TO THOSE WHO ARE INVESTIGATING "MORMONISM"

By RICHARD PACKHAM

Revisions as of July 23, 2012

If you are investigating Mormonism (the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" or "LDS Church"), you are probably studying it in private meetings in your home with missionaries from that church. Here are some of the key things that they are probably telling you:

WHAT THE MISSIONARIES WILL NOT TELL YOU

Until recently, the missionaries were required to present Mormonism in six "discussions", which were a series of memorized sales talks. They are now encouraged simply to "follow the spirit" in their presentations. The basic message and approach, however, is still essentially the same. A thorough, thoughtful and balanced discussion of each of the six "official" lessons as the missionaries formerly presented them to investigators is at http://www.lds4u.com (archived), together with the techniques and strategies which the missionaries are instructed to use. (The actual texts of the discussions were also on this site at one time, but the Mormon church threatened the webmaster with a lawsuit, and he removed them; click on "next" at each window to read a summary and commentary.)

Here is a summary of important facts about the Mormon church, its doctrine, and its history that the missionaries will probably not tell you. We are not suggesting that they are intentionally deceiving you --most of the young Mormons serving missions for the church are not well educated in the history of the church or in modern critical studies of the church. They probably do not know all the facts themselves. They have been trained, however, to give investigators "milk before meat," that is, to postpone revealing anything at all that might make an investigator hesitant, even if it is true. But you should be aware of these facts before you commit yourself.

Each of the following facts has been substantiated by thorough historical scholarship. And this list is by no means exhaustive!    For links to articles substantiating each of these points, CLICK on the word NOTES    following the item.

YOUR LIFE AS A MORMON

If you should decide to become a member of the LDS church, you should be aware of what your life in the church will be like. Although you will find yourself warmly accepted by a lively community of healthy, active and generally supportive people, many of whom are very happy in Mormonism and could not imagine their lives without it, there is another side:

Consider very carefully before you commit yourself, and remember that any doubts you may have now will likely only increase.

Examine carefully both sides of the Mormon story. Listen to the stories of those who have been through an unhappy Mormon experience, not just those Mormons who may speak glowingly of life in the church.   NOTES

The Mormon missionaries are often charming and enthusiastic. They have an attractive story to tell. At first it sounds wonderful. But remember the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!" Be careful not to fall into the trap of believing something simply because you want it to be true. Mormons may tell you that those who criticize the church are lying, misquoting and distorting. If you examine the sources used by the critics, however, you will discover that most of their source material is from official or semi-official Mormon writings. You, too, should examine those sources.

Is Mormonism a "cult"? Many experts on religious cults see in Mormonism the same fundamental characteristics as cults which have entrapped the unsuspecting, even though most people think of "cults" only as small, unknown groups. Use a "cult checklist" to evaluate Mormonism, or any group, before you commit yourself.    NOTES

To get more information about the other side of Mormonism, or to see the evidence supporting any of our statements about the church, feel free to contact us. Our only aim is to make sure that you hear both sides. We promise not to preach at you, but only to provide you with facts to balance the Mormon story. Click here for the names and e-mail addresses of people to contact. Click here to read personal stories of people who have left Mormonism.

For short video interviews with former Mormons (updated usually every week) see "I Am An Exmormon".

For statements by many well-educated people who have left the church, see "Ex-Mormon Scholars Testify".


NOTES AND LINKS TO MORE FACTS

  DISCLAIMER: Some of the links and references listed here, in addition to containing valuable material about Mormonism, also contain Christian proselytizing material. Their inclusion here is not intended as an endorsement of any religion or religious organization.

