deacons quorum advisor, a Teachers quorum advisor, a Blazer instructor, a primary teacher for 6 year olds and a Primary Chorister for almost 10 years. Now I teach the 9 year old boys. On top of that, I was also called as a unit commissioner for the Scouts.

    My father was a Gospel Doctrine teacher for almost 20 years and now serves in a Bishopric. My Wife was born and raised Mormon and grew up in Southern California where we met (in a family ward) and were married and sealed in the Los Angeles temple. We now live in Texas.

    I read the BoM regularly and have studied it for years. Reading it this year with my children for their BOM assignments for primary. As I type this I can look to my left in my office and see all the Church books I have read and acquired over the years. I even have old books that many people on this website probably have never heard of and would love to read (like the glory of mormonism by john j stewart or Our Lord of The Gospels by J rueben Clark).

    When was the last time you really read the New Testament?

    Those type of questions are irrelevant because it tells me nothing of who you are or what you believe. If you want to really know why people like myself are questioning and leaving the church its because the Church has whitewashed it’s history for 100 years and told people it was a sin to look into its own history. Except of course if you work for Farms or Fair or any other apologetics then its ok to read history.

    People like me are leaving the church because we are tired of doing mental gymnastics in order to justify the many things about the church that don’t add up at all. We are tired of watching our Church walk down similar paths that the Catholic did as explained in The Great Apostasy. I get mad when ordinances I hold sacred are changed because of someone in the church didn’t like getting “touched naked” in a washing and anointing ceremony. I get mad when I see my church polling members about how they “feel” if they let gays in the scouts while taking the easy way out with a wishy washy non-stance on an issue that should be clear cut. I get mad when my Church claims it “doesn’t know” when the practice of racism and the priesthood began or how it became doctrine, when I know just by opening up my journal of discourses sitting right in front of me (now on my iPad). I get mad when the Church takes out all references to history of the church from the D&C and then claims their reasons for doing so are because “not everyone has access” to those materials. But somehow the church can publish on my iphone almost all issues of the Ensign, all the scriptures, manuals and hymnals. These issues are all separate from just the B of Abraham, polyamory, divine authority, witnesses, peep stones, divining rods, changing of scriptures, random doctrines, archeological evidence, DNA, salamander letters, Masonic rituals etc, etc.

    FOF, I know how you feel. I have read many of your comments on here. I used to come on here and defend the faith and the church to the other Christians on here. I thought I was helping people understand what we really believe. I have been reading this site for years. Those that have been on here may remember me from my old comments.

    It took my wife to wake me up and say “what the hell are we doing in this?” I had no answer for her, because I wanted badly for it to be true. Sometimes it takes a slap in the face. I just needed that from her to make me step back and say.. “woah.. why am I defending this and going along with this?”

    anyhoo, hope one day you will come to see what is right in front of you

  11. faithoffathers says:

    Johnny Boy,

    I appreciate your response.

    But you didn’t really answer the one question I am most interest in- how long ago was it that you were personally, daily reading the Book of Mormon in your personal study.

    And it is very relevant, in my opinion.


  12. johnnyboy says:

    I did answer the question. you just didn’t read it (hint.. its the third paragraph where I say I am reading it now). Your lack of reading shows me your not here to discuss things with people or really try and get an understanding of why this site even exists. Seriously man… I used to sound just like you. Exactly. Like. You. I am curious how often you truly study the New Testament.

    Sorry for the long rant to your simple question. I just am getting fed up with people like yourself trying to trivialize my life down to whether or not I am reading the BofM every day in my personal studies. You don’t even realize how much of a fool you sound when you ask people questions like that. I am embarrassed cus I seriously thought like you, and talked like you (ooh wee oooh jungle book lingo) and I look back on myself and think “wow… I must have sounded like a complete a-hole”.

  13. grindael says:


    The reason that FOF thinks reading the BOM daily is “relevant” to your understanding the truth was explained by this guy, the new Church Historian Stephen E. Snow and his Article in the June 2013 New Era.

    He talks about those who were not “spiritually prepared” so they “fell away” from the “gospel”. How many of the men who went on Zion’s March and became Apostles, etc. then deserted the church and called Jo Smith a fallen prophet? For example, how can anyone say that Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer weren’t “spiritually prepared”? The issue isn’t with that, it’s with the truth. They saw Jo for what he was, a liar, cheat and adulterer. (Not that Cowdery wasn’t either).

    His “out of context” line is the most rote answer I get when I present Mormon History to the “faithful”. It’s old and tired and worn out. It doesn’t fly in today’s digital world. You can go right to the sources and READ the context! I can’t even see how he can make this argument. But to them, critics ALWAYS take EVERYTHING “out of context”.

    Here is what his point is:

    Information that tries to embarrass the Church is generally very subjective and unfair. We should seek sources that more objectively describe our beliefs and our history. Some websites are very mean-spirited and can be sensational in how they present the information. Look for sources by recognized and respected historians, whether they’re members of the Church or not.

    Information is Information. Whether or not it is embarrassing is beside the point. What does he mean by “subjective and unfair”? If I say, John Taylor (who knew better) called black people Niggers, is that “subjective”? Or is it just a fact? What makes it subjective is that the CHURCH is embarrassed because their “prophets” and “apostles” did so. They will try and say, “oh that was just 19th century vernacular”. But it wasn’t. It was racist then, and I have lots of 19th century quotes to prove that it was.

    And who is a “respected” non-member historian? Anyone who is not approved by them in NOT presenting the truth as factually as they can? And “recognized” by who? The Church? I quoted Mike Quinn here, one of the most respected Mormon Historians out there, and I got nothing but complaints from the Mormon “faithful” here.

    How do you “fortify” yourself against the facts? Read scripture and pray and then you can “handle” the fact that Jo lied about polygamy and committed adultery? If that doesn’t work, whine:

    The true Church has always been a minority, and it seems like we’ve always had a target on our back. We’ll always face adversity, and we might as well get used to that.

