We Thank Thee, O God, for…

sheet-musicOnce-official LDS history and doctrine is undergoing some hefty rewrites via the new Gospel Topics essays at LDS.org. As previously little-known information about Mormon history and doctrine has become available online, many Latter-day Saints are experiencing crises of faith when they learn of major discrepancies between what they have always been taught in the Church and what they have discovered on the internet. The Gospel Topic essays seek to fill a need for questioning Mormons to “read accurate information and be able to seek to understand those historical chapters in the context of time and place and understand that those answers have been approved by the presiding brethren of the church. I think that will give many of our members confidence that they can rely on these answers,” explains Church historian Steven E. Snow (“Understanding of Events in Church History: What about historical questions?” video).

As these essay answers generally do not consider or address the conflicting teachings of past Mormon prophets, seers and revelators, the following suggested rewrite of the beloved Mormon hymn, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” has been proposed by Mormonism Research Ministry.

We Thank Thee, O God, for Our Scholars

We thank thee, O God, for our scholars
To guide us away from GAs.
We thank thee, O God, for revisionists
To lighten our minds with their tales.
We thank thee for their clever wording
That sounds normal to the nations.
We feel it a treasure to have them
And rejoice in their obfuscations.

When dark clouds of history hang o’er us
And threaten our faith to destroy,
There is hope smiling brightly before us,
Our deliverance by scholars is nigh.
We doubt not their words to distract us,
Their talent in changing the past.
The critics who challenge our stories
Will surely be silenced at last.

We welcome our well-crafted essays
We’ll praise them by day and by night.
We’re thankful, O God, for our scholars
Who keep our past well out of sight.
Thus happy and heedless to problems
We will doubt our doubts as we’re told,
Dismissing the words of our prophets
Happiness is in what we don’t know.

“Let me say with all the intensity I have
that nothing will hurt you more than what you don’t know.”

–Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland–
(“The Justice and Mercy of God,” Ensign, September 2013, 20)

About Sharon Lindbloom

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

97 Responses to We Thank Thee, O God, for…

  1. Mike R says:

    Alisha , welcome .

    I for one did this comparison and it was evident that through the use of half truths that what
    Joseph Smith introduced and called the ” restored ” church of Jesus Christ is actually a good
    imitation . It should rightly be called the ” substituted ” church of Jesus Christ . It was not a
    restoration because their was no total / universal apostasy from Jesus’ gospel and of His
    church Body like Mormon leaders have declared . Simple fact .

  2. johnnyboy says:


    You need to start doing your homework and pay attention in class a bit more. If you wanna come on here and insinuate that Sharon is lying about things, you better be able to back up that claim and explain how she is lying.

    Unfortunately I have spent time here and nothing of what any of the Christians proclaim about the Mormon church is a lie. Not one thing. I learned this the hard way. I was like you, I came and defended the church for years on this blog until one day the truth slapped me in the face. The fact that you can’t see how the LDS church is quietly changing it’s own doctrine right before your own eyes is staggering. The fact that your reading this blog shows that you either are questioning what you have been taught, or that you’re just trolling.

    Either way, your respectfully wrong on what you claim.

  3. johnnyboy says:

    Unfortunately = fortunately.

    Bad grammar

  4. falcon says:

    What you’re going to find if you stick around here, is that most of the posters are former Mormons and they’ve done their homework.
    I’m not a former Mormon, but I’ve done my homework too. I’m also a student of the Bible and the history of the Christian faith.
    Let me ask you something? Is the LDS church a restoration of what took place in the early Christian church? In-other-words, did the apostles practice polygamy? Did they have temples that they would go to and perform rituals? Did they believe that there are many gods and that men can become gods and rule their own planetary systems? Did the early apostles believe and teach that their was a mother-father god that ruled this earth and that they procreated spirit offspring that then are assigned to live here? Did the early apostles teach that Jesus was one of the spirit off springs of this mother father god as is Satan? Did the early church teach that people with black skin have the Curse of Cain for not being valiant in the pre-existence and therefore could not receive the fullness of the Mormon priesthood?
    You see you need to share with us just exactly it was that Joseph Smith restored because these are things your church has taught, believed and practiced.

  5. falcon says:

    Difficult questions that every LDS Mormon needs to answer.
    It’s worth the 55 minutes.


  6. janstorm says:

    Welcome. You will learn fast that if you don’t have proof or references to back up what you are saying, you will not be taken seriously. The whole “pics or it didn’t happen” thing is very important to the discussion.

    I read a lot of the posts here but I rarely comment because there are people who are much better at it than I.

    You said:
    “I just hope that everyone reading this article opens their eyes to both sides of this issue.”

    You should follow your own advice. Don’t try to tell me that the church is not changing and rewriting things until you have opened your eyes to the other side of the issue and actually studied what is going on.

  7. grindael says:

    grindeal, [sic]

    I recognized long ago that you really, really struggle with conditional clauses and qualifiers. And as a result, you misunderstand almost every single quotation or statement you post. And that is why your method of doing searches based on key words then posting endless quotations with those words rarely represent the real world. You feel good about your “research,” and your cheering section here loves it. But it is astounding to me how consistently you misinterpret the English language.

    Once again, you provide your OPINION with NO EVIDENCE. Typical. Where is your EVIDENCE of this FOF? Where are the quotes? I ask you for them time after time, but you don’t provide them. You provide snippets and use purposefully ambiguous language. I provide whole IN CONTEXT PARAGRAPHS of what you say. Funny how you keep this false dichotomy alive with every post.

    You so frequently misinterpret posts and statements, it is truly mind-boggling. Above, you claim I said that there was “no correlation between the internet and people leaving the church.” This is a perfect example of how you mix up the statements of other people and logic. I argued that there was not evidence to support your claim that the people who leave the church are doing so because of the internet (without appropriate qualifiers or conditional clauses, your statement is to be interpreted in a general way). Do you see a problem with the inverse corollary you mixed up? My arguing that there is not objective evidence to support your broad conclusion does not equal my insisting that there is no correlation or association.

    Again, your OPINION. What you said, FOF, is this:

    But the truth of the matter is that there is not the evidence you wish there was to support a causal relationship between any change in membership and “the internet.”

    Where is the “conditional clause”? What EVIDENCE, did I “wish”? FOF? I gave NO EVIDENCE. I simply said that what was on the internet (the truth) was a cause of people leaving the church. You REDIFINED what I said, then argued AGAINST your own redifinition. You do this CONSTANTLY FOF. Then, you can SAY that I don’t understand English to make yourself look good. What a joke you are. And.. What does correlation mean, FOF? Here is the definition:

    the state or relation of being correlated; specifically : a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone

    What people discover on the internet (the truth) = cause to leave the church

    You denied I have any evidence (what “evidence” you never say, or list or refer to) of this without qualifiers, which implied that I had no evidence that it happened at all. In fact you said “THERE IS NOT the evidence” that “you wish”. Again, what evidence did I mention? NONE. So how can you say what it is, when I never mentioned any? Again, you are a joke.

    What I stated, was EXACTLY what you said. You did not QUALIFY that statement at all. Then you come in later and ADD that your context MUST be WITH Qualifiers. Nice. This is your logic? You are nuts.

    And.. Unfortunately, there is. John Dehlin’s survey that I linked to. That is direct evidence. But you ignore it, and then after the fact claim that you didn’t say what you DEFINITELY SAID. You constantly do this FOF. You get caught making BLANKET STATEMENTS. You said NOTHING about “appropriate qualifiers”. NOTHING AT ALL. In fact, in your follow up comment, you said,

    It is so typical and naive of you to say that in essence that “you know people” who are staying in the church for X,Y,Z reasons. As if you can project your limited anecdotal evidence onto a group of 15 million people. Some leave for intellectual reasons. Some leave slowly as a result of laziness and apathy. Some people leave after being excommunicated for committing adultery. Some people leave because they think the church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Some people leave after discovering issues with Joseph Smith. It is so ridiculous to try to fit all these individuals into a narrative that fits your pathetic campaign. But that is what you do.

    Again, you don’t mention the internet. There actually ARE people who leave the church because of information they found on the internet. Like it or not, this is a FACT. Your later reinvention of what you said, is a sad commentary about the tactics you constantly employ here. Disinformation and bad logic. Then, when called on it, you come back and LIE about what you originally said. How do you live with yourself?

    What kind of research do you do besides cutting and pasting statements of other people? Because it is very difficult to believe that your “field of research” involves any type of 1) statistical models 2) scientific method 3) methodical or systematic peer review or 4) systematic and consistent definitions. You are a guy with a database and the ability to cut and paste. But I don’t even think you know what constitutes a statement’s context.