GENERAL REFERENCES

INTERNET SITES AND LISTS OF LINKS
http://www.exmormon.org/goodsite.htm Links to other sites.
http://www.mormonismi.info/jamesdavid/table.htm An alphabetical list, by topic, of Mormon-related links; many articles. Originally by James David.
http://www.lds-mormon.com Articles and links; one of the oldest and most extensive Internet sites on Mormonism.
http://www.josephlied.com Mike Norton's excellent analysis of Mormon problems (archived).
http://utlm.org/ Many articles by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, especially from their newsletter The Salt Lake City Messenger. Also several complete books are online here, including their complete book The Changing World of Mormonism.
http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/mormon.shtml Text of many early Mormon publications, including the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon and the original Book of Commandments. Curt Van Den Heuvel's site.
http://www.irr.org/mit "Mormons In Transition," sponsored by the Insitute for Religious Research, with many articles; Christian orientation; an on-line newsgroup, (MIT-Talk) with evangelical basis
http://www.mrm.org The "Mormon Research Ministry," an evangelical Christian group headed by Bill McKeever; many good articles on Mormonism
http://www.bcmmin.org/ The "Berean Christian Ministry," headed by John Farkas; many articles, a useful chronology of church history, and a long refutation of a Mormon scholar's attempt to discredit critics of the church.
http://www.realmormonhistory.com A collection of historical quotations from Mormon leaders themselves which cast doubt on Mormonism.
http://www.i4m.com/think/ "Rethinking Mormonism" - an excellent site by former Mormon "Deconstructor"
http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html "20 Truths About Mormonism" by Jim Day, Ph. D.
http://www.TheShelf.com Convenient side-by-side listing of internet articles on both sides of controversial Mormon issues - by Cora Judd (archived)
http://www.mormoninformation.com Site maintained by "Dr. Shades"
http://zarahemlacitylimits.com/ "Zarahemla City Limits" - many articles and a discussion board
http://mormoncurtain.com/ "Blogging the Exmormon World" - maintained by Michael Hoenie
http://www.exmormon.org.uk/tol_arch/ "The church is true" "The church is not true" - Chris Tolworthy's site (formerly whyprophets.com); originally a very pro-Mormon site; Tolworthy - now no longer Mormon - presents the arguments of both sides (archive).
Mormonism Disproved   Christopher Miller's website
Mormonism - Pro and Con   Online version of Ed Bliss' book (.PDF format)
http://www.helmsmansociety.com/Issues/2005/mormon052605.htm The Helmsman Society's summary of Mormonism
http://mormonthink.com/scienceweb.htm "[Mormonism's] Conflicts With Science"
Bob McCue's website McCue is a lawyer and former Mormon bishop.
Ex-Mormon Scholars Testify Statements by professional people who have left the Mormon church

WIKIPEDIA CAUTION!   Be careful with articles on Mormon topics at the popular online reference site Wikipedia! Since all articles there are subject to editing by all comers, Mormon apologists regularly edit them to remove any information that criticizes the church.

For a very complete list of other websites critical of Mormonism, see Google's ranked listing HERE.

BOOKS

Listed here are only a few "must read" books. There are hundreds of others. If your local library does not own them, your librarian can obtain them for you on interlibrary loan, usually for a very small fee. Most books listed are linked to on-line reviews or order information.

No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith by Fawn M. Brodie, 2nd ed., Knopf, New York, 1993. The most authoritative biography of Joseph Smith. Brodie is a well recognized historian.

Mormon America: The Power And the Promise. by Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, Harper, San Francisco, 1999, ISBN 0-06-066372-3. A well-balanced and reliable overview of Mormonism's past and present.

Mormonism: Shadow or Reality by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, 5th edition, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1987, Salt Lake City. The Tanners have done extensive research on early Mormon history and made many rare publications available by publishing photocopies of them at a low price. This book is a good summary of the contradictions and problems of Mormonism. Available from Utah Lighthouse Ministry, where a catalog of their publications is available. Also published in a slightly smaller version as The Changing World of Mormonism, Moody Press, Chicago, 1981 (now online).

The Keystone of Mormonism" by Arza Evans, 2003 - excellent summary of many problems with Mormonism, by a former Mormon.

Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record by H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1994. A detailed examination by historians of Mormonism's origins.

Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon (Second edition) by David Persuitte, McFarland & Co., 2000

Farewell to Eden: Coming to Terms With Mormonism and Science by Duwayne R. Anderson, Authorhouse, 2003 - a scientist and former Mormon examines Mormonism's scientific claims

Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church by Simon G. Southerton (DNA scientist, former Mormon bishop), Signature Books, 2004

An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer (Mormon, retired instructor in the church's educational system); a frank disclosure of many aspects of early Mormon history.

The Pattern of the Double Bind in Mormonism by Marion Stricker; the psychological bondage of Mormonism and how to recognize and escape it.