    To deal with the “truth” then, you must make sure you are “personally worthy”. This is what FOF is getting at. Why you’ve lost the spirit johnnyboy, so now you can no longer understand the facts! When did this become a criteria for determining what the truth is? He says that “if you spend all your time reading controversial chapters” of Church History… like that is all that anyone ever does. That is not what I did as a member, but there are controversial ISSUES that I needed to research. And most Mormons I know (like myself) who left the church did a LOT of praying about what was discovered in those “controversial chapters” of Church History. But got NO ANSWERS that could explain it. Then when I went to more than one GA, they acted like I did something wrong. That is what happens ALL THE TIME. There has to be another reason why your apostatizing. It just can’t be because you found the truth. You committed some “sin”. You did something wrong. You didn’t read the Book of Mormon enough! How is that going to help with this example:

    Jo was reported to have said, by way of Thomas Marsh:

    “They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. … The Prophet inculcates the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith’s prophecies are superior to the laws of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky mountains to the Atlantic ocean; that like Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was, ‘the Alcoran or the Sword.’ So should it be eventually with us, ‘Joseph Smith or the Sword.’ These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adam-ondi-Ahman was between three and four hundred” (History of the Church 3:167).

    Then we have Jo’s own diary entry that confirms that he knew and approved of the Danites “to put to right PHYSICALLY” (that means by way of force):

    We have a company of Danites in these times, to put to right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of very great evils which hath hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings & persuasions.” – Joseph Smith diary, Missouri Journal, 1838, March to September, under July 27, 1838

    This quote is NOT found in the History of the Church. Imagine that. So how BALANCED is that? And here is a picture of the original diary entry from the JS Papers site, that shows that they tried to scratch it out after the fact, just because it was SO INCRIMINATING.

    So are we going to believe Thomas Marsh, and Jo Smith’s OWN DIARY ENTRY or Jo Smith (after he was arrested on charges of treason and in full denial mode) and the Church who said that Jo had nothing to do with them and that they acted apart from him? Here is what lds.org says about it (the ONLY reference I can find):

    One Mormon, Sampson Avard, formed a group, called the Danites, to seek revenge on the Missourians. He told his followers that the First Presidency had given permission for the group to rob, lie to, or murder its enemies. Of course, no such permission had been given. In fact, Joseph Smith was working with state and local leaders to establish peace. But when the Danites attacked the nonmembers, it only gave them more reason to distrust the Saints.

    Here we see the Church’s own website is LYING. LYING. FLAT OUT LYING. How in the world does being worthy give you some kind of compass to tell what the truth is? It’s right there in black and white. And here is where he gets really off the wall:

    As I keep my life in balance, I can look at history objectively and understand that while most of our ancestors are to be admired, they were human and made mistakes. There are sad or confusing episodes in our history that we seek to understand better, but some of these questions might not be answered on this side of the veil. And that’s fine.

    Huh? Questions that won’t be answered until we die? What kind of historian is this guy? Don’t study the “controversial chapters” without reading the BOM, and Jo only “offended” “a few people”. That’s it. This article is so trite it’s unreal. Be a good boy. Read the Book of Mormon and pray and put off all your questions until you die. You’ll be sure and get answers then, after we’ve gotten you for your entire life. Yeah, that sounds good. Leave it to a Corporation to put a lawyer in charge of it’s Historical Department.

  14. Mr. Snow’s article from New Era will be the topic of Monday’s blog post. Lots to talk about…

  15. johnnyboy says:


    exactly. I used to be one of the people that knew all these stories and I actually would justify them in my mind. FOF probably knows a lot of the problems that exist and is also trying to justify them as well.

    I found many of these things in the “Pre-internet” era when most of these topics were considered anti-mormon. I had no one really to talk to about any of it. I never told any of these historical problems to my wife because she was true-blue mormon and was a faithful member as was I. I would just put the problems I had on a shelf and go on believing and forget about them. But now with the internet there is no hiding the truth.

    The internet is to the church what the English bible was to the Catholic church.

    My wife didn’t even find out the truth from the internet! She found it in Church history books on accident!! Then she would ask me “how long have you known about this?” hahahah…. oh man, it was like I had been living with a mistress our whole marriage! Now she is disgusted with the Church. She wants out NOW. I take a more pragmatic approach to it all. I want it to be true and I want to keep my children in it because its a good organization. But when I weigh that against my salvation… it becomes too hard to justify. At least I have a wife who is bold enough to wake me out of it.

  16. johnnyboy says:

    hahaha.. I forgot that an-tea mormon on here was a slur. hahah.

  17. johnnyboy says:

    Also, back to the topic of the article,

    @FoF, you seem to be confusing and simultaneously making the point of the article. Hales is saying that there is only “one type” of Christianity because thats what he BELIEVES! He does believe that you have to be from toledo ohio in order to be president. Thats the rub! Hence the point of this post.

    Even if Hales is saying what you think he is saying (which could be construed either way), it still doesn’t explain why the Ensign would edit all the quantifying statements OUT of his talk. Why do that at all? Especially since the article would supposedly be read only by a Mormon audience?

    This is a classic example of why the Church has problems. It’s like the old Simpsons episode with the cartoon dog “Poochie”. Let’s make him COOL! (but not too cool). Let’s make him EDGY! (but not too edgy).

    I miss the good old days when the whore of the earth was the catholic church. At least they kept that up during the Kimball era. Those days are long gone. My generation gets stuck with the new “passive aggressive” milquetoast Mormonism.

    Womp womp (sad trombone)

  18. faithoffathers says:

    Johnney Boy (and grindael),

    Actually, I haven’t read the article you refer to, grindael. (It is good to know you keep up on those things.) I don’t read the New Era. Maybe mind reading isn’t for you:)

    This is a personal interest for me. I am very interested in the process within a person who leaves the church. I have spoken to many, many people who have had these experiences, and I am always eager to get to what the core reasons are. Among all the people I know that have left the church, I haven’t met one who was actively reading the Book of Mormon- meaning daily, personal study- when they left.