    LOL. Your anger is showing FOF. Again, you can claim what you want, but again you offer NOTHING to prove that you are right here. You offer NOTHING, while I offer good, hard, evidence to back up what I post here. This really gets your goat. Again, you offer no method of disqualifying what I say, other than, You are wrong and I am right. You quote about scientific method, but you don’t employ ANY OF IT. You only give blanket statements and bad opinions. You have done so AGAIN. And this from a guy who doesn’t even know what data mining REALLY is. LOL. Did you find that context on the internet? On a Mormon site?

    My older comments you posted above are all in the context of subgroups of members and former members. But you guys almost never read critically for those things. I stand behind those comments without hesitation in their appropriate context. Do you understand what that means? It is apparent that some of those have been taken from their full context. But that is what you do.

    Oh, FOF. Now you are hedging again. Can’t stand that I can pull up exactly what you said, and prove that you are a hypocrite in all its original context. Funny how that works. The context of your statments are self explanatory and is obvious to everyone. If you like, I’ll add the links and everyone can judge for themselves. You know what, it will only make you look more foolish than your are.

    Ultimately, we are speaking past each other. According to some here, I am a racist idiot who knows nothing about the church and is blinded by Satan. I have to remind myself that the reason for my being here is not to convince you guys of anything. It is to provide any lurkers here with an alternative perspective. By the way, you guys really need to look up the definition of a “hypocrite.” Grindael- that should help with your analysis of Christ’s criticism of the Pharisees.

    No, we are not speaking past each other. You are ignoring the evidence that I present, and dodging questions, the truth, and are full of only ad hominems. When your “alternative perspective” is only this, I’m all for it. It shows the lurkers that there is no substance to what YOU CLAIM Mormonism IS. It shows the lurkers that you, FOF can’t back up what you say with evidence. It shows the lurkers, FOF that you are afraid of what we are exposing here, and that all you can do is use diversionary tactics and opinion that lacks any substance at all.

    As for the definition of a hypocrite, I’ve shown BY PROOF that you qualify perfectly for it. You, on the other hand, haven’t shown us anything, because you can’t. When someone continues to claim that someone is cutting and pasting and that what they cut and paste is OUT OF CONTEXT without ANY PROOF AT ALL, I think we can all conclude that that person is simply shooting blanks. In the case of FOF, he is shooting blanks at an imaginary target, one that he conjured up in his own mind.

  8. Old man says:

    A quick word from an old man, you said & I quote,

    “Members do leave the church just like any other religion but the church doesn’t lie about the things the article alludes to. I have been in this church for years with no apparent discrepancies.”

    Most here are aware of my ex wife who has just left the church & as soon as I fix her Pc she will come in to tell something of her story. I’m not about to lecture you on the above comment, what I will do is quote verbatim something she said to me just a couple of weeks ago in connection with what you choose to call ‘discrepencies’

    “I feel that I have been cheated. The church took thousands of pounds from me, I believed what they taught until I started, against their advice, to research its history. They lied to me, they took 10% of my pension money & kept me close to poverty level, I feel they have stolen from me. They don’t like the members to delve into their activities because they are hiding the truth. They keep you in ignorance until they have control over you.”

    Believe what you wish my dear but please don’t imagine for one moment that what you have been taught is necessarily true.

  9. Mike R says:

    We Thank Thee O God for…….providing us with safety from latter days false prophets by
    giving us a heads up in your Word to watch out for them —-Mark 13:22-23

  10. grindael says:

    MJP quoted FoF:

    “It is to provide any lurkers here with an alternative perspective.”

    Once again, it is helpful to go back and read what FOF says and how he contradicts himself. Here are some MORE of the “reasons” FOF claims to be here,

    I come to this blog because I believe the Christians who spend their time criticizing my church and faith have lowsy arguments and are largely dishonest people. I come here to offer lurkers an alternative perspective to the controversies and issues relating to the restored gospel.

    He comes here not to OFFER an “alternative perspective” but because critics are “largely dishonest people”. He also says

    You guys feel threatened. That is the bottom line. And I get it. My intent is to show the double standards that are ALWAYS employed by our critics who are religious. The atheists who criticize us are at least consistent and usually do not employ a double standard.


    My main interest here was showing how dishonest grindael is

    His intent is to show “double standards”. Where is the alternative perspective? Lost in hypocrisy, ad hominems, and blanket accusations against everyone who disagrees with him. Let’s show some double standards, courtesy of FOF, who claims he doesn’t call people names, and that he would never call anyone “arrogant”:

    JohnnyBoy- it is very hypocritical, in my opinion, for a person who believes in the Bible to accuse another person of being arrogant and having “discusting” beliefs because they believe God waited to extend all blessings to a particular group of people. Go read the Bible. That is the fundamental reality of much of the Biblical story.

    Yet, FOF does just that, more than once:

    Kate, What an arrogant thing to accuse me of lying about my faith.


    MJP- How in the world do I “dodge and twist and avoid understanding what it is that you say?” I have been open and honest. But you and grindael and others somehow know more about my faith than I do. The arrogance is astounding to me, to be honest.


    It is the condescending, arrogant mental exercises that you guys feel so great about that gives you this false sense of rightness and self-righteousness. I believe you guys completely miss the mark in all of this. Mental and intellectual phenomena are more important to you than what Christ actually taught. Go through every statement He ever made and ask yourself what it is that He is asking and commanding us to do.

    He claims that no one ever responds to what he quotes:

    I see there is, as always, absolutely no response to the quotations I posted. Just pivot and try to spin the same thing over and over.

    As ALWAYS, absolutely no response to his issues? Yet, he then he complains that too many people respond:

    I have a busy surgical practice and cannot always post here. You just need to deal with the fact that one person cannot respond to and engage consistently with 15 others who hold a completely contrary position. That being said, I will give brief responses to the issues you raise.

    Also, never calls individual “apostates”:

    And by the way, go back and read my posts again- I never called any particular persons “apostates.” I referred to “apostate Christianity.” And I maintain that distinction.


    Go back and read those three chapters. The apostate Christians who spend their time criticizing LDS always get this wrong.

    He called EVERYONE that criticizes Mormons “apostates”. That is NOT “apostate Christianity”. So much for FOF’s understanding of “distinction”. And he says I have problems with hypocrisy and language! And then there is this:

    Old man- your post is almost entirely beside the point. Yeah- I get it. You think I am apostate. That is not the point. Neither is the fact that I think you are apostate. Neither are any of the LDS practices. The point is entirely about how Christ defined a follower of His and how that contradicts the position of the critics here. And it is fitting but ironic that you did not really respond to that point, but jumped to another topic altogether.

    It’s ok to put words in Old Man’s mouth, (who called him on it in that very thread) and then call him an apostate because he CLAIMS that Old Man called him one. But FOF just made that up (as usual). With all his knowledge about the English Language, what should we make of all this?

    Look up the word Hypocrisy, FOF, and then pull the beam out of your own eye before you go lobbing it at others with no proof.

  11. Rick B says:

    Thanks for the corrections.

    Let me say this, as of late I have not been around much, I am busy with a project that I will talk about later, It involves Computers and things I have very little experience with and am learning a lot but am also busy as a result.

    Anyway, I will call you out more than anyone here, Everytime you accuse anyone of anything, and do not provide evidence I will call you out, if you claim we lie, and dont provide evidence for it, I will call you out. If you ask questions, we answer them, then we ask questions and you dodge them, I will call you out. I will even remind people as I see fit. I am not a mod on this blog, nor am I part of MRM, other than posting here, But I more than any one will not put up with stuff like accusing with out evidence.

    Iam so hard core in calling people out, I have annoyed some Fellow christians here on this blog. But if your going to be dishonest, then the Bible tells me to rebuke the people that are. So please feel free to speak your mind, just back it up.

  12. Ironman1995 says:

    I have been in this church for years with no apparent discrepancies. This article seems misled. No wonder people are getting confused! WOW Alisha , i was in the church from 1975 till 2011, and only from Sep 2011 till now did i fully understand how much the church covered up and lied. So if you are going to come here be ready .

  13. falcon says:

    Excellent job grindael in dealing with our very own LDS troll, FOF.

    I’m wondering. Would it be at all possible that there’s an informal group within the LDS church whose mission it is to disrupt blogs like MC?
    I’m not given to conspiracy theories but these LDS posters make no sense at all. I keep thinking, this has to be a strategy of some sort. But honestly, no one can appear that disconnected to reality on purpose. It’s almost like a form of psychosis.
    One way or another, it does give us insights into what cults do to the thinking process of its members. In a way it’s kind of scary.
    I wonder what it’d be like to engage these folks in conversation face-to-face. I wouldn’t want to do it unless they’d taken their medication.