Mormonism Pro and Con by Ed Bliss (individual chapters are online here: http://www.mormonism-proandcon.org/

For Any Latter-day Saint: One Investigator's Unanswered Questions by Sharon I. Banister, Star Bible Publications, Fort Worth, 1988.   Over 600 problematical questions about Mormon history and doctrine, very clearly presented, with many photographic reproductions of the relevant Mormon books and diaries. (See my review here.) (As of May 2007 this book is out of print; click here for availability of used copies)

The Mormon Delusion, by Jim Whitefield; 5 volumes

An American Fraud: One Lawyer's Case Against Mormonism, by Kay Burningham (ex-Mormon attorney)



REFERENCES TO SPECIFIC TOPICS

THE "FIRST VISION"
http://www.irr.org/MIT/first-vision/fvision-accounts.html The official version, and why it is a fiction
http://www.i4m.com/think/intro/must_believe_vision.htm The church insists that belief in the validity of the "First Vision" is the basis of Mormonism
http://www.irr.org/mit/first-vision/fvision-accounts.html All of the early (and contradictory) accounts, from Mormon sources
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#First Vision
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/first-vision.html
http://www.bcmmin.org/firstv.html and
http://www.bcmmin.org/firstv2.html
http://www.irr.org/mit/inventing-mormonism-br.html (a review of the book Inventing Mormonism)

THE 1820 REVIVAL
The question of whether there was a revival in 1820 matching Smith's story has been hotly debated by Mormon and non-Mormon scholars. See the exchange between Richard L. Bushman (Mormon) and Wesley P. Walters (non-Mormon) in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Spring 1969) 4:1:58ff. A summary of the opposing points of view (by a Mormon scholar) is Marvin Hill, "The First Vision: A Critique and Reconciliation," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, (Summer 1982) 15:31-46.
http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaims1.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/index.htm (Michael Marquardt's site)
The following three links are about Marquardt's book Inventing Mormonism, a scholarly investigation into Mormonism's early years:
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/contents.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/summary.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/reviews.htm

JOSEPH SMITH AND THE METHODISTS
For Smith's connection with the Methodists, see Inventing Mormonism, pp 54-55, citing Turner, History of Phelp's and Gorham's Purchase, p. 214, which relates that Smith was an informal "exhorter" at Methodist camp meetings before 1822; Pomeroy Tucker, The Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism (NY 1867), p 18: Smith joined the "probationary class" of the Methodist church; there was no Methodist church in Palmyra until July 1821 (Inventing Mormonism, p 60 n 41);
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#Methodist Church

JOSEPH SMITH AND "MONEYDIGGING"
http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no68.htm The report of Smith's 1826 arrest and court appearance for being a "glass-looker"
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/necromantic.html
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#Money-Digging and Magic


BOOK OF MORMON "WITNESSES"
http://www.irr.org/mit/bom-wit-pt1.html
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/testimonyof3.htm
http://www.exmormon.org/file9.htm
http://www.irr.org/mit/address-ch1.html The book by David Whitmer, An Address To All Believers in Christ, testifying that God revealed to him that Joseph Smith is a fallen prophet.
(Also at http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/address1.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/docum4.htm (Martin Harris interview in Tiffany's magazine)
http://www.carm.org/lds/unveiled2.htm Affidavits of Lucy Harris and Abigail Harris about Martin Harris
http://utlm.org/onlineresources/anthon.htm (Martin Harris' visit to Professor Anthon with a copy of characters from the gold plates)
http://www.mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm More on the witnesses, including pro-Mormon arguments

METHOD OF TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
http://www.irr.org/mit/address1.html (David Whitmer's Address To All Believers in Christ; see p. 12, 30)
http://utlm.org/topicalindexa.htm#Black hole The significance of the 116 pages of lost manuscript for testing the authenticity of the book
http://www.mormonthink.com/lost116web.htm More on the 116 lost pages
Martin Harris, Millennial Star 6 Feb 1882, cited in Robert N. Hullinger, Joseph Smith's response to Skepticism, p 9-14, Salt Lake City 1992, said that the plates were not needed, also quoted by John Clark, Gleanings By the Way, 1842, p 228, cited in Hullinger p 11, n 23.
http://www.mormonthink.com/transbomweb.htm More on the method of translation, with specific responses to Mormon arguments
For an official Mormon admission about Smith's use of the "seer stone" in his hat, see "Speaking Today: A Treasured Testament," by Elder Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, July 1993 Volume 23 Number 7 page 61