    I suppose if the book is what it claims to be, there is something to be learned from Lehi’s vision.

    By the way, any response to my post on the actual topic of this thread?

  19. MJP says:

    FoF, yes there are. Go back and re-read it all.

  20. Rick B says:

    Johnny Boy,
    Welcome to your new Life outside of Mormonism. I remember you and I bet you and me had some heated debates when you were here as MORMON. I have been on this blog since day one. As of late I have not been posting much, I am trying to share Jesus and the Bible with Cattyjane via private emails and been spending lots of time doing that.

    Also I have a teenage son with so much drama, it’s on of those, You dont love me dad so I am moving out times. Of course being the loving dad I am, I said, sure son, move out, give me you house keys and let me hold the door for you.

    Now as far as FoF goes, Typical Mormon, He will claim if your not reading the BoM as much as he feels you should, then thats why you left the church, despite all your years and service, it boils down to, you did not read the BoM.

    I have ask and yet to recive an answer over the years, if you remove the word for word Bible verses from the BoM, since if they are already in the Bible, why do I need them in the BoM again, then with whats left, show me Jesus and how can I be saved with whats left of the BoM. It cannot be done and FoF will either ignore this question, or blow it of as of no vaule.

    Now as far as the article goes, LDS want to be know as Christians, but how did they feel about Christains, not that long ago? Lets see what their prophets said.

    read 1 nephi 14:10 “behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the lamb of god, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the lamb of god belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.”
    Wow, If I dont belong to the LDS church, I am the great whore of the earth.

    What else?

    B Young: “with a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called christian world” (journal of discourses 8:199).

    I’m Ignorant. HMMM…. What else?

    I quote 3rd president John Taylor (brigham young quotes mr taylor) “brother taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell, the eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and kicked onto the earth” (j.o.d 6:176).

    My Religious beliefes were hatched in hell, I see how Christians were viewed not that long ago, Anything else?

    I quote Heber C. Kimball “christians-those poor, miserable priests brother brigham was speaking about-some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth” (j.o.d 5:89).

    Again, I am a whoremaster, Wow, so LDS viewed Christains with this view once, now we see some serious white washing going on, Jesus mentioned White washed Tombs filled with Dead mans Bones, that fits the LDS church.

  21. Mike R says:

    Johnnyboy, welcome . Great news you’ve shared . My wife and I will praying for you and your
    family . God is opening the eyes of the Mormon people to see the fultility climbing the ladder
    of rules and laws, which Mormon leaders have built and tried to pass off as the gospel of
    Jesus Christ . Men in these latter days who try to mimic the claims of Jesus’ true apostles will
    always have an imitation gospel also . Glad to see you’re stickin with the original gospel , the one
    that saves , by looking to the New Testament .
    God bless your family .

  22. falcon says:

    rick’s got a much better memory for former posters than I do. Quite frankly I can’t remember you however I am rejoicing today thinking that maybe the Lord has used us here in some small way to nudge you out the LDS door.
    It does get tedious but for some reason this is where God has put me so I keep on posting just like all of the other regulars.
    I hope you stick around. The former Mormons are very much valued because you’ve been there. I like how you can relate to FOF and his mindset.
    So really the reason people leave Mormonism is because they don’t read the BOM enough or on a regular basis? That’s like saying the reason an alcoholic isn’t a drunk any more is because he’s stopped drinking.
    If you don’t believe the BOM is revealed scripture, why would you continue to read it?

    Praise God for you and your wife. I don’t know what your exit plan is but my guess is that once you leave you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Any way, it would be sort of interesting to be an unbelieving Mormon who is active in the LDS church. I kind of wish I could hang with you and witness all of this first hand.
    BTW, the falcon is going to make an appearance in Nauvoo in a couple of weeks. Warn the Mormons of my coming there. I’m always nice and polite and do get quite entertained by the techniques the folks at these sites use to try and hook people. I’m always looking for that one thing I can say that might get these testimony bearers to start thinking.

  23. MJP says:


    I appreciate your honesty here, and hope that God continues to draw you near. As I understand it, leaving the Mormon system is difficult, and I pray that it goes easy for you. I am also pleased to see that one thing you seem to recognize about God is that his plan is indeed very simple.

    My thanks for your contribution goes out to you.


  24. falcon says:

    The more I thought about it, the more I got a kick out of FOF’s observation/contention that people who have left the LDS church had stopped reading the BoM. It’s as if not reading the BoM caused them to stray-off of the LDS path. He doesn’t seem to recognize that maybe people stopped reading the BoM because they didn’t believe it any more. You seem to have the LDS pedigree and, along with your wife, did a lot of study into the history of the LDS church. Your conclusion is that the LDS church is not true. Guy’s like FOF just can’t accept that. Pretty soon you will be accused of having been offended by someone or for falling into serious sin.
    I’ve watched Sandra Tanner’s testimony in which she talks about how her and Gerald got down to just the BoM. That was it. They realized the rest of the LDS program was bogus but they held on to the BoM. It didn’t take long before the BoM was tossed-out too.
    Her point was that leaving Mormonism is a process and that we, as Christians, encountering those who are leaving, need to be very patient.
    Jack Garcia, who used to post here, said that it took him five years to get all of the Mormonism out of his mind. He also said that he wanted Mormonism to be true long after he knew it wasn’t.
    There are many on this blog who can relate to what your are experiencing. That’s why I hope you stick around and continue to post.

  25. fifth monarchy man says:


    Thank you so much for your story, It is so cool to hear that God is still calling people to himself. Remember that this whole Christian thing is a team sport. Please look for some folks who believe the Gospel and cherish the Bible to share your journey with. I think you’ll find that though the details of stories are different all of us Sinners saved by Grace share a common bond.