  14. MistakenTestimony says:


    The reasons why the LDS religion pays FAIR and why FAIR pays FoF to argue on MC and other boards is so that some Mormons will see it and say, “see, someone is already addressing this. Nothing to see here, moving along.” I can say that FAIR pays FoF because he uses the same unique phrases that were used during the Issues, Etc interview and phone call followup. This is also the same rationale that is behind FAIR itself. Many will research a topic and see that the very fact that FAIR has a response will be enough to ease their shaken testimony without even bothering to seriously consider the content of their argument. For those Mormons who seek the truth they will dig much deeper, but for those who want the LDS religion to be true, any response will suffice. Also there is the assumed trolling logic of TL;DR. If they can create a post too long to comfortably read it will more than likely be exactly that to those who only want to stay superficial. The sad truth is, even if not one single LDS converts to Christ from henceforth, Mormonism will still not exist in a hundred years regardless. The whole religion is so demonstrably false, created by a charlatan, and maintained by lies that it is already eroding away from the base due to their inability to control the flow of information to their members.

  15. MJP says:

    Grindael, thanks for demonstrating the very items I have been referring to when I speak fof’s plank in his eye. I won’t belabor the point, except to say that I pray he comes to know Christ and His true teachings. I hope his eyes are opened and he realizes he currently stands on the wrong side of eternity.

  16. falcon says:

    Excellent post and very timely in regards to the article.
    Just think of the lengths the LDS church will go to create a sort of subterfuge in order to keep members in the fold. It’s really cult tactics. If all else fails, lay as much fear and guilt on those questioning the organization as possible. The LDS church its history, beliefs and doctrines are not to be studied outside of church approved sources. Man the guys at the top of the pyramid must be running scared. It’s all so totally dishonest.

  17. Old man says:

    “I wonder what it’d be like to engage these folks in conversation face-to-face”

    Wonder no more my friend, conversation with an LDS member implies an exchange of opposing ideas & that is something ALL Mormons are taught to avoid like the plague. The one thing an apologist CANNOT afford to do is listen to opposing views, if they did take in & understand what was being said to them there would be nothing left but a testimony based on feelings which they, in their self delusory way, interpret as being from the Holy Spirit.

    Although my ex could never be described as an apologist there was never any attempt at a genuine conversation, it was always fingers in ears time, la la la la la………or she would scream at me. I remember her saying to me at one time, “I wont discuss the bible with you because you know far more than me” what a strange thing to say, I could only interpret it as ‘no matter what the bible says I know the church is true’

    Nevertheless the time did eventually come when she began to read the New Testament on her own (Lurkers take note) without the aid of LDS manuals or more ‘knowledgeable’ members & that for her was the beginning of the end. Nothing more was needed & that, for me at least, is far greater evidence of the Holy Spirit at work than any feeling.

  18. falcon says:

    Andy Watson used to relate to me real time stories of his encounters with LDS folks. Andy always carried a messenger bag with him chocked full of documentation directly from Mormon sources. The missionaries or whoever he was talking with would deny something. Andy would pull out the LDS publications and show it to them. The LDS person would then deny it as not “official” even though it had the LDS church imprimatur on it. Most of the time the Mormon had no clue regarding the information Andy was providing them.
    We see this all the time. You know the drill. They deny it, then say it doesn’t count, then it’s folklore, then it’s opinion, then it happened a long time ago and finally “I bear my testimony”.
    I’ve enjoyed your accounts of your former wife’s journey out of the LDS church. It’s quite instructive that timing and the NT flipped her mind-set.
    Mormons have a lot to swallow. The entire system is based on Joseph Smith. Not a good foundation for religious faith, this Smith bird!

  19. johnnyboy says:


    Is the “issues, interview and phone call follow up” a method you are describing, or is it a particular event that happened with fair?

    Just curious as I am unfamiliar with the phrase.

    I know guys from fair regularly troll other websites pretending to be other people

  20. falcon says:

    I’ve often wondered about that because some to these arrogant TBM types that show up here often sound like the same person, different handle.
    This is really a losing battle for them when you think about it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend their time invested in those who are solid in the LDS program? They can’t even hold on to returning missionaries.
    Grant Palmer has some interesting things about being approached by and meeting with a GA who’s having some major doubts about the LDS church and all things related. He mentions the figure 50% related to MM who go inactive within five years.
    When you look at the actual percent of Mormons on the rolls who are temple Mormons, it’s a pretty pathetic number.
    What do you think the return on the investment is with the MM and how many converts they get and how many of those are around in three to five years? If the LDS church was fronting the money for this they’d stop the program.
    The LDS church is not an attractive buy.

  21. Mike R says:

    We Thank Thee O God for ……..for those people who have discovered that salvation and peace
    with God is found in the person of Jesus Christ rather than following a latter days prophet
    and the rules and regulations in the elaborate religious system he created .

    ” It’s Jesus not Joseph .”

  22. falcon says:

    It seems that the LDS church is really going to have to hustle to even begin to counteract the internet searches their members are doing. Once this sort of thing gets momentum, it’s not going to be stopped.

    When I visited the CofC Visitors Center in Nauvoo, you could tell they had a totally different approach than the LDS folks there. The young man I interacted with said basically, “Hay, this is part of our history/story. We can’t deny it.” He was a very refreshing person to interact with given his Mormon roots. He was telling me his congregation doesn’t even get into the BoM. He said he couldn’t remember the last time it was used in a service.

    There will always be a certain segment of the LDS population that will swallow the program because it appeals to them. For the folks who aren’t that into it, no amount of nuanced essays are going to change their minds. They’ll see right through the transparent attempt of the leadership to try to say the program is one thing when it really isn’t.

  23. Rick B says:

    It seems Alisha was nothing more than a troll, she comes by, accuses with out evidence, we ask her to back it up, she leaves. I guess the trolls are getting bored.

  24. falcon says:

    Yes rick………………..we do seem to get what we termed a long time ago the “drive by posters” or the “bomb throwers”. Our buddy clyde has had that distinction for quite a while but now it appears we have another one.
    The problem these folks face is that they really groove on Mormonism and the LDS church and they function mainly on emotion and not facts. So it’s easier to sort of do a modified testimony and keep moving along. It’s the blog version of the Fast and Testimony meeting without the crying.
    It’s a sad thing that these drive by Mormons don’t take the time to slow down their LDS Edsel for a little bit and actually give some thought to the belief system they are so enamored with.
    I don’t know what’s worse, a naive TBM or an arrogant TBM?
    Either way they are just as lost not knowing who the Lord Jesus Christ is and what the pathway to salvation entails. HINT, it has nothing to do with becoming a god and ruling your own planetary system.
    What it does have to do with is recognizing who the Lord Jesus Christ is, coming to Him in faith and applying the shed blood of His cross to our sins and receiving the gift of eternal life the Father is offering.

  25. falcon says:

    I think a question that should pop into the mind of a Mormon is, “Why does the LDS church need to write these essays?”
    Is it because their questioning members are going out on the internet and learning lies about Mormonism and the LDS church? Is that why?
    Not really. It’s because the members are going out on the internet and learning things about Mormonism and the LDS church and it’s not being filtered through (the LDS church). Here’s a funny thing. I know that grindael left the Mormon church after being granted to the BYU archives and learning things directly from the church’s own documents. This was unfiltered, unaltered, unexplained facts.
    Our former Mormon friend Kate talks about learning something about the BoA and beginning to explore exactly what this book was all about. That took her to begin to look into other aspects of Mormonism and the LDS church.
    A Mormon doesn’t have to go to forbidden websites to learn the things that will eventually cause them to lose faith in Joseph Smith and the religion he founded.
    So if there wasn’t a real crisis out there in Mormondom, the LDS church wouldn’t need to write essays trying to explain away things that are not easily (explained away).
    Something’s wrong folks.
    Putting it on the “shelf” or trying to explain it all away because it happened a long time ago just won’t hold water.

  26. Old man says:


    It’s my belief that the reason for the rather hurried release of all these essays has more to do with the Tom Phillips case than anything else. The first one was ‘rolled out’ just prior to the Monson’s summons being issued. I don’t think that’s a coincidence it seems more akin to a frantic attempt to close a door that that’s been wide open for many years. None of the essays have a date attached to them & none have been signed which leads me to the conclusion that it’s hoped they will be buried among all the clutter on the LDS site. The leadership could then claim that they’ve been there all along & just needed looking for.

    I’m convinced that ‘ordering’ these articles to be written was the gut reaction of a group of men starting to panic. Unfortunately for them they didn’t think it through.
    These ‘misleading’ essays have actually made Phillips job even easier as they prove beyond any doubt that the members & new converts were being lied to & misled prior to their release.