BOOK OF MORMON ARCHAEOLOGY
http://www.irr.org/mit/bom-arch-v1.html
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/bomproblems.htm
http://utlm.org/topicalindexa.htm#Archeology
http://www.bcmmin.org/bomarch.html
http://www.lds-mormon.com/bomquest.shtml
http://www.mormonthink.com/bomweb.htm Good summary of problems, with specific responses to Mormon arguments
http://www.createdwright.com/BOM/survey.htm "Alleged Book of Mormon Lands Survey" - Daniel M. Wright's survey sent to more than 85 professional (non-Mormon) archaeologists that do work in meso-America, requesting their views of Mormon claims. Results were never published, but, if you email him, he will explain the results he received.
http://mormonscripturestudies.com/bomor/twm/lamgen.asp Recent study by DNA expert Tom Murphy, for which he was threatened with excommunication from the Mormon church, showing that the American Indians are not Semitic
Losing a Lost Tribe by Simon Southerton, former Mormon bishop and professional DNA expert; excellent book explaining the science and how it disproves the Book of Mormon
"Answers to Apologetic Claims about DNA and the Book of Mormon" by Simon Southerton
http://www.lhvm.org/dna.htm More on DNA studies, including a video about DNA's relationship to the Book of Mormon's claims
Who Are The Lamanites?, a four-part article by Kevin Mathie examining the pro and con arguments
http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/zindler1.htm "How Do You Lose a Steel Mill" by Frank R. Zindler

JEWISH LAW AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
Salt Lake City Messenger, Issue #74, February 1990, available from
Utah Lighthouse Ministry
http://lds-mormon.com/feast.shtml "Feasts in the Book of Mormon"

BOOK OF MORMON CHANGES; OTHER CHANGES
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/bomchanges.htm
http://www.bcmmin.org/bmchg.html
http://utlm.org/topicalindexa.htm#Changes Changes made in revelations after their first publication, to reflect Smith's changes in doctrine.
The original texts of the Book of Mormon 1830 edition and the 1833 Book of Commandments (predecessor to the Doctrine and Covenants can be found at http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/

PRESENT MORMON DOCTRINE CONTRARY TO BOOK OF MORMON
http://packham.n4m.org/bomvslds.htm A concise listing, with references
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/test.html
http://www.bcmmin.org/bmchg.html
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/birth.html On the Virgin Birth, how Jesus was conceived.
http://www.irr.org/mit/CHANGOD.html The changing concept of God.
http://www.bcmmin.org/bcm2.html Changing doctrines of Mormonism.

THE 1825 BOOK View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith
http://www.irr.org/mit/view-of-the-hebrews-intro.html (text of View)
http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/voh/voh.shtml (text of View)
http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/bom/written.shtml Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon?
http://www.lds-mormon.com/voh.shtml Parallels between View and the Book of Mormon.
http://www.irr.org/MIT/studies-bom-br.html B. H. Roberts' conclusions.

FAILURES OF GOD-INSPIRED PROJECTS
Failure of the Kirtland Bank:
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#Kirtland Bank
Gathering of Zion:
http://packham.n4m.org/prophet.htm
Polygamy - see notes at: #POLYGAMY
Deseret Alphabet:
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/deseret.htm
http://packham.n4m.org/byoung.htm#PROPHECIES

THE HOFMANN MURDER SCANDAL
The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit, and Death by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, New York, 1988. The role of the Mormon church leadership in this scandal is carefully documented here.
A Gathering of Saints: A True Story of Money, Murder and Deceit by Robert Lindsey, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988. Another book on the Hofmann scandal.
Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders by Linda Sillitoe and Allen Roberts, 2nd edition, Signature Books, Salt Lake City.
http://utlm.org/topicalindexb.htm#Hofmann, Mark
"Masterminds: The Anthon Forgeries"   Excellent video on the Hofmann forgeries.