    It won’t be easy and we can all use all the support we can get

    I’m praying for you


  26. jaxi says:


    I just wanted to chime in as well and say Thank you for sharing. I can relate to your experience of suddenly understanding grace. I had so many friends try to explain it to me as I adamantly defended the Mormon Faith. Sometimes I look back and think, “why didn’t I get it?,” or “how was I ever okay with that?” I think I just never truly entertained the idea that Mormonism might be false. It was always my fault if something didn’t make sense. I was just not faithful enough, or studied enough. It actually took me completely immersing myself in the LDS Church to finally realize, “The problem isn’t me!” Once I let go of the LDS Church being true and studying the New Testament, it was like walking out of a dark room and into the light. Best wishes and God Bless.

    I actually read through an entire Book of Mormon, prayed over it, and highlighted all over it for months, and gave it to a friend to try to bring her to Mormonism a month before I decided I didn’t believe anymore. I was reading daily. So I guess FoF , can add a couple more people to his list of people who have left the Church while studying the Mormon scriptures.

  27. Ironman1995 says:

    Hi Johnny, Left after 36 yrs back in Sep 2011, each day is easier, I dont come here as much, because its kinda like looking back a bit now, but seeing you here is nice, I am here for you Johnny, Ironman

  28. Kate says:

    Your wife sounds like me . Once I started figuring it out, I wanted out NOW! Getting out was hard. If you decide to have your name and records removed the LDS church will make it difficult. I have a friend who stated in her resignation letter that if they contacted her at all and if they didn’t remove her name and records immediately, she would contact an attorney. She had no problems and her name and records were removed. I on the other hand was harassed for a few months, then the bishop got a hold of me on the phone and asked why I was leaving and if I’d been offended by someone. It took 3 months for a confirmation letter that I was no longer LDS. I had stated in my resignation letter that I wanted NO contact but that didn’t stop them from calling, love bombing and sending missionaries here. My boys are ready to send in letters and we will be sure to threaten legal action (which we will pursue) if their names are not removed immediately.

    Seriously? You think reading the BoM will fix all the lies and whitewashing the church has done? It certainly can’t fix all the back and forth doctrines or all of the “opinions” of your past prophets. What does it offer that the Bible doesn’t? What is really offensive is you completely ignored JB’s heartfelt explanation and his struggles with the problems that we all know your church has and put the blame on him by assuming he just isn’t reading the BoM enough. Next you’ll be asking him if he’s been offended, committed a grievous sin, or is just rebelling. Guess what? The church really isn’t perfect.

  29. grindael says:

    Actually, I haven’t read the article you refer to, grindael. (It is good to know you keep up on those things.) I don’t read the New Era. Maybe mind reading isn’t for you:)

    I’m not sure you really understood my comment then, FOF. I never once implied that you had. I said perhaps this new article might help explain your reasoning. I was reading the Book of Mormon as part of a Sunday School class when I left the Church. I was at BYU at the time. But I’ll wait to make further comments about this until the Post comes out on Monday. I wasn’t aware that Sharon had done an article on it, or I would have waited before I did my analysis. What I have learned about “Lehi’s vision” though, is that it was probably ripped off by Jo Jr. from Jo Sr. (per Lucy Mack Smith) That is the whole problem. The book is NOT what it claims to be.

    And the very reason that TBM’s want people to read the Book of Mormon is that it does not contain any of the “controversial” Mormon doctrines like polygamy (said to be anathema in the BOM), endless gods (BOM says there is only one God), etc. etc. It’s the WORST book that Mormons can read to understand Mormonism. THAT is why they want the young people to read it. It is really not Mormon Doctrine. (Not anymore, anyway).

  30. grindael says:

    He is not saying that all Christians must do like we do.

    Actually, he is saying that all Christians can’t do like the Mormons do. And here are a few reasons why, and why Bill’s comments are right on. Hales says,

    The word Christian denotes taking upon us the name of Christ. We do this by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those holding His priesthood authority.

    Who are “those holding his priesthood authority.”? Mormons. Has anyone ever, in the Mormon church said that Christians have “authority” to act in the name of God. Nope. Never. That is exclusive to Mormonism, called over and over again by many, many, many, many, many “apostles” and “prophets”, The only true and living church on the face of the earth.

    What you do constantly FOF, is fail to see the true meaning behind the words. We do. We comprehend exactly what he means because most of us were Mormons here.

    Anyone can CALL themselves Christian. The Gnostics did. We all know that they were far from Christians. They did not worship the same God as the Christians did. This is exactly true of Mormonism. They do not worship the Christian God, for all the reasons that Bill McKeever gives. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say what Hales says. Nowhere. It does not say a word about “priesthood authority”, there was never one instance of the giving of “priesthood authority”, and Christ Himself was a one of a kind High Priest that NO ONE else could ever be.

    There NEVER was TWO priesthoods in Israel. There was only one, given to the descendants of Aaron or the tribe of Levi. (The Kohens) All this is very provable. Jo simply made up the priesthood restoration stories, the first, with John the Baptist so illogical in terms of the actual facts of the Bible that it is astounding that anyone would believe it, and the second, an impossible scenario since there was no Melchizedek Priesthood that was transferred to anyone, ever. Jesus was a High Priest after the “order” or similitude of the old Priest of Salem, Melchizedek. (The Greek does not say “Melchizedek Priesthood”.) It says “ORDER” of Melchizedek, or “in the likeness of Melchizedek” (κατά τήν ὁμοιότητα Μελχισέδεκ) cf. Hebrews Chapter 7.

    There is absolutely no record of a transferable “priesthood” that was given to the Old Testament prophets that can be termed “Melchizedek Priesthood”. According to the messianic psalm, Ps 110:4, Jesus as Davidic Messiah is also a priest, and indeed High Priest, according to the Order of Melchizedek, who as an angelic priest (see 11QMelchizedek, Dead Sea Scrolls, “Prince of Light”) & is superior to the human Aaronic priests. So like the angel Melchizedek, Jesus is both a king (Davidic messiah) and a High Priest (Ps 110:1, 4); in fact he is a superior High Priest to Aaronic, or Levitical, High Preists, since he, like Melchizedek, does not die (“an indestructible life”). The author’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate that Christ’s death brings the Levitical sacrificial system to an end insofar as Jesus’ priestly work is accomplished through his obedient suffering, not through sacrifice of something other than himself.