  27. falcon says:

    Very good observation:

    “These ‘misleading’ essays have actually made Phillips job even easier as they prove beyond any doubt that the members & new converts were being lied to & misled prior to their release.”

    The essays really do prove Phillips’ point don’t they! Sharon’s first couple of sentences summarizes the reason the LDS is posting these essays:

    “Once-official LDS history and doctrine is undergoing some hefty rewrites via the new Gospel Topics essays at LDS.org. As previously little-known information about Mormon history and doctrine has become available online, many Latter-day Saints are experiencing crises of faith when they learn of major discrepancies between what they have always been taught in the Church and what they have discovered on the internet.”

    What are some of the things the one true church has been telling people that is not only misleading but down right lies? Take polygamy. What are the faithful taught about Joseph Smith’s polygamy? What are they taught about polygamy in general within the church. What are they taught about blacks and the ban placed on them regarding the priesthood. What are they told about how Joseph Smith “translated” his golden plates?
    Why is there such a need to attach the term “folklore” to things like BY’s Adam-God doctrine? Do the rank and file know about what went on in regards to the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

    Here’s what the CofC says about the history of Mormonism:

    “A church with a mission focused on promoting communities of reconciliation, justice, and peace should be self-critical and honest about its history. It is important for us to confess when we have been less than what the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to be. This honesty prompts us to repent, and it strengthens our integrity. Admitting past mistakes helps us avoid repeating them and frees us from the influences of past injustices and violence in our history. We must be humble and willing to repent, individually and as a community, to contribute as fully as possible to restoring God’s shalom on earth.”

    And what does the LDS sect do? They write essays and post them trying to stem the tide of members getting fed up and leaving when they learn the truth.

  28. Ironman1995 says:

    When I discovered the Stapley letter in Sep 2011 and much more to follow, I was shunned, the essays would be like a slap in the face after being hit in the gut after finding what i found.

    When i have a book called Story Of The Latter Saints wrote by two church called scholars, back in 1976.
    On page 620 it reads ” in the early days of the church it was church policy that blacks did not hold the priesthood ”

    I had the book on my mission 77-79.

    Now looking back at the book, much was left out clearly , and I am not bitter over it, yet have moved on and am better off and have peace in Jesus.

    I defended the church and it was easy to do, I could not even begin to try to defend something on so many fronts that are wrong .

    The Mormon church is a earthquake that will never stop and its after shocks as well.
    I can now stand back on solid stable ground with the Bible and Jesus and look on and marvel on how I saw it through the eyes of a 17 in 1975 when I joined , naive and trusting.

    As a 19 missionary as totally indoctrinated and focused , that is the sad part , yet it did give me things i would never change .

    In every loss there is a gain , as in every gain there is a loss , beneath the snow green grass grows.
    i am not cold in the Mormon metal steel trap anymore, I walk on green grass that gives inner peace and total freedom.

    Thanks to all who have left and have found the green grass .

    Lew 8 time Ironman Triathlon finisher

  29. RikkiJ says:


    Good to see you on the forum. Just something for you to think about Alisha:

    This is a lie. Plain and simple. Members do leave the church just like any other religion but the church doesn’t lie about the things the article alludes to. I have been in this church for years with no apparent discrepancies. This article seems misled. No wonder people are getting confused!

    You can hear about MRM’s comments about an existing LDS High Councillor’s struggle about his faith because of three obvious changes in LDS history that the church has finally admitted to (but not entirely).


    You can also read that person’s blog here:

    (Book of Mormon Translation) http://ldsessay.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/book-of-mormon-translation.html
    (First Vision) http://ldsessay.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/first-vision-accounts.html
    (Race) http://ldsessay.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/race-and-priesthood.html

    I’m not sure if this is in accordance with forum rules, but I hope this helps you Alisha.


  30. falcon says:

    I think a really good essay for the LDS church would be “Who is Jesus?” I’d love to read who the LDS church believes in when they refer to Jesus as “The Savior”. This group are absolute masters of coming up with all sorts of creative religious ideas based on nothing but the imaginations of their past faux prophets.
    Let’s remember that Joseph Smith started out fairly conventional in his ideas about who God is. But being the creative type, it wasn’t long before he started to “evolve”. He had at least three possible four goes at it when it came to the doctrine of the nature of God. His successor, Brigham Young, in keeping with the Smith tradition, had a go at it himself. His Adam-God doctrine should be required reading for prospects to the LDS church. Perhaps a separate essay on Adam-God would be a good idea.
    I think it’s only right that the LDS proclaim loud and proud who Jesus is. We know that in the current LDS sect they teach that Jesus is the spirit off spring of the Mormon god who rules this particular sphere and one of his many wives. My understanding is that according to current LDS thinking Jesus had to learn to become a god. He got picked to come to earth to save the peeps that the god of this world had placed on this planet. It all gets sort of convoluted but that’s pretty close to the narrative.
    Anyway, it seems to me that the LDS church wants to keep the doctrine of God pretty much out of sight until they can have enough time to properly “instruct” converts. I’m voting for a resolution that would say that people need to have all of this explained to them before they take the plunge.

  31. grindael says:


    I found your quotation from the Church of Christ very, very interesting, especially this part,

    It is important for us to confess when we have been less than what the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to be. This honesty prompts us to repent, and it strengthens our integrity. Admitting past mistakes helps us avoid repeating them and frees us from the influences of past injustices and violence in our history.

    You then made this very astute observation,

    And what does the LDS sect do? They write essays and post them trying to stem the tide of members getting fed up and leaving when they learn the truth.

    Yes, this is exactly what they did. But ever think of WHY they would do it this way? Because of “Divine Investiture”. This is how Jos. Fielding Smith explained it in Doctrines of Salvation:

    JEHOVAH GIVES ALL REVELATION. All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses. The Father has never dealt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son. Thus the Inspired Version [JST] records that ‘no man hath seen God [the Father] at any time, except he [God the Father] hath borne record of the Son.” [JST, Jn 1:19.] …

    CHRIST MAY SPEAK AS THE FATHER. In giving revelations our Savior speaks at times for himself; at other times for the Father, and in the Father’s name, as though he were the Father, and yet it is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer who gives the message. So, we see, in Doctrine and Covenants 29:1, that he introduces himself as ‘Jesus Christ, your Redeemer,’ but in the closing part of the revelation he speaks for the Father, and in the Father’s name as though he were the Father, and yet it is still Jesus who is speaking, for the Father has put his name on him for that purpose.

    FIRST VISION AND REVELATION. We have a wonderful illustration of how revelation comes through Christ presented to us in the Vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Father and the Son appeared unto
    him, but it was not the Father who answered his question! The Father introduced Joseph to His Son, and it was the Son who answered the important question and gave the instruction.
    Had Joseph Smith come home from the grove and declared that the Father and the Son appeared to him and that the Father spoke to him and answered his question while the Son stood silently by, then we could have accepted the story as a fraud. Joseph Smith was too young and inexperienced to know this at the time, but he made no mistake, and his story was in perfect harmony with divine truth, with the divine law that Christ is the
    Mediator between God [the Father] and man. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:27-28.)

    Get the connection? Mormon “prophets” will never apologize or repent because they arrogantly say that THEY have DIVINE INVESTITURE to speak FOR and AS God. How can they take it back and not look totally ridiculous? How can they explain how other “prophets” would have to have their words taken back, or that they would have to repent for believing them? Easier to let anonymous apologists write “explanations” for them, that they only taught “folklore”, but because the investitured “authorities” didn’t write them, no harm, no foul. But the Church of Christ sees the problems with this line of thinking. They also addressed the race problems of Jo Smith in their church way back in the 1860’s. If it was all cultural, as modern Mormon “authorities” have said (vicariously thorough their new apologist spokesmen), then how come the RLDS Church recognized the problem over a hundred years before the Utah Mormons did? Answer: lame excuses, and unprecedented arrogance.

    Where did this idea of “divine investiture” come from? James Talmage, who had to come up with an idea for why the Mormon Church never taught that Jesus was Jehovah until the 1880’s. As one Mormon put it on the MD&D Board,

    It should also be pointed out that the theory of “Divine Invest[it]ure” was first expressed in 1916 as a way to resolve questions about the relationship between members of the Godhead. The principle itself doesn’t appear in the scriptures; it only applies as a way to explain instances in which the scriptures clearly state that one member of the Godhead is speaking, but our doctrine demands that it actually be another. While it’s possible that “Divine Invest[it]ure” is a legitimate theory, I don’t know if we’ve spent enough time thinking about whether our other doctrinal assumptions might need to be adjusted instead.