THE MORMON TEMPLE CEREMONY (THE "ENDOWMENT")
http://packham.n4m.org/temples.htm: "Mormon Temples and Temple Rituals" - a detailed overview of this most secret part of Mormonism.
The next five links contain the actual text of the ceremony in the various forms it has had since the early days of the church.
1931 Version: http://packham.n4m.org/endow31.htm
1984 Version: http://packham.n4m.org/endow84.htm
1990 Version: http://packham.n4m.org/endow90.htm
2005 changes: http://packham.n4m.org/endow05.htm
(See also http://i4m.com/think/temples/temple_ordinance.htm for a discussion of the significance of the 2005 changes)
http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/endowment.shtml
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#Temple Ceremony
http://i4m.com/think/temples/ Several articles on temples
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/garments.html A description of the sacred undergarment which Mormons are required to wear after receiving the endowment.
http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/undrwrmo.htm More on "garments"
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/temple-ceremony.html
http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/mormcr1.htm
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/templechanges.htm
http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/recommend.shtml The questions that are asked in the "worthiness interview" to determine whether a member is worthy to receive admission to the temple.

MASONIC INFLUENCE ON MORMONISM
http://www.masonicmoroni.com Paul Graham's comprehensive site, with many links from all points of view
http://www.irr.org/mit/masonry.html
http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech4.htm#Joseph Smith's Magic Talisman Joseph Smith's magical talisman
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/nohelp.html
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/masonic-influence.html

THE "ADAM = GOD" DOCTRINE
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/theory.html
http://www.bcmmin.org/adamgod.html
http://www.bcmmin.org/evolut4.html The changes in the Mormon doctrine about God.
http://jod.mrm.org/1/46#50 (Text of Brigham Young's 1852 sermon)
http://packham.n4m.org/byoung.htm#ADAMGOD More statements by Brigham Young
A good discussion, with photocopy of Bruce R. McConkie's private admission that Brigham Young did teach the doctrine, is in Tanner, LDS Apostle Confesses Brigham Young Taught Adam-God Doctrine, available from Utah Lighthouse Ministry.   Similar material is in Banister's book For Any Latter- Day Saint
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/mcconkies-letter.html The text of McConkie's letter admitting that Brigham Young did teach that Adam was God
See also: Adam is God??? by Chris A. Vlachos, pamphlet available from Utah Lighthouse Ministry

POLYGAMY ("CELESTIAL MARRIAGE")
http://www.irr.org/mit/mormon-enigma-br.html A review of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by Linda King Newell and Valene Tippett Avery, University of Illinois Press, 1994; a biography of Joseph Smith's first wife, relating the development of Smith's ideas on polygamy and her opposition to it.
In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton, Signature Books
http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/home Biographies of all of Joseph Smith's wives
http://utlm.org/topicalindexb.htm#Polygamy
http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/polyg.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/clndest2.htm An early and generally unknown revelation about polygamy
Mormon Polygamy: A History by Richard S. Van Wagoner, Signature Books, Salt Lake City. An excellent history of its theory and practice, reviewed at http://www.lds-mormon.com/polygamy.shtml.
The Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy Sources on Its Origin, Thought, and Practice by B. Carmon Hardy, 2007
http://www.i4m.com/think/history/joseph_smith_sex.htm "Did Joseph Smith have sex with his [polygamous] wives?"
http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/essays/mormonpolygamy.htm Comprehensive essay on polygamy
http://www.polygamy.org Home page of Tapestry of Polygamy, a group of formerly polygamous women who are exposing its evils as practiced by some Mormon groups today.
http://mormonthink.com/polyweb.htm - responses to Mormon arguments and claims
http://www.i4m.com/think/polygamy/utah_census.htm "U. S. Census numbers and Mormon Polygamy"   Refutation of the claim that polygamy was practiced because of a shortage of men in early Utah
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/video/lifting-veil-polygamy Video documentary on Mormon polygamy

THE "CURSE OF CAIN": THE CHANGING DOCTRINE ON SKIN COLOR
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/africanamerican.htm
http://utlm.org/topicalindexa.htm#Blacks
http://www.exmormon.org/blacks1.htm
http://www.lds-mormon.com/racism.shtml
http://packham.n4m.org/byoung.htm#NEGRO Brigham Young's Doctrines on the Black race
http://www.mormonthink.com/blackweb.htm Summary of pro and con views
http://www.religioustolerance.org/lds_race.htm History of racism in Mormonism from the "Religious Tolerance" organization
http://jhuston.com/Documents/1978.htm   Background information on the 1978 "revelation"