    Jo turned the “indestructible life” into an “indestructible priesthood”. (Sermon delivered at Nauvoo temple grounds on Sunday August 27, 1843). This is all just made up by Jo. Modern Pseudepigrapha. He then made up the angelic ordinations and changed the D&C and later wrote them in.

    What destroys your argument is this:

    A Christian knows that throughout the ages, God’s prophets have always testified of Jesus Christ. This same Jesus, accompanied by Heavenly Father, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1820 and restored the gospel and the organization of His original Church.

    Through the scriptures and the witness of Joseph Smith, we know that God, our Heavenly Father, has a glorified and perfected body of flesh and bone. Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit whose work is to testify of the Father and the Son. The Godhead is three separate and distinct beings, unified in purpose.

    Sorry but Christians do not “know” any such thing. Not from OUR scriptures. It takes Jo Smith to make that true. His Pseudepigrapha. Christians also do not acknowledge that God appeared to Jo Smith who supposedly told him that all the Christian denominations were WRONG and an ABOMINATION to him. “That same Jesus” was not the same Jesus found in the Bible. The Bible says over and over again that there is only ONE GOD. The Bible does not teach polytheism.

  31. johnnyboy says:

    Thanks again to everyone. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. My wife and I are in the process of how to quietly slip out. We both look at our time in the church fondly and recognize the good it has done for us, but we can’t honestly stay members and lie to ourselves about what the church teaches. It’s painful enough for me to have to teach D&C this year to 10 yr old boys and have to bite my tongue while reading white washed stories.

    Funny side note about the primary manual for this year on D&C when they discuss revelations Hiram Page is made out to be the guy with the “seer stone” who receives false revelations. And there was even a woman (gasp!) who claimed to receive revelations. This is the only time that any kind of seer stone is mentioned (apart from the urim and thummim).

  32. grindael says:

    Christians don’t use peep stones. There’s another one. Here is an interesting bit about Jo and his peepstone related by Wilford Woodruff:

    February 23, 1859: Following a meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve, at a quarter to 12 o’clock H. C. Kimball and D. H. Wells called. H. C. Kimball said this made me think of the time when I returned from England. Joseph was present and the presidency of the Seventies. They had met with a seer stone to see what they could see when I went in. Z. Pulsipher said, don’t be excited; Brother Kimball is nothing but a man. They treated me very cooly and I went home and wept and the Twelve all rose up and shook hands with them and received them joyfully. O. Hyde explained to Brother Kimball and Wells what we had done, and would like to hear from them. Brother Kimball said, I consider every ruling man in the Church that has the Holy Ghost as a prophet, seer and revelator, and he should have the spirit of that office.

    Were they looking for treasure guardians? Thought Kimball was a spirit? Hmmmm. Jo wrote to his brother Hyrum in May 1838:

    verily thus saith the lord unto hyram smith if he will come strateaway to far west and inquire of his brother it shall be shown him how that he may be freed from debt and obtain a grate treasure in the earth even so amen. (Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, page 358)

    It’s hard I guess, to break those old habits.

  33. johnnyboy says:

    In all honesty, I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with Joseph looking into a hat with a seer stone if the church had just presented it that way! Instead we get paintings of Joseph studiously translating (no urim or thummim or seer stone) over the plates while in pensive thought.

    Just that alone should make a member stop and pause for a moment. Why create this “myth” version of the story? We all know why, but how do Mormons on this blog even justify it? I’m really curious!
    Then again…..how did I justify it to myself? Hhhmmmm…..

  34. johnnyboy says:

    One final note.

    To all Christians reading this blog, if you want to know the most effective way to help Mormons see the truth, just keep pointing them to their own history. It is the easiest and most effective way to get them to open their eyes. It’s taken me more than 5 to 10 yrs. And it’s still going to be a few more till I am fully out. But it ain’t the doctrine (at least not entirely) that turned me loose. It was the simple historical record. And the Internet has set the truth free. Mormon parents are telling their kids not to read Wikipedia!! I wish I was joking.

    Don’t bother debating doctrine too much. As interesting and tempting as it is, I advise against it only because you are debating people that aren’t using the same terminology as you are. You end up just going in circles because we aren’t on the same page when it comes to basic defining terms. The Mormon bubble is so complex that it’s almost impossible to break because we perceive it to be superior on so many levels.
    That being said, reading many of your comments helped me to understand what Christians believe. But I had already made the choice to leave before I was willing to open myself to what Christians believe. It wasn’t the other way around.

    Just my 2 cents.

  35. Clyde6070 says:

    What you might want to do is examine christian church history Or history in general. You might be able to see how the trinitarian view of God won the day by getting secular support and after getting support control it. But that happened 1600 years ago and time blurs the true facts.

  36. Mike R says:

    Clyde, I hope that one day you might learn the difference between the relevance of those men
    who Jesus sent out with the gospel of salvation —His apostles ; compared to what some men
    ( some “trinitarians” ) did politically hundreds of years later . I think I see what you’re trying
    to insinuate with your comment , but honestly you’re only comparing apples to oranges .
    Did you even bother to read all of Johnnyboy’s comments yesterday ?

  37. Kenneth says:


    Thanks so much for your insights. I’m glad to hear that God has rescued your family from bondage. I’ll be praying for your transition, especially that God will use it to open the eyes of the people in your local ward.

    Do you have any advice on how best to share historical information about the Church with members? In my experience, it is frequently dismissed as a fabrication or erroneous (even from semi-official sources like Journal of Discourses).


  38. Tom says:

    FoF asked Johnnyboy:
    “How long have you been a member?