    And Jo’s story confirming it? LOL. Jo’s FIRST version doesn’t even mention the Father. He only does so three years later in 1835 FOR THE FIRST TIME. So how could he be “too young and experienced” to know about it, when he didn’t write it down until 15 years later, when he was 30 years old! By that time, Jo had made himself the ONLY person who could speak FOR and AS God, and that has continued in the Utah Church ever since.

    The quote from the Church of Christ shows that the Utah Mormon Hierarchy has no integrity. They only have an interest in keeping themselves free of any criticism as “the Oracles of God” who can, with infallibility, speak FOR and AS God. As those who benefit the most (materially) from the pyramid scheme of the present Corporation, don’t look for them to apologize, let alone REPENT any time soon.

  32. Alisha says:

    RikkiJ…. thank you for the links. I will check them out tomorrow.

  33. Alisha says:


    I couldn’t wait. You peaked my interest.

    I read through the three links. I found this at the end of the one about the BoM translation. “If this information is readily available to the church why is this not been taught”? I was honestly expecting to read a bunch of garbage spun together with conspiracy. I am glad that this wasn’t the case. Though I do not agree with some of the conclusions, some are a leap from fact to unfounded conclusion, I found that most of what the three blog posts said are things I was already aware of. My parents joined the church as adults and I grew up in a small branch without anyone who had LDS forefathers. We felt like we had to dive deep into the history of the church to somehow make up for that. Much of these things were taught to me a child. Whenever I meet people from the western more heavily LDS part of those United States many have a more shallow understanding and I would speculate that these are the types of Mormons that freak when learn these things. Note that I said speculate because I have never tested that theory. I would also like to mention that these great men that lead the LDS church are human meaning that they can make mistakes. This doesn’t void the word of the lord that comes through them. The lord doesn’t work on our time table. We dont tell the lord how to fix mistakes or how much of the information on a topic he has to give us at any one time. But he will, in his own time and way, reveal to his servants the true prophets, truth. He will fix the unintentional mistakes of those he has called. He will at times though leave us without all knowledge to see if we will still love and serve him. Will we swot at a knat while swallowing a camel? Meaning, will we hold it against Joseph Smith that he left some parts out of his first vision story depending on his audience? An experience he only had once as a very young teenager? Don’t miss the point. Only a true prophet could have brought forth the BoM in addition to everything else Joseph did. Only God could have made that happen. And what God does is not for us seek to destroy; that is Satsns job. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

  34. falcon says:

    Well Alisha,
    You’re certainly an interesting type of Mormon. I think this could quite possibly be a first for me in the five or so years I’ve been here on MC. Very interesting logic you bring forth.
    Let me be very honest with you. Your views of Mormon prophets just won’t cut it, but I give you credit for creativity. I wouldn’t touch Mormonism with a ten foot pole given what you’ve said.
    You wrote:
    “Only a true prophet could have brought forth the BoM in addition to everything else Joseph did.”
    Nah, it really wouldn’t be that tough to do what Joseph Smith did. I can give you all sorts of “inspired” writings by all forms of prophets and it’s not all that big of a deal.
    But what troubles me the most is how you can excuse with a wave of the hand, what the Mormon prophets have done and proclaimed.
    I do give you points, again, for creativity. You call these troublesome things “mistakes”. At least you don’t call them “opinion”, “folklore”, or just the prophet blowing off steam as is what many do. Here’s the problem. These “mistakes” caused a lot of pain in the lives of real people who followed these guys and invested everything they had in them and their supposed prophetic gifts.
    Should I tell you the real problem here? It’s the fact that these prophets created another god, another Jesus and another plan of salvation. There is no connection between Mormonism of any era and the gospel that was proclaimed by the first century church.
    Was this promotion of a new god, a new Jesus and a new gospel a “mistake” also. If these guys you trust are prone to mistakes, how do you know that most if not all of it is a mistake? You don’t really.

  35. Rick B says:

    Alisha said

    I would also like to mention that these great men that lead the LDS church are human meaning that they can make mistakes. This doesn’t void the word of the lord that comes through them.

    You have got to be kidding? These LDS prophets are not real prophets, they are false prophets and wolves in sheeps clothing, they condrtict each other, dont agree on Doctrine, Doctrine has changed over the years, and the BoM has changed over the years, and with these changes, their is no written info admiting these changes, they are all done in secert.

    Alisha said

    He will fix the unintentional mistakes of those he has called.

    You seem to be admitting the LDS prophets made mistakes, but you cannot claim they made mistakes and then later God will correct all these things. If BY said Adam was God, and people believed that, and then you come along and say, it was a mistake, then we have a problem.

    First, You mean God will allow some people to belive false things and simply over look it because it was a mistake?

    Second, are you aware that your prophets claim, The prophet cannot lead the church astray? So that means they cannot or should not be making mistakes.

    third, are you aware that JS taught, a man cannot be saved in ignorance?
    If thats true, then these mistakes as you call them are people living in ignorance, so how can they be saved?

    Now you said,

    He will at times though leave us without all knowledge to see if we will still love and serve him. Will we swot at a knat while swallowing a camel? Meaning, will we hold it against Joseph Smith that he left some parts out of his first vision story depending on his audience?An experience he only had once as a very young teenager?

    Are you aware JS had NINE first vision accounts? You cannot claim he left some parts out of his first vision story depending on his audience because JS claims he saw no one, only heard voices, then he claims he only saw Jesus, then he saw Both God and Jesus, then he saw one angel, then he saw many angels.

    And when he told this story, he was, 14, then 15, then 16, then 17.

    In a court of law he would be throw out for all these contrdictions.
    You claimed he had An experience he only had once as a very young teenager? was it once as you say? Or Nine Times as LDS teaching and recorded history teaches?

    You claim,

    Only a true prophet could have brought forth the BoM in addition to everything else Joseph did.

    I have read the BoM, tell me whats in the BoM that is not in the Bible that will get me closer to God and will help me out to know Jesus better? And if what ever you mention is found in the Bible, and it is mentioned in the BoM, then since it is already in the Bible, then it is not needed again in the BoM.

    So please fill us in. Thanks

  36. Mike R says:

    Alisha ,

    You’re exhibiting very familiar ( and predictable ) behavior of those who follow latter days
    false prophets ( Mat 24:11) , —- you’re refusing to hold your leaders accountable for what
    they have taught in their gospel preaching . Jesus will not honor that rationale because He has
    provided a means to test those who say they are prophets or His apostles , especially in these
    latter days —-1 Jn 4:1 ; 2 Tim 4:3,4 . It matters not if a man is well meaning , and not all false
    prophets/apostles these days are immoral individuals , but they all have one thing in common :
    on some important issues they , ” teach for doctrine the commandments of men ” .
    That describes Mormon leaders . They have claimed to have restored the very same exact
    church Jesus established through His apostles 2000 years ago because that original church
    died off , that the salvation message ( Rom 1:16) was altered by men who mixed in their own
    ideas to it and presented it as Jesus gospel and this resulted in a total apostasy from the true
    gospel and resulted in salvation not being available again until Joseph Smith arrived on the
    scene . That claim also is false advertising . But this is what latter days false prophets do .
    Mormon leaders did not restore Jesus’ church , they built one and substituted it for His church.

    Please know of our concern for you . The answer is not following a latter days prophet
    who rules from the top of the church Body . It’s all about Jesus . No temple rituals , no prophet
    at the top is necessary to have a right relationship with God and receive forgiveness and
    eternal life . May you one day soon come to understand that life changing truth .
    Again , thanks for stopping by .

  37. johnnyboy says:


    glad to see you aren’t a troll (crossing fingers!).

    I really hope you are able to listen to some of the things that people tell you on here, and maybe even dig a bit deeper into church history and also what the church currently is doing.

    I am sure that you are aware of historical “issues” in the mormon church, but from what you have said so far, it seems most of what you know are what I like to call “surface” issues. I’m not trying to disparage you in any way. I used to think I knew about all the “issues” and I would make excuses for the men that lead and have led this church.

    I knew that they were not perfect, and I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but my continued research started to intensify within this last year, which culminated in my leaving for good. I realized that these men are not good men, are not “called of god”, and do not have your best interests at heart. In fact its quite the opposite. A perfect example of this is the second anointing ceremony (google it). The church is run by a “good ol boys” type club. They look out for themselves, and their family and friends.

    Once I dug deeper I found there were endless issues with the church, its whitewashed history, its leadership, and its doctrine. I was called to teach church history the year I was researching these issues. I found that almost every single story I was teaching out of the manual was completely fabricated or whitewashed. I would laugh because I had read these stories a million times growing up, and now reading the real background into them I realized the church does this in order for people to believe. I also have serious issues in the way the church is changing doctrine over the past year without people even knowing it is going on.

