By Eric Johnson
Back in the mid-1990s when the Internet had just been invented (thanks Mr. Gore!), the website for mrm.org was created by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson as a resource for those who wanted to research the religion of the Latter-day Saints. Today www.mrm.org has hundreds of articles, blogs, links to YouTube videos, and podcasts to Viewpoint on Mormonism. Each month we add several new articles (click here) as we attempt to stay on the cutting edge of Christian apologetics. These articles have been beneficial by helping folks either leave Mormonism or keeping them out from joining the Mormon Church.
Here are the top 25 popular pages (in descending order) based on the number of hits from July through September 2016, with a short description of each article following the link. (The number in parentheses is how many hits that page got in the three-month evaluation.)
25. Quick Responses to the 10 Most Common LDS Questions (586). This article was written by me several decades ago to provide possible responses to the most common questions/statements we hear from Latter-day Saints. Not much has changed over the years, as these are the same questions we continue to be asked today. The responses in the article are still valid as well.
24. List of MRM’s videos (614). Found under “Media” on our main page is a list of different YouTube videos, including many produced by MRM. Not all are on Mormonism; for instance, I have videoed archaeologist Joel Kramer on two different trips (2013 and 2015) and turned those into two different series with several dozen episodes. Also on this page are full-length videos on Mormonism, lectures by Bill McKeever, and television shows where Bill and I have been interviewed. There are more than 100 video possibilities on these pages that deal with a wide variety of topics.
23. God the Father according to Mormonism (654). An article that, in just a few paragraphs, explains the nature of God the Father according to Mormonism and how this differs from the biblical position. If a person’s idea of God is different from what Christianity teaches, then there will be a domino effect and other vital teachings will naturally follow into error.
22. Redefining the Virgin Birth: Mormonism on the Natural Conception of Jesus (675). Bill McKeever and Aaron Shafovaloff coauthored this piece on how the Virgin Birth of Mormonism bears no resemblance to this important Christian teaching. In addition, the 7-part Viewpoint on Mormonism series originally recorded in 2011 (and repeated every December) is linked here. When studied, this teaching is one of the most deplorable blasphemies propounded by the Mormon Church.
21. Was Jesus Married (692). Leaders from the 19th century insisted that Jesus was married, something that Dan Brown said was true in his book The Da Vinci Code. This argument is answered, along with a three-part Viewpoint on Mormonism series.
20. Downloadable Tracts (731). These printable tracts can be used by any Christian to publicly share the Christian faith with a Latter-day Saint. Included on this page are reference sheets to be used with unique LDS Standard Works as well as “4-step” tracts that turn an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper into quarters.
19. Did the Eleven Witnesses Actually See the Gold Plates (758). In this article written by Bill McKeever (in my opinion, the world’s foremost expert on the Book of Mormon plates and the weight of the plates) tackles the often-cited-yet-mistaken notion that the Book of Mormon witnesses actually experience the gold plates in an empirical way. Did the witnesses actually see these plates with their eyes? Or was it a vision? At the bottom of the article are links to a week’s worth of Viewpoint on Mormonism podcasts (originally airing December 2011) that goes into even greater detail on this topic. The fact of the matter is that these witnesses had to do what millions of Mormons today have to do: possess a blind faith that these plates even existed.
18. Michael J. Barrett– Excommunicated for Publicly Confirming LDS Teaching (771). This is one of a number of testimonies we have posted on our site. As with several other articles, we think that perhaps this particular testimony is linked by another website. We have several dozen other testimonies–including those on video and podcast--that are available. Hearing the stories of others can be very encouraging, as this proves that there can be life after Mormonism…especially for those who come into relationship with Jesus!
17. The Relationship Between Jesus and Lucifer in a Mormon Context (776). Back in late 2007, Republican Presidential contender Mike Huckabee made reference to the Mormon idea that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers from the preexistence/Premortality
(as are all humanity). He was forced to apologize because Mitt Romney was offended. Huckabee needed to stand firm, as this is a Mormon teaching. Links to a 4-part Viewpoint on Mormonism series on this topic that originally aired in June 2002 can also be found here.
16. A-Z: A Simple Introduction to Terms Used by Latter-day Saints (849). In 2013 I put together a list of definitions of the most common terms used by Latter-day Saints, including words such as God the Father, Gospel, and Scripture. The page is meant to help someone who may be unclear about particular terms to have some guidance in what is actually meant.
15. The Mormon Temple (885). This page gets this high of a position because we participate in a number of events at temple open house events, including two in the summer of 2016 (Philadelphia and Fort Collins, where the page received up to 60 hits a day during those events when I used a sign to advertise the site). Our website www.SacredOrSecret.com directs visitors to this page. The site is also listed in our open house newspaper. The goal in this short article authored by Bill McKeever is to get people to understand that there are many differences between the multiple LDS temples and the one biblical temple located in Jerusalem. A link to other “temple” articles is given at the bottom, as we hope the person who makes it that far will be willing to make an additional click to learn even more.
