Category Archives: Sociology of Mormonism

Plural Marriage and Joseph Smith: A PR Nightmare in Mormonism

By Eric Johnson This article was originally was printed in the Christian Research Journal Vol. 38 No. 5. Publicly mention the religion of Mormonism and the first thought to come to mind is “polygamy” or, as it is also called, plural marriage. This common perception linking Mormonism with the practice of one man marrying two […]

7 ways Mormon leaders aren’t budging on traditional LDS doctrines

By Eric Johnson There are some Christians—including those possessing Ph.D.’s—who have come to the conclusion that Mormonism has moved ever so close to Christian orthodoxy in recent years. While some folks—including a few BYU professors and LDS apologists—appear seem to delight in allowing this impression to be made to the outside world, this isn’t what I am finding when […]

Should LDS Church art coincide with the facts?

For many years the LDS Church has used staff artists to provide illustrations for its church manuals and magazines. Book of Mormon and Bible stories are commonly depicted, as well as historical church events.  One favorite scene for LDS articles is Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon. For example, the front cover of the Feb. 2001 Ensign magazine shows Smith looking at the gold plates and translating them by running his finger over them. Is this really how the Book of Mormon was translated? 

Is This Bigotry? A Response to Latter-day Saints Who Say, "We Never Criticize Christian Churches"

When Dr. Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of the 10,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas referred to Mitt Romney’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a cult, he caused a firestorm among Mormons and those in the media. Sadly, even though Dr. Jeffress carefully explained that his comment was within the context of theology, he has been accused of bigotry, a typical accusation used by our culture when someone expresses disagreement. What has been virtually ignored in this controversy is how the LDS Church has historically viewed traditional Christianity. It is no secret that the LDS Church claims that it alone represents true Christianity and that God is only pleased with the church Joseph Smith started in 1830. LDS leaders have used words like, whoremaster, apostate, heathens, ignorant, fools, idolators, and blasphemous to describe professing Christians outside of the LDS faith. All things being equal, should they not also be considered bigots, and if so, when is the LDS Church going to apologize for these comments?

Mormonism, Officiality, and Plausible Deniability

By Aaron Shafovaloff

Perhaps the most honest and appropriate page on the entire lds.org domain is http://www.lds.org/official-doctrine. As of October 2, 2009, it reads, “The requested object does not exist on this server. The link you followed is either outdated, inaccurate, or the server has been instructed not to let you have it.”

Christians who attempt to engage in meaningful dialog with their Mormon friends are often frustrated by the way teachings and beliefs can be obfuscated and downplayed. When a question is posed by a Christian they are many times told that a particular teaching “is not official.” Behind this are the assumptions that that the religion of Mormonism is immune to any fatal criticism if it involves anything outside the scope of officiality, and that evangelical engagement should be limited to that which is binding upon Mormon members.

Searching for Answers or Seeking Confirmation?

LDS Professor Robert L. Millet was asked to explain the main reason for the remarkable growth of the LDS Church. He replied, “The Church offers answers to some of life’s oldest questions: Where do I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going after death?” (Source)

These three questions have traditionally held a prominent place in Mormon conversions. A proselytizing pamphlet published by the LDS Church in 1996, The Search for Happiness, suggests these are the questions people ask themselves when trying to find meaning in life. The same sentiment is expressed on Mormon.org, an official LDS Church web site for those investigating the Mormon faith. According to one Latter-day Saint author, the fact that the LDS Church has the answers is evidence that it is the one true church. (Michael T. Griffith, “Twelve Signs That the LDS Church is the True Church“) Many say it was a personal quest for these answers that led them into Mormonism.