    When was the last time you read the Book of Mormon cover to cover?

    How regularly do you read the Book of Mormon?”

    I’d like to answer those questions for me. I was a member from 1962 until 2008. Forty-six years plus. I was a high priest, serving in a bishopric until 2003, when the bishopric was reorganized.

    During the summer of 2004, I re-read the Book of Mormon for probably the 10th time. I wanted to give it one more shot. At the time I wanted to look at it and Mormonism from the standpoint of an investigator–without the forgone conclusion that it was all true, which conclusion I had been raised with. I read it with prayer and sufficient quiet time. I stopped participating the previous September (2003). It was just too painful. As I read the Book of Mormon, it just came across as contrived, two-dimensional, and full of improbabilities. Furthermore, it did not square with the New Testament, which I had been reading regularly since September 2003 (Without the overlay of LDS commentary–just the NT to see what it said by itself and about itself. Doing that is a real eye opener for LDS people). I found out for myself that it was not true and could not possibly be true. This after sincerely and prayerfully reading the Book of Mormon investigator style–albeit without the guiding aid of LDS missionaries and commentaries. I literally read myself out of the LDS church by reading the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. I chose the NT over the BofM, and I chose Jesus over Joseph Smith as the necessary and final link to my salvation.

  39. falcon says:

    clyde writes:

    “What you might want to do is examine christian church history Or history in general. You might be able to see how the trinitarian view of God won the day by getting secular support and after getting support control it. But that happened 1600 years ago and time blurs the true facts.”

    Do you know anything about what you’ve written? It sounds to me like you’re getting your information about the early history of the Christian Church from LDS sources. The history of the first four hundred years of the Church is one of my favorite topics.
    You’re stuck on that old LDS canard that the Emperior made the Church come up with the doctrine of the Trinity. I’d suggest that you go to a Christian bookstore and get a history of the early church.
    You can also buy back issues of Christian History magazine. I’d suggest issues 51 and 85 which cover “Heresy In The Early Church” and “Debating Jesus’ Divinity”. There are many good books out there including the writings of the Church Fathers. The beauty of this is that the history of the Church doesn’t have to be whitewashed and massaged.
    You see in order for Mormonism to succeed it has to prove that there was a great apostasy in the early Church, that Mormonism was what was practiced (in the early Church) and that Joseph Smith restored it.
    The problem clyde is that there is no evidence that Mormonism existed before Joseph Smith invented it. He then changed it continually to satisfy his own needs of the moment. Finally, do you know clyde, what is the “true” Mormon restoration? Pick any one of a hundred Mormon sects all claiming to be the group with the “restoration”.
    You need to buckle down clyde and do some serious study and stop paying attention to the LDS church which has absolutely no clue.

  40. falcon says:

    Additionally, what does the history of the early Christian Church have to do with whether or not Mormonism is true?
    These are two entirely different topics. This is a typical Mormon tactic. That is, get the spot light off of Mormon history. In fact do anything to get the topic changed.
    What I’ve found curious is that when Mormons want to make a point about Christianity, their sources are usually atheists or liberal “Christians” who are so far out of the mainstream that the Christian label is about as applicable as it is to Mormons.
    No clyde, what you need to do is study the history of Mormonism if you have the courage to face the truth that it’s the invention of a 19th century religious entrepreneur who never met a weird idea that he didn’t like.

  41. faithoffathers says:

    MJP- yeah. Those responses included a question as to whether a person could receive the Priesthood if they donated 10% of his retirement and another person asking what happens if a person does not do what the Mormon church tells them too. Not too hot as far as direct responses. But maybe then people are simply looking for a forum to blow steam about the church. If so, I suppose I am expecting too much from the critics.

    Johnny- no, Elder Hales is not saying there is only one type of Christian. He is defining the term Christian in some basic ways and showing how Latter-day Saints meet those basic conditions.

    As to your question- why the editing of Elder Hales talk? The issue of Sharon’s article is a very brief summary of all the talks. A summary in this case is a very short itemized list of highlights. A summary is not the full talk. It is a brief summary. It is short. It is not meant to communicate everything the full talk does. Some of the full traits of a Christian mentioned by Elder Hales are included in the very brief list of 4 things. The Conference Notebook suggests people go back and read the talks.

    Your suggestion along with Sharon and McKeever is that the church is to some degree altering the message or trying to hide something. What a crazy thing. The Conference Notebook suggests people read the original talk.

    Amazing that people think this is a part of some grand scheme to modify and change and tone down the message of the church and its apostles.

    Interesting to see how critics see things. It seems to me that the critic sees through a very sensitive lens that is conditioned to pick up any possible offense.

    I think my favorite definition of a fool is a person who takes offense when none is intended.

    Grindael- your analysis is simply wrong on Elder Hales’ talk. You are insisting that the “we” that Elder Hales is referring to of necessity includes all Christians. And that is simply not a reasonable assumption. Do you really think he is attempting to speak for all Christians? He is saying that “we” as in members of the church….. You are reading a lot into the text of his talk.

    As for your comments on being spiritually prepared- my argument is that if the Book of Mormon is true- and I contend that it is- then the vision of Lehi is to be taken seriously. And in that vision is a “dark and dreary wilderness” and within that great expanse was a tree with fruit that was precious and desirable. The tree represents the love of God, salvation, etc. A great and blinding mist of darkness covers the dark wilderness, making it essentially impossible to make one’s way to that tree. The only way to successfully navigate through the dark waste to the tree is by keeping a hand on the rod of iron, which represent the word of God. And I would contend that in our day of restoration, that rod is best represented by the Book of Mormon. Once a person lets go of a real, personal, regular association in reading that book, one cannot be sure his or her direction is correct and that he or she is headed toward truth and the tree with precious fruit.