THE DOCTRINE OF "BLOOD ATONEMENT" AND THE DANITES ("AVENGING ANGELS")
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/bloodatonement.htm
http://utlm.org/topicalindexa.htm#Blood Atonement
http://www.exmormon.org/bloodatn.htm
http://www.exmormon.org/violence.htm
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/murder.html
http://www.irr.org/mit/wdist/blood-atonement.html
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/blood-atonement.html Mormons often deny that the doctrine was taught, but they still believe it.
"Blood Atonement" a short video on the origin and present practice

The role of violence in Mormonism is the subject of Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer, Doubleday, 2003; this book was on the best-seller lists for a number of weeks.
The authoritative work on the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
Brooks is now supplemented by new evidence in Will Bagley, The Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2002.
See also Sally Denton's book American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, Knopf 2003.
J. F. Gibbs's complete book Mountain Meadows Massacre is online at http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/meadowscontents.htm
Film treatments of the Mountain Meadows Massacre:
"Burying the Past" (documentary): http://www.buryingthepast.com
"September Dawn" (fictionalized, but based on fact): http://www.septemberdawn.net

THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS
http://www.2think.org/hundredsheep/boc/boc_main.shtml The complete text of the Book of Commandments, showing the revisions made to them in the Doctrine and Covenants

RESTORATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
"Priesthood Restored or Retrofit?" by Lane Thuet

THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
http://www.irr.org/mit/bhoh-br.html The complete book By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus by Charles M. Larson
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/abraham.html
http://utlm.org/topicalindexb.htm#Book of Abraham
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/abraham.htm
http://www.xmission.com/~research/about/alphabet.htm The text of Smith's so-called Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar
http://www.bookofabraham.com Comprehensive site, with message board, about the Book of Abraham
An hour-long video about the Book of Abraham: "The Lost Book of Abraham" at http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/video/lost-book-abraham

THE "INSPIRED REVISION" OF THE BIBLE
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (RLDS, now renamed
"Community of Christ") has long used the version by Smith.
http://utlm.org/topicalindexc.htm#Inspired Revision of the Bible

THE KINDERHOOK PLATES
http://utlm.org/topicalindexb.htm#Kinderhook Plates
http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/kindrhk/kindrhk.htm
http://www.mormonthink.com/kinderhookweb.htm Good summary of both pro and con views

JOSEPH SMITH'S PROPHECIES
http://packham.n4m.org/prophet.htm A listing of many of Smith's unfulfilled prophecies
http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/falseprophetjs.htm
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/civilwar.html Joseph Smith's famous prophecy of the Civil War
http://www.lds-mormon.com/civilwar.shtml Another article on the Civil War prophecy
http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech13.htm#Rocky Mountain Prophecy Joseph Smith's prophecy about the Mormon move to the Rocky Mountains
http://www.mormonthink.com/prophetsweb.htm Lack of prophecy in the modern church

For some of Brigham Young's failed prophecies, see:
http://packham.n4m.org/byoung.htm#PROPHECIES

JOSEPH SMITH'S DEATH
http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm The text of the Nauvoo Expositor, the opposition paper which Smith destroyed, thus leading to his imprisonment and death. It contains all the true accusations which Smith wanted suppressed
http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech17.htm#Destruction of Expositor The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor

For a detailed discussion of Smith's political ambitions, his title "king" and his secret government, see the book by D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: [Volume 1] The Origins of Power, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1994. (Quinn was excommunicated from the Mormon church for his historical researches, but remains a believer)

MORMON FALSIFICATION OF MORMON HISTORY
http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/mormhist.htm D. Michael Quinn's Talk "On Being A Mormon Historian" in which he urges the church authorities to be more open in telling the entire history of the church, without coloring it. Rather than follow his advice, the church excommunicated him.
http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no88.htm An evaluation of the propaganda film Legacy, produced by the church.
http://www.bcmmin.org/persecutor.html An evaluation of the church's claim that it was persecuted.
http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no78.htm The uncovering of the lies told by a high-ranking Mormon official
http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=5472 A speech by Boyd K. Packer, a high-ranking church official, on how the church justifies its distortion of its history.
http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no85.htm The recent purge of Mormon historians who told too much
http://www.exmormon.org/lying.htm A discussion of speech by Dallin Oaks, a high-ranking church official, on the need for withholding the whole truth.
http://www.exmormon.org/apology.htm
http://www.lds-mormon.com/lying.shtml
http://packham.n4m.org/gbh-god.htm The late "prophet" Gordon B. Hinckley lies about church doctrine in two interviews for the news media.
http://packham.n4m.org/lying.htm More examples of Mormon lying.