    A perfect example is the new seminary manual that is now teaching that the Book Of Abraham is not autobiographical and that Joseph Smith never taught that it was. This is shocking. And nobody knows its going on except maybe seminary teachers and new students this year (and exmos that continue researching).

    Alisha, the church is FINALLY acknowledging openly that Joseph used seer stones for most of the translation of the book of mormon. NOT the urim and thummim. They try and obfuscate this issue by claiming seer stones “were common” in Joseph’s day. They certainly were common…. with people who practiced in the occult and folk magic!! Over 60% of the book of mormon was supposedly “translated” by joseph looking into a hat with a rock while the golden plates weren’t even present in the room.

    Think about that for minute. Why would God preserve the great golden plates for thousands of years only to have them not even be used in the translation process? This makes absolutely no logical sense. And according to the method used, Joseph would read what appeared to him in the hat. If the scribe did not write down what joseph spoke, then the words would not disappear until correctly transcribed. If this is the case, how could there have been so many changes (doctrinal, not grammatical) in the BOM?

    If you are serious about studying the issues, I would suggest starting with cesletter.com, then mormonthink.com. These are just the tip of the iceberg but they give you at least a starting point. Start researching the stories behind the individuals surrounding the early church. The smith family, rigdon, cowdery, harris, whitmer, bennet, etc … These are the stories where you begin to find the truth. You will see how people were either in on the scam, or they weren’t. Then there were the people who figured out it was a scam, and they ran for the hills (literally).

    I had known about many issues over the past 15 years, but I was never able to connect the dots fully because of the way the church blurs everything in their history. I spent days and weeks and months reading articles from FAIR and FARMS. Most of the troubling issues I discovered from those websites. Their answers were at best mediocre, at worst straight up lies. Add to the fact that THEY ARENT THE CHURCH! They provided cover for the church until finally the church leaders realized that people (like myself) were leaving because of what they found on fair and farms websites. This led to the firing of ALL the farms staff two years ago. Now FARMS does not do apologetic work anymore. Instead the church now releases anonymous “essays” buried within their website. No name, no date, full of contradictions and more LIES!!! It’s like they can’t help themselves.

    There is no way I can profess that Joseph Smith was a prophet when he raped a 14 year old girl (helen mar kimball). I even tried to excuse that!!! But he did rape her. He and her family forced her to have sex with him. SMITH WAS 37. An almost 40 year old married man having sex and marrying a 14 year old girl in the 1830’s WAS NOT NORMAL OR COMMON. Nor was it commanded of God.

    I will be turning 37 this year. That would be like me forcing myself on one of the beehive girls I was asked to teach at church in my class. If its just a human error on my part, I guess if its ok with you I will go ahead and marry her and make it legit and then keep it secret from my wife. I’ll just say an angel with a flaming sword commanded me to do it. Oh, her family is cool with it so I guess that makes it ok.

    Use your head Alisha. I’m saying this not in an insulting way, I really do want you to spend more time thinking about these things instead of casually blowing them off.

    I cannot raise my arm to the square and sustain Monson as a “prophet, seer and revelator” when I know that he oversaw (along with Oaks) the “gay aversion therapy” program at BYU in the 70’s. This program entrapped gay men, and put them in experiments to “de-gay” them. They even secretly brought in a young 14 yr old boy who was gay, fed him vomit inducing drugs, attached electrodes to his genitals, and shocked him while forcing him to watch hardcore gay and straight pornography. His parents were told he was at a “genealogy camp”. This is straight up Clockwork Orange SH#T!

    Would you be ok with a church that did this to one of your children? I guess that was just an error of judgement on monson and oaks part. They are men after all. Oh, and quite a few of the gay men in this program committed suicide because of it. How wonderful! We thank the oh god for a prophet.

    Please google the “strengthening the church members committee”. Ask yourself why a church needs a secret spying organization. Then youtube Elder Holland and the Church’s PR Head LIE about it on camera and then get caught lying. It’s scary.

    Any church that spies on its own members and ex members isn’t a church. It’s a (fill in the blank).

  38. johnnyboy says:

    For all the lurkers who were told about how polygamy was just spiritual for joseph and not sexual in any way, here are some quotes to chew on from Helen Mar Kimballs wonderful and outstanding father Heber C. Kimball who was an “apostle of the lord” that gave his daughter to a rapist. enjoy:

    “I think no more of taking another wife than I do of buying a cow.” – Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Twenty Seventh Wife, Irving Wallace, p. 101.

    “Brethren, I want you to understand that it is not to be as it has been heretofore. The brother missionaries have been in the habit of picking out the prettiest women for themselves before they get here, and bringing on the ugly ones for us; hereafter you have to bring them all here before taking any of them, and let us all have a fair shake.” – Apostle Heber C. Kimball, The Lion of the Lord, New York, 1969, pp.129-30.

    “I say to those who are elected to go on missions, remember they are not your sheep: they belong to Him that sends you. Then do not make a choice of any of those sheep; do not make selections before they are brought home and put into the fold. You under stand that. Amen” – Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.256.

    What a lovely fellow.

  39. grindael says:

    Hi Alisha,

    I usually don’t comment to people unless I see some kind of problem with their historical facts. You said,

    …will we hold it against Joseph Smith that he left some parts out of his first vision story depending on his audience? An experience he only had once as a very young teenager? Don’t miss the point.

    That is a very interesting take on Smith’s first version of his claimed 1821 vision (he claimed that he was in his 16th year when it happened). You say that he left out some parts “depending on his audience”. This is a modern Mormon apologist argument, and not a very good one. I’ll discuss why below.

    First, have you read the entire account that Jo gave? Actually, Smith was not recounting just a “part” of his claimed 1821 vision in 1832. He wrote in the introduction (which I have seen no Mormon apologists address):

    A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Chist the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand


    The 1832 letterbook account claims right at the beginning that it is to be a “history of the life of Joseph Smith” of “all the mighty acts which he doeth” and an account of the “rise of the church”. Smith here, would not be giving just a “part” of the vision, or focusing on some point of it, or targeting it to some nameless “specific” audience. No one does this with their life histories, especially when you claim right off the bat that you are going to document ALL of your “mighty acts”.

    It was meant as an historical account, like his 1839 version. But by 1838 Smith’s theology had changed, and he then believed that Jesus and the Father were SEPARATE persons, and thus had to change the account of the 1832 version of the claimed vision. FAIR tries to explain Smith’s MOTIVATION here.

    But fails to mention the opening paragraph (above) and then compare that to the 1838 opening sequence:

    “I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.”

    These two accounts, along with the Wentworth Letter, were meant to be “histories”. That means they would be full accounts of the claimed vision. If any of the three would have been targeted to a specific audience, it would have been the Wentworth letter, because it was a letter which is very unlike writing a history of your life. But as we know, between 1832 & 1838 Smith’s theology changed, and so did the accounts of this claimed vision. Here is an interesting conundrum,

    I find it very troubling that Smith did not have his 1832 History copied into his Large Journal (A-1), when he went to the trouble of doing so with the History that he helped Oliver Cowdery write in 1834. (That doesn’t mention the claimed 1820 vision at all) Instead, he left the 1832 History alone in the back of a letterbook which had the title page removed to possibly obscure its existence in that collection. (This actually strengthens Jo’s claim that it was to be a History of his life, probably for publication). On October 29, 1835 Joseph had one of his scribes write in his diary,

    Thursday, 29th Br[other] W[arren] Par[r]ish commenced writing for me. Father and Mother Smith visit[ed] us. While we set writing Bishop Partri[d]ge passed our window. [He has] just returned from the East. Br[other] Par[r]ish commenced writing for me at $15.00 per month. I paid him $16.00 in advance out of the committee Store. Br[other] Parrish agrees to board himself, for which I agree to /allow him/ four Dollars more p[e]r month making $19.00. I was then called to appear before the High Council which was {page 10} setting to give my testimony in an action brought against Br[other] David El[l]iot for whip[p]ing his Daughter unreasonably. My testimony was in his favour. [p.42] Returned to our writing room. [We] went to Dr. [Frederick G.] William’s after my large Journal [and I] made some observations to my Scribe Concerning the plan of the City which is to be built up hereafter on this ground consecrated for a Stake of Zion.

    While at the Doct[or’s], Bishop E[dward] Partri[d]ge came in in company with President Phelps. I was much rejoiced to see him. We examined the mum[m]ies, returned home, and my scribe commenced writing in /my/ Journal a history of my life, concluding President [Oliver] Cowdery[‘s] 2d letter to W[illiam] W. Phelps, which President Williams had begun. (Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.41-42).