    I accept that you will, of course, dismiss and laugh at this. But again, if the book is what it claims, than this vision of Lehi has great significance as it was directed at our day. And my experience with hundreds of people who have gone through the process of leaving is that they never have a sincere, deep, and active daily habit of reading the Book of Mormon when they lose faith. Never.

    I have personally had times of question and doubt. I think that is natural. And in response to those doubts, I dug in and have intensely studied every criticism and argument against the Book of Mormon and the church while simultaneously spending significant time with the Book of Mormon. I have what I would describe as very satisfying answers for ever criticism. I have followed them as far as available information will allow- which is far further than 99% of all the literature critical of the church goes. And every time I am very satisfied.

    The exitence of the evils we see in the world is evidence that God values our agency tremendously. And each person has the agency to choose for himself or herself which path to follow. It is very much what the Lord intended.

  42. johnnyboy says:


    It’s hard to say really because I can’t remember what exactly was the first thing that tipped me off to the church’s weird history. I had read a lot of church history and discussed it with my father before the Internet but I never considered it strange then. While at BYU I did work in a bookstore and had read some old tanner books. But even those didnt really bother me because I could easily dismiss them as “an-tee Mormon”. My turning point was really in the mid 2000’s when the Internet really started to blossom. Before that there almost was no presence of anything Mormon related on the Internet, pro or con. I was really into reading FARMS and I thought it was the greatest blessing to have that as a resource. From FARMS and FAIR and SHIELDS I just started to read other sources that they referenced and started looking up topics. I would stumble upon sites like Mormon coffee and a few others.

    What struck me about Mormon coffee was the actual thought put into the articles and also the format of the blog itself. It was organized extremely well for a blog at that time (and still is). When compared to other sites, it stood out.

    So I started to organize all Mormon websites into two categories in my browsers bookmarks. On the pro side I had FARMS, SHIELD,FAIR, Jeff Lindsay sites, Mormon scholars testify, interpreter(recent) etc etc. On the other side I had Mormon think, mrm, Mormon Curtain, Mormons in transition, Mormon expression, ex Mormon.org and Mormon Coffee.

    Every few months or so I would casually just read both. I wasn’t even in the mindset of leaving the church or giving much heed to the Christian view points. It wasn’t until I started reading heavily into studies on the Book of Abraham that real doubt started seeping in. It was very confusing at first because the apologetics sites were really distorting what Christian sites were trying to point out. There were some Christian sites as well that were confusing the issue so it was hard to make heads or tails of the whole thing. But once that door opened it was too hard to ignore.

    Looking objectively at Mormonism now, I can say that for Mormons (even though they may not realize it), the Book of Mormon is to Mormons what the Old Testament is to Christians. The D&C and pearl of great price are like the New Testament to us and hold much more weight in our doctrine and teachings than people realize. Our whole temple is based around the theology of the pearl of great price!!

    So having the Book of Abraham come under the microscope was a big deal breaker for me and was the beginning of the end.

    @kenneth if you haven’t been a Mormon your gonna have a hard time convincing others to leave. If you were a Mormon you can slowly plant little seeds and just hope for the best. It’s gonna take years

  43. johnnyboy says:


    I appreciate the response. No need to clarify your meaning on Lehi’s vision. I got your reference. As far as Elder Hales talk, your looking at it from a Mormons perspective, and the Christians look at it from an outsiders perspective. To say that they are taking it out of context or blowing it out of proportion is missing the point.

    As to your experiences with people leaving the church, your claims that you know hundreds leavinf is dubious at best, unless you are a bishop interviewing all these individuals. In which case your ward needs some serious help! 🙂

    I just encourage you to for once take off the Mormon glasses and read the New Testament and the Book of Mormon without the LDS theology. It’s hard because its so ingrained but I think you can do it. Then go back and research church history. You’ll either end up being a NOM or you will leave. Or you’ll just keep ignoring truth(the kind packer warns against) that is staring right at you.

    How do you sit in lessons at church while someone holds up a picture of Joseph studying the plates when you know yourself that he used a seer stone in a hat? How do you justify that to yourself while others sit in ignorance around you? Seriously. I am really curious. This is just one problem of hundreds!!

  44. grindael says:

    Grindael- your analysis is simply wrong on Elder Hales’ talk. You are insisting that the “we” that Elder Hales is referring to of necessity includes all Christians. And that is simply not a reasonable assumption. Do you really think he is attempting to speak for all Christians? He is saying that “we” as in members of the church….. You are reading a lot into the text of his talk.

    You simply can’t comprehend what you read. Here is the FIRST THING you see when you read the talk. It says…

    This is the call of Christ to every Christian today: “Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep.”

    Does this say every MORMON today? Every Latter-day Saint today? Every Christian Mormon today? NOPE. It says EVERY CHRISTIAN. Then the next thing we see is this:

    What does it mean to be a Christian?

    No qualifiers there either.

    You are simply wrong. You do this CONSTANTLY. You just make up what you THINK people say, and then tell everyone that what you made up is what they actually said. You are so trapped in the Mormon Bubble of denial that you can’t even comprehend simple English.

    He then summarizes, after the quote I gave in my earlier post:

    With these doctrines as the foundation of our faith, can there be any doubt or disputation that we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are Christian? Yet for every Christian, a simple question remains: what kind of Christians are we? In other words, how are we doing in our quest to follow Christ?

    Take some comprehension courses in English, FOF, you really need them.

    Explain the Danite entry in Jo’s diary please and the lie on lds.org about Jo & the Danites. I bet you won’t.

  45. faithoffathers says:

    Johnny Boy,

    I read both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon with the simple intention of understanding what the text is saying. I intentionally try NOT to see it through “glasses” of any type. That should be the goal for any person wanting to understand a text. And anybody who says that the Bible (or any other ancient text) is obviously clear and consistent in describing just one interpretation is not understanding the text or is being misleading.

    I have lived in many different wards and traveled quite a bit. I have communicated with many people over the years who have experiences the same thing you have. And what I find is very consistent.