A good example of the church's distortion of history is its long cover-up of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

PRAYING FOR TRUTH
"Testimony and Spiritual Witness" - discussion about the reliability of spiritual witness
http://packham.n4m.org/prayer.htm - prayer is not for obtaining information
http://packham.n4m.org/satan.htm - how Satan can deceive

UNUSUAL DOCTRINES
  -   God was once a man like us:
http://packham.n4m.org/gbh-god.htm
  -   God has a tangible body of flesh and bone: D&C 130:22
  -   God lives on a planet near the star Kolob: Book of Abraham 3:3-16
  -   God has at least one wife, our "Mother in Heaven": Joseph Fielding Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, p 348-355: "All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother..." (More citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 7)
  -   Jesus was married: This idea is consistent with the Mormon doctrine that marriage is required for godhood; see citations from early church leaders at Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 9. The church denies that this is a doctrine of the church here.
  -   We can become like God and rule over our own universe. http://packham.n4m.org/gbh-god.htm
  -   There are many gods, ruling over their own worlds: Citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 7
  -   Jesus and Satan ("Lucifer") are brothers: D&C 76:25, Moses 4:1-4
  -   Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father by having sex with Mary: Citations in The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 7
  -   We should not try to feel a personal relationship with Jesus: "Our Relationship With The Lord" by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie
  -   "The Lord" ("Jehovah") in the Old Testament is the same being named Jesus in the New Testament, but not the same as "God the Father": D&C 110:2-4; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, article "Jehovah"; 1 Nephi 19:10
  -   In the the highest degree of the celestial kingdom some men will have more than one wife: D&C 132:63
  -   "Pre-existence": See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, ch 4, esp pp 60-61
  -   Dark skin is a curse from God: 1 Nephi 12:23, 2 Nephi 5:21, Alma 3:6, Jacob 3:8, 3 Nephi 2:15, Morm 5:15.
  -   The Garden of Eden was in Missouri: D&C 116:1; see also D&C 107:53.
  -   Animal resurrection: http://packham.n4m.org/animals.htm
  -   Rainbow: http://packham.n4m.org/prophet.htm
  -   Satan rules water: D&C 61
  -   Sun's light is from Kolob: Book of Abraham Facsimile # 2, Explanation of Fig 5
  -   Gentile blood is replaced: History of the Church 3:380, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 150
  -   Seeing face of God: D&C 97:16; see also 93:1 and 88:68
  -   False angel hair color: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 214; handshake: D&C 129:1-9

PROHIBITION ON COFFEE, ETC. (THE "WORD OF WISDOM")
The text of the Word of Wisdom is in the Doctrine and Covenants
Section 89
http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech18.htm Problems and inconsistencies with this revelation.
http://utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaims8.htm#The Word of Wisdom

TITHING, CHURCH WEALTH
http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/tithing.html
http://www.mormonismi.info/jamesdavid/tithing.htm
On the wealth of the church, see: Anson Shupe, Wealth and Power in American Zion, Lewiston NY 1992, or John Heinerman and Anson Shupe, The Mormon Corporate Empire, Beacon, 1988.

OBEDIENCE: "FOLLOW THE BRETHREN"
http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/cannon.htm Excerpts from Under The Prophet In Utah by Senator Frank J. Cannon, showing how the church leaders exert power over members.
http://www.i4m.com/think/leaders/mormon_loyalty.htm Many statements by church leaders emphasizing loyalty to the church
http://www.zionsbest.com/fourteen.html A speech by Ezra Taft Benson, a recent prophet and president, instructing members to obey the prophet without questioning and without checking his advice against scripture.
http://www.lds-mormon.com/mothink.shtml
http://www.lds-mormon.com/thinking.shtml A critical article on the church's mind control.
http://www.lds-mormon.com/sepsix.shtml More on the mass excommunications of intellectuals and historians who questioned church authority.
http://www.zionsbest.com/heresies.html Bruce R. McConkie on the heresy of evolution.