    The above would be the 1834-5 Cowdery/Smith History published in the Messenger and Advocate. (The account where there is no claimed 1820 vision mentioned, and instead, Jo and Oliver wrote that Jo FIRST went to God in 1823 “to see if a Supreme Being did exist.”) Historian Scott Faulring explains that Joseph’s large journal,

    is Book A-1 of the “Manuscript History of the Church,” which contains some of Joseph Smith’s and his scribes’ earliest attempts to write a detailed history of the church and which was later used to prepare the published History of Joseph Smith. (ibid, note 5)

    Dr. Dean Jessee writes,

    In October 1834 Oliver Cowdery, the editor of the Messenger and Advocate, introduced the first published history of the Church. This work was presented in the form of correspondence between Cowdery and William W. Phelps, and was anticipated as a “full history of the rise of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and the most interesting parts of its progress, to the present time.” It was further announced by the editor that “our brother J. Smith Jr. has offered to assist us. Indeed, there are many items connected with the fore part of this subject that render his labor indispensible. With his labor and with authentic documents now in our possession, we hope to render this a pleasing and agreeable narrative.”Ina series of eight letters that followed, Cowdery presented random historical events, beginning in the October 1834 issue of the paper with an account of the priesthood restoration, and terminating in the October 1835 issue with the visit of Moroni to Joseph Smith. A copy of the eight letters was transcribed into the Prophet’s journal in 1835. On October 29 Joseph recorded that he went with his newly appointed scribe, Warren Parrish, to obtain his “large journal” from Frederick G. Williams. Later that same day Parrish began writing “a history” of Joseph’s life by concluding “President Cowdery’s second letter to W. W. Phelps, which President Williams had begun.” A check of the handwriting in the journal reveals the point at which Parrish commenced copying the second Cowdery letter to Phelps. It also shows that Parrish continued writing to the end of the eighth letter. At this point, however, unlike the published account, the journal narrative does not end, but continues in a different style. The transition is marked by a change in handwriting from Warren Parrish to that of Warren A. Cowdery and is prefaced with the following introduction: “Here the reader will observe that the narrative assumes a different form. The subject of it becoming daily more and more noted, the writer deemed it proper to give a plain, simple and faithful narrative of every important item in his every day occurrences…. (Jessee, op. cited, 1969, pages 4-5).

    As Scott Faulring explained above, the “large journal” that Joseph Smith had his scribes copy the 1834 History into is what has become known as Manuscript A-1. This journal originally had over 100 pages of material,

    “covering the period from 1834 to early 1836, was a composite chronicle consisting of genealogical tables, dated entries adapted from JS’s journal, and transcripts of newspaper articles. Reasons for its discontinuance are unknown.”

    When Joseph Smith began his fourth attempt at a History in 1839, his scribes simply flipped over this Manuscript Book and began again. If you go to the Joseph Smith Papers website, and view this manuscript, you will see that they end it at page 575, but at the bottom of the page in the right hand corner you will see the page number 192, which is upside down. The material recorded in the back part of the Manuscript Book was just recently added to the website, and has never been released by the church before, although some scholars like Dean Jessee have seen the material and described some of it.

    If, as Apologist David E. Slone contends, the 1832 History is the right interpretation of events (about the Book of Mormon), then why did Joseph abruptly discontinue it and leave it uncopied in the back of a letterbook? Why didn’t Joseph have it copied into the large journal in 1835? Even if he was not satisfied with the account of the claimed 1820 vision, why did he not have the portion that had to do with the visit of the messenger copied? Perhaps Joseph did not want the events as written in 1832 to become part of his Official History. At the Joseph Smith Papers website they write that,

    J[oseph] S[mith] dictated or supplied information for much of A-1, and he personally corrected the first forty-two pages before his death. (See also, History of the Church, vol. 7, p. 387).

    There may be another reason that Joseph did not feel the 1832 History was important; in his 1839 History (on page 5) he changed the name of the messenger from Moroni to Nephi.

    As you can see in the photo, the name Nephi is not only written, but emphasized. The insertion of the name Moroni into the text above was done much later, by Brigham H. Roberts. When this History was published by Joseph in 1842 in the Times and Seasons, Joseph (who was the Editor at that time) kept the name Nephi. It was also published as Nephi in the Millennial Star and in the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price. Since Joseph corrected the first 42 pages of this manuscript and did not change the name to Moroni, ascribing the name of Nephi to a clerical error is disingenuous.

    It is worth noting here that Joseph did not name the messenger who gave him the plates in his 1832 History, though he does reference “Maroni” as one of those who had “engraven” the plates. (Letterbook 1, page 4). As for the messenger, Joseph simply calls him “an angel of the Lord” who “came and stood before me and it was by night and he called me by name…” (ibid).

    Why Joseph would change the name of this messenger to Nephi is something of a mystery since he had referred to the angel who delivered the plates as Moroni in a prior “revelation” (Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 edition, L:2) and in the 1838 publication, The Elder’s Journal (Elders Journal, 1, pp. 42-3, July 1838).

    Why did Joseph abandon the 1832 History, tear out the title page of the book it was written in, and then repurpose the book as a letterbook and never copy nor refer to that history ever again? It’s almost like he forgot about it. Perhaps because so much of it can’t be verified by any sources at all. No priesthood restoration sources, no claimed 1820 vision sources, no sources for his version of Martin Harris’ conversion, none. What is interesting is that in Manuscript Book A-1, they copied the Cowdery/Smith History, and then Jo decided to use if for a daily history (that he also abandoned as mentioned above), and one of the first entries is a new recounting of the claimed 1820 vision (November 1835), because that claimed vision can’t be found in the Cowdery/Smith 1834 History. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Apologist arguments must make sense. They must use all of the facts, not just some of them. There is so much about the claimed 1820 vision that just doesn’t work. I can tell you why. I recently read the entire scope of Apologist arguments to try and authenticate this story by Smith, which may be found here. They used to have the whole book online, but have since taken it down. It has some excellent arguments in it, but they fall flat when it comes to trying to authenticate what Joseph said, simply because there are too many conflicting accounts that prove that Jo never had this experience when he said he did. If that can’t be verified, the whole thing falls apart.

    There are even problems with the weather in the early spring of 1820 which makes it very difficult to believe that Smith could have had the vision when he said he did. Then, there are the revivals. I am in the process of writing a long article which takes on every single argument in this book, which I’ll have published later this year.

    I have found though, that if one WANTS to believe it, one will. But not if you really look at the evidence. Then, you must admit there are so many problems that you must come up with an alternative excuse for the vision (like the “selective audience” one).

  40. grindael says:

    One more comment about how Jo invented history. Here is Jo’s account in his 1832 History that contains the claimed 1821 vision written for the first time,

    “on the 22d day of Sept of this same year [1827] I obtained the plates and the in December following we mooved to Susquehana by the assistence of a man by the name of Martin Haris who became convinced of the visions and gave me fifty Dollars to bare my expences and because of his faith and this rightheous deed the Lord appeared unto him in a vision and shewed unto him his marvilous work which he was about to do and he imediately came to Su[s]quehanna and said the Lord had shown him that he must go to new York City with some of the characters so we proceeded to coppy some of them” (Joseph Smith, Letterbook, page 9).

    According to this account it was Martin’s idea (supposedly inspired by a vision) to have some of the characters copied so he could go to New York City with some of them. This version of events is remembered differently by Lucy Smith who spoke to the assembled Church in 1845 as recorded by William Clayton:

    [I] Want to speak about the dead. 18 years ago last September that J[oseph] took the plates out of the earth. 18 years last Monday since the J[oseph]. S[mith]. the prophet of the Lord got the plates from the earth. J[oseph]. came to me and told me he had taken those plates out of the ground. Tell all three of them (Harris[es]) that I have got them I want Martin to assist me and take some of the characters off to send them to N.Y.” (Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1, p. 223)

    Norton Jacob also wrote an account of Lucy Smith’s speech and verified what Clayton wrote,

    Br Brigham [Young] commenced in the morning.… after he got through Mother Smith, Joseph’s moth=er addressed the congregation abou an hour concerning of the history of herself & family in bringing forth the Book of Mormon[.] she said it was eighteen years ago last monday since she commenced preaching the gospel being cal[l]ed upon by Joseph Smith to go & tell Mar=tin Harris & family that he had got the Plates & he wanted him to take an alphabet of the characters & carry them to the learned men to decypher.…” ibid.