14. Finding a Fellowship in Utah: A List of Recommended Church Bodies in the Beehive State (917). I can’t tell you how excited this page made it to number 14! I compiled this page in 2013 because so many who were leaving the LDS Church were asking us, “Which church should I join?” Although there are some lists on other ministry websites, I too often noticed that they were recommending churches that were teaching heresy or emphasizing unbiblical doctrines and practices. Thus, I looked up each church’s website and scoured their statement of faith. When I wasn’t certain about the church’s orthodoxy, I wrote the pastor an email and asked for a response. This, along with word of mouth, helped me to compile a list of more than 150 churches throughout the state. If we put a church on this list, we are not necessarily saying it’s the perfect church. At the same time, we think a person will be fed at that particular church. It is updated periodically. If you know a Christian church that ought to be added (or subtracted), please let us know at [email protected]
13. Early Mormon Leaders on the Inhabitants of the Sun and Moon (940). The idea that early leaders such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught that the moon and sun were inhabited is dealt with in this article written by Bill McKeever and Aaron Shafovaloff. To be honest, I’m very surprised that this article would have been visited so many times, except it may be linked on another site.
12. The Nauvoo Temple Pentagrams (978). The issue of pentagrams on Mormon temples is intriguing for many. This article, written by Bill McKeever, explains the history of the pentagram and includes a video at the bottom of the article showing a pentagram on the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.
11. A Seer Stone and a Hat–“Translating” the Book of Mormon (991). The belief that Joseph Smith used the gold plates to translate the Book of Mormon is commonly assumed by many Mormons to be true. However, an LDS Gospel Topics Essay refutes that idea. In this article, Bill McKeever and I take a closer look at the topic and show how the historical evidence (again, admitted by the church on lds.org) admits that Joseph Smith utilized a chocolate-colored magic stone placed into his hat; he then “read” the characters as they lit up. Several video and podcast links are given at the end of the article for further information.
10. Why no Crosses? (1037). Bill McKeever wrote this article specifically on why no crosses can be found on LDS temples, which are the holiest buildings in all of Mormonism. (Indeed, no crosses can be found anywhere on or inside any LDS building!) It is very appropriate for this topic to be a “Top 10” hit on the mrm.org website. Every Christian who cherishes the cross, as did the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:17ff.
9. What happens if the LDS Prophet Should become Mentally Incapacitated? (1,12o). It seems this article spikes any time that President Thomas S. Monson is in the news, including at general conference time. In the two conferences held in 2016, Monson’s health was a topic of conversation and his talks were much shorter than normal. This article was originally published in the November/December 2015 edition of the bimonthly Mormonism Researched newsletter (free subscription? click here) and was added to the website the following spring.
8. Christopher Nemelka–The Reincarnated Hyrum Smith? (1,175). In 2010, Christopher Nemelka–a former Mormon who claims he is the reincarnation of Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith’s brother–gained his fame by having a headstone dedicated in the Salt Lake Cemetery. Nemelka, who claims he was given the ability to translate the sealed portion of the gold plates, was able to convince a Hyrum Smith relative to let him have her spot in the graveyard. Bill McKeever and I were there, with the event getting recorded. Several videos are included with this article.
7. Should a Christian date a Mormon? (1,356) This seems to be an issue many people ask us on a regularly basis. This is because Mormons typically are not averse to dating those outside their faith as long as the partners have good moral standards. Unfortunately, many more Christians end up converting to Mormonism rather than Mormons converting to Christianity. This article discusses this important issue and includes three videos that I produced a few years ago featuring Carissa, my oldest daughter.
6. Final Moments at Carthage Jail and the Death of Joseph Smith (1,776). This one issue that caused many Mormons to doubt the truth of Mormonism and was the impetus for leaving the church. The video that goes with this article has been viewed more than 300,000 times! Nobody tells the story better than Bill McKeever. If you know someone who is unsure about the “martyrdom” of Joseph Smith, this is a page they should consider!
5. LDS and RLDS (Community of Christ): Differences and Similarities (1,939). Our site does not have much information on the former RLDS (Community of Christ) church, which is based in Independence, MO. Perhaps we should do more. Adherents do their best to distant themselves from their religious cousins, yet many outsiders assumed they must be the same because they both use the Book of Mormon as scripture. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Bill McKeever demonstrates.
4. Where are the Gold Plates Now? (2,905). There is a fascination with where the gold plates of the Book of Mormon are located today. Answer: They’re gone. Quite conveniently the angel Moroni took them back. Shouldn’t that raise the suspicion of neutral observers, especially since