HOMOSEXUALS, MASTURBATION
http://www.affirmation.org The website of Affirmation, an organization for Mormons with homosexual leanings. Much information about the church's stance on sex.
http://www.affirmation.org/learning/steps_in_overcoming_masturbation.shtml A talk by Mormon apostle Mark E. Petersen, on how to prevent masturbation.
http://www.affirmation.org/learning/we_see_what_we_believe.asp A critical article by Jeffery R. Jensen, M.D., on the harm done by the church with its stance on homosexuality.
http://www.affirmation.org/learning/homosexuality_a_psychiatrists_response.asp Another article by Dr. Jensen, criticizing the church's department of social services
http://www.zionsbest.com/only.html A speech by Boyd K. Packer on the evils of masturbation in young men, and how to prevent it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilZt88Kt50k Video interviews with young Mormon homosexuals about their treatment
http://www.affirmation.org/learning/in_gods_name.shtml "In God's Name" by Terry Hiscox - a survey of Christian and Mormon treatment of homosexuals

POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Books by two exmormon women describing their difficulties with the church's treatment of women:
Deborah Laake,
Secret Ceremonies, Dell, 1993
Sonia Johnson, From Housewife to Heretic, Doubleday, 1981. Johnson was excommunicated for her activism in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment.
http://www.exmormon.org/mormwomn.htm A woman's viewpoint.
http://www.lds-mormon.com/lying.shtml How the church misrepresents its stance on the role of women.
"Mormon Women, Prozac, and Therapy" by Kent Ponder Ph.D. explores the causes for so many Mormon women being on anti-depressant medications.
http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson/ "The Psychological Effects of Mormonism" by Blair Watson

PERSONAL STORIES BY FORMER MORMONS
http://www.exmormon.org/ has the personal stories of over six hundred people who left the church and their many different reasons for doing so.
For briefer comments from former Mormons, see http://packham.n4m.org/voices1.htm
See also these longer accounts:
Mary Ann Benson (granddaughter-in-law of Ezra Taft Benson, president of the church): http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon146.htm
Steve Benson (grandson of Benson, Mary Ann's husband): http://www.lds-mormon.com/benson2.shtml and also http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon418.htm
Transcript notes of the Bensons' interview with two Mormon apostles
Ken Clark (former teacher in the Church Educational System): http://www.exmormon.org/whylft149.htm

For longer (booklength) accounts, see:
Suddenly Strangers: Surrendering Gods and Heroes by the Morin brothers.(http://suddenlystrangers.com - click on "Excerpts")
James R. Spencer,Beyond Mormonism: An Elder's Story; Spencer converted to Mormonism and left it to become a Christian minister
Martha Beck (daughter of Mormon apologist Hugh Nibley), Leaving the Saints, Crown, 2005
John Williams, Heaven Up Here, lulu.com, 2011, a very frank autobiographical account of the author's missionary experiences in Bolivia.

IS MORMONISM A CULT?
The following links are to checklists and other guidelines, to help you to evaluate whether any group (not just Mormonism) is a "cult."
FAQ: "Is Mormonism a cult?" - Mormonism examined, using a 'cult' checklist
http://www.csj.org/infoserv_cult101/checklis.htm
http://www.csj.org/infoserv_cult101/cult101.htm
http://www.freedomofmind.com/ The home page of Steve Hassan, an authority on cults and brainwashing.
"[Hassan's] BITE Model Applied Toward Mormonism"
http://www.caic.org.au Jan Groenveld's Cult Awareness Centre
http://www.factnet.org FACTnet, resources on psychological coercion and mind control
http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html Isaac Bonewits' cult checklist, with 18 items and worksheet.
A 12-minute video on cults in general: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnNSe5XYp6E
http://members.shaw.ca/blair_watson/ "The Psychological Effects of Mormonism" by Blair Watson

Comments?   Questions?  (Please, no preaching, testimonies, or hate mail!)   To send a comment or ask a question, click here. Please let me know if you find that any links are out-dated, or if you can suggest additional links.   Thanks!


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©  1998, 2002, 2005, 2007 Richard Packham    Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included

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