    Your claim that if I read church history I will leave the church is naive. I have been studying church history of a long time, and you are simply assuming that any person who knows church history will make the same conclusions you have.

    The issue of the method of translation of the Book of Mormon which you bring up is a good example of people not exploring far enough. Who was scribe for that translation process? The answer is many people. But Oliver Cowdery was scribe for the majority of the book. And his clear statement indicates Joseph used the Urim and Thummim. But others, like Martin Harris, describe a different process- the one you are referring to. It is interesting to see the critics level an argument against the church for portraying the translation process that is most consistent with statements from the primary scribe instead of those who served as scribe for significantly shorter periods. That seems like a very biased, partisan criticism.

    The other problem with their criticism is that they do not realize that the “face in the hat” methodology described by Martin Harris should not cause any problems. That is because Joseph Smith’s description of the Urim and Thummim and seer stone are quite consistent with what is known about the ancient Urim and Thummim. Cornelis Van Dam wrote the definitive book on the Urim and Thummim and provides far more data to the discussion of what they were than can be found in any other source, including the Bible. And the data in that book goes quite a way in making Joseph’s claims seem very plausible as far the seer stone and Urim and Thummim and their purpose, use, and what was involved in using them.

    But most people do not take it that far and simply take the talking points from other people and make their conclusions.

    There is the intellect and the spirit in a person. And the critics insist that we employ only a pseudo intellect to evaluate the claims of the restoration. Their arguments are quite shallow from an intellectual standpoint.

  46. MJP says:

    FoF, why if the story is very plausible, is it white washed?

    Don’t you think, if its plausible, it people would stand on it proudly and defend it, rather than sweep it under the rug, so to speak?

  47. jaxi says:

    “And my experience with hundreds of people who have gone through the process of leaving is that they never have a sincere, deep, and active daily habit of reading the Book of Mormon when they lose faith. Never.”

    As much as I doubt you know the spiritual life of hundreds of people that have left Mormonism, you now have met several on this site that had a sincere, deep, and active habit of reading the Book of Mormon when they lose faith. I would suggest listening to some of the stories on sacredgrovesonline.org for more.

    As for the word of God being the Book of Mormon and that by holding onto that you will be able to eat of the tree of eternal life. I would ponder these scriptures.

    John 1:1
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    John 1:14
    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    The Word of God to me is Christ. He is the Word. Now if I believed Lehi was a real person, I would also have to believe that he was able to receive eternal life without the Book of Mormon because it wasn’t written yet. So you saying that the word of God is best represented by the Book of Mormon is really just your personal perspective on what would work best for people today. Honestly, I think using the Book of Mormon as a way that “one [can] be sure his or her direction is correct and that he or she is headed toward truth and the tree with precious fruit,” would not be fitting. If thousands of years from now there was no LDS Church and someone found a Book of Mormon they would not be able to come up with any of the unique practices held by Mormonism. It’s a bait and switch scheme. Sell something that may be seen as likeable, acceptable, and somewhat Christian just change the costumer to the real product once they are hooked. Maybe you should switch the iron rod representation to the Doctrine and Covenants? Or maybe to “follow the prophet.” Wait, you need to make it clear though so people don’t get confused but all the different LDS prophetic teachings. Maybe the iron rod is “follow the current prophet.” I don’t know. But if the LDS Church is the only way to life with God, than I think the Book of Mormon is a poor representation of “the way.”

  48. falcon says:

    I had one of those “head snap-back” moments regarding your comment that you have known/spoken to hundreds of people who have left the LDS church. Doesn’t that in and of itself give you pause to reflect? And you think it’s because they stopped reading the BoM? Well I would think that you’d be shocked that you personally know that many people who are jumping off the sinking LDS Titanic. If you know that many, how many are there in total? My guess the reason they leave has nothing to do with the fact that they stopped reading the BoM.

    Anyway, here’s a link to a survey of “leavers” done by John Dehlin who, it seems, can’t quite figure out whether to stay or go.


  49. faithoffathers says:


    To what story are you referring?

    Jaxi- show me the people that have had a “sincere, deep, active” habit of reading the Book of Mormon when they left the church. The only person here thus far to claim such a thing is Tom, who posted earlier today. And I have my thoughts on that. But I don’t have any intention of questioning him on that.

    If we wish to be accept of the Lord, we need to accept the servants that He sends us. Would you disagree?

    If the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, our salvation depends upon our accepting it. Insisting otherwise would be no different than you claiming that a person does not need the New Testament to be saved. We must “live by every word which proceedeth from the mouth of God.”

    The Book of Mormon has a very clear purpose in our day. It is not a footnote of our religion. It truly is the keystone. That is why we are encouraged to read it every day. Those who argue that it is merely a “bait and switch” trick know very little about the book and the role it plays.

    If the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, then it is the voice of Christ in our day. And if we dismiss it, we are dismissing the voice of Christ, plain and simple. “His sheep hear His voice.” We cannot claim to be His if we do not hear His voice.

    Can you separate Christ from His word? Is the Bible completely separate from Christ? There is a reason He is called the “Word”- something that we normally define as a unit of communication.

    Another note about the whole picture here. The critics of the Book of Mormon follow precisely the same methodology as the atheists follow in analyzing the Bible. I have made a detailed look at the arguments of atheists against the Bible as well as the religious critics of the Book of Mormon. And they are exactly the same methodologies and logic. They appeal to the very same part of the human soul.

    But when it comes to analyzing the Bible, the religious critics of the Book of Mormon take a very, very different approach. They employ two very different sets of standards in considering the two books. And it is obvious. I have a difficult time understanding how these folks can live with such inconsistency and incongruence.

    At least the atheists are consistent.

  50. MJP says:

    FoF, specifically, the Smith seer stone story, but any of them, really.

    If your doctrine and history is so defensible, why not defend it rather than tidy it up?

    And the question I asked is clear. There are no hidden agenda’s in the question, and while it is broad, it is a simple question. If something is clear, why does it need to be altered?

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