    An account given by Martin Harris himself in 1859 also contradicts Jo’s 1832 history. In this account by Harris he states that “I had a revelation the summer before, [1827] that God had a work for me to do.” Harris does not say that God revealed anything specific to him. Harris then affirms that,

    The first time I heard of the matter, [the gold plates] my brother Presarved Harris, who had been in the village of Palmyra, asked me if [I] had heard about Joseph Smith, jr., having a golden bible. My thoughts were that the money-diggers had probably dug up an old brass kettle, or something of the kind. I thought no more of it. This was about the first of October, 1827.

    Harris then states that he first visited Lucy Smith who told him the story of the gold plates and then “a day or so” later he went and visited Joseph. Martin stated that Joseph told him that, “An angel had appeared to him, and told him it was God’s work,” and that “he found them [the plates] by looking in the stone found in the well of Mason Chase. The family had likewise told me the same thing.” (Joel Tiffany Interview, 1859)

    Martin said that Jo told him he had found the plates by way of his seer stone, not by way of an angel giving him directions:

    I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.(Joseph Smith, History, 1:50)

    Harris then stated that,

    “Joseph said the angel told him he must quit the company of the money-diggers. That there were wicked men among them. He must have no more to do with them. He must not lie, nor swear, nor steal. He told him to go and look in the spectacles, and he would show him the man that would assist him. That he did so, and he saw myself, Martin Harris, standing before him. That struck me with surprise. I told him I wished him to be very careful about these things. ‘Well,’ said he, ‘I saw you standing before me as plainly as I do now.’ I said, if it is the devil’s work I will have nothing to do with it; but if it is the Lord’s, you can have all the money necessary to bring it before the world. He said the angel told him, that the plates must be translated, printed and sent before the world. I said, Joseph, you know the doctrine, that cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm; and we know that the devil is to have great power in the latter days to deceive if possible the very elect; and I don’t know that you are one of the elect. Now you must not blame me for not taking your word. If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want. (ibid)

    So Harris did not come to Jo because he believed the visions, he came because Jo sent for him. Harris then recounts that he,

    retired to my bedroom and prayed God to show me concerning these things, and I covenanted that if it was his work and he would show me so, I would put forth my best ability to bring it before the world. He then showed me that It was his work, and that it was designed to bring in the fullness of his gospel to the gentiles to fulfill his word, that the first shall be last and the last first. He showed this to me by the still small voice spoken in the soul. Then I was satisfied that it was the Lord’s work, and I was under a covenant to bring it forth. (Joel Tiffany, Interview with Martin Harris, Tiffany’s Monthly, p.163-170)

    Martin does not claim that he had a vision. If Harris had already become “convinced of the visions” (as Jo recounts), then it seems rather strange that he would ask God to acknowledge if “it was his work”, and then pester Jo to have the characters verified by “the learned” (as every other contemporary account attests).In this account also, Martin does not even mention his errand to New York City, or that he had any kind of communication from God to do so. That was an invention by Jo, because Jo sought out Harris and Jo asked him go to New York with the “caractors”.

    Jo manipulated these events later to suit himself, and apparently did not tell what really happened. He did the same thing with his claimed 1820-21 vision (along with the story about Martin Harris having a vision, and Harris coming to Jo instead of Jo telling his mother to get Harris) in 1832.

    These accounts should not be taken lightly. They go to Joseph Smith’s credibility. He certainly had his mother to refer to, to get information from in 1839. He also had years of historical notes, and his 1832 History. Jo corrected his 1839 history and still left the name of the messenger as Nephi. There are just too many problems with Jo’s accounts. They don’t match up, and they contradict what others wrote about those very events and he kept changing them and adding to them. His mother also, never mentions that he had any kind of vision before the angel in 1823. She does mention that someone shot at him when he was around 14 years old. But there is nothing about a vision where God appeared to him. All that was added later to her account by Orson Pratt.

  41. fifth monarchy man says:

    Hey Alisha,

    First of all welcome. I’m so glad you are here.

    I hope you don’t find the number of posts that are directed toward you to be overwhelming and please remember that the internet is terrible at communicating intent since you can’t see folk’s facial expressions or hear their tone.

    I have a question for you if you don’t mind

    you said,

    Only a true prophet could have brought forth the BoM in addition to everything else Joseph did.

    I say.

    I often interact with Muslims and when I point out flaws in Mohammad’s character and actions they invariably will say something like.

    “Only a true prophet could have brought forth the Qur’an in addition to everything else Mohammad did.”

    How would you suggest I respond to a statement like that?

    Thanks in advance


  42. falcon says:

    WOW, this place has been busy since I went to bed!

    I think you may be suffering from that LDS malady which I call, “revised testimony syndrome”. It’s a little like “shaken faith syndrome” and occurs when a faithful Mormon must make some adjustments in their approach (to the LDS) narrative.
    I think if you were to ask all of the former Mormons who post here, they would tell you that they’ve all been down this road. It’s a slow erosion in confidence in the LDS leadership as the faithful member discovers more and more information that causes psychological/emotional disequilibrium.

    I hope you stick around here. You don’t have to answer every post directed to you.

  43. falcon says:

    Once a Mormon loses faith in the “prophet” it’s all over. That’s because there is no longer any reason to come up with rationalization to prop up the testimony. As long as someone believes in the prophet, there is no explanation to absurd to maintain the fantasy.
    Every former Mormon who posts here has done it and knows that feeling when the whole deal starts to slip away. Grant Palmer does a presentation on his “Ah Ha” moments in his journey of discovery. I’ll find it and post the link.
    There is a better way than putting one’s faith in Joseph Smith and the prophets who followed him. That better way is to come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How is that done? First of all a person has to recognize who it is Jesus is. Secondly is understanding that he alone can provide satisfaction for sins through the shed blood of His cross. Lastly is putting faith completely in Him for our salvation a part from any works we may think we can do in order to gain God’s favor.
    Jesus said that He was the Truth, the Way and the Life and that no one could get to the Father except through Him. Being sincere and devout in a belief system that doesn’t rise to the challenge of making people acceptable in the eyes of the Father, just won’t do.

  44. RikkiJ says:


    There’s a lot of stuff to read through about your post. Thanks for reading through the three links.

    I would also like to mention that these great men that lead the LDS church are human meaning that they can make mistakes. This doesn’t void the word of the lord that comes through them. The lord doesn’t work on our time table. We dont tell the lord how to fix mistakes or how much of the information on a topic he has to give us at any one time. But he will, in his own time and way, reveal to his servants the true prophets, truth. He will fix the unintentional mistakes of those he has called.

    But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

    If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

    (Deuteronomy 13:1-3,NASB)

    You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.

    (Isaiah 43:10,NASB)

    Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. D&C 132:20

    Can a true prophet really claim that anyone can become a God, when there is no God formed after God?

  45. Rick B says:

    The Bible clearly tells us over and over through out the entire Bible, Their are false prophets, and if people claim the Lord, God spoke to them and it does not come to pass as God said, they are a false prophet.

    We have LDS who claim to have prophets, But we have LDS off shoot groups that Utah LDS claim are not LDS, and these off shoot groups claim to have prophets of God. The Catholic church claim to have the pope, he acts as a prophet or mouth piece, JW and Muslims claim to have a prophet.

    Many people came along to claim to be prophets, Like Rev Sung young moon, and David Koresh and Harold camping and many others.

    So all these guys cannot be correct, out side of just bearing a testimony what evidence do you have that JS is a prophet. Now remember if you claim, here is my evidence, all these other people will claim it also, can you prove yours is correct and the others are wrong? What evidence do you use to claim they are wrong, all these others seem pretty sure your wrong and they are correct.

    See the biggest thing you need to remember, this is not a game, were not sitting here going, we won, you lost, Yay! It is a matter of eternal life and death, and not just eternal life and death, but a matter of if your believing false prophets and teaching what they say and leading people to eternal death, you will be punished and held accountable for that. So please as others have said, seriously look into these things. Rick

  46. MJP says:

    “Why would God preserve the great golden plates for thousands of years only to have them not even be used in the translation process? This makes absolutely no logical sense. And according to the method used, Joseph would read what appeared to him in the hat. If the scribe did not write down what joseph spoke, then the words would not disappear until correctly transcribed. If this is the case, how could there have been so many changes (doctrinal, not grammatical) in the BOM?”

    Isn’t some of the argument that has been provided by Mormon apologists that Smith was pretty close when he wrote “horse” and there were “horse-like creatures” here? However, since the words would not disappear until correctly transcribed, doesn’t this pose a problem? Wouldn’t God want an accurate translation?

  47. MJP says:

    “And what God does is not for us seek to destroy; that is Satsns [sic] job.”

    Yet, we are told to test the spirits, so who is saying seeking to destroy the spirits’s position by analyzing a church’s history is destroying what God created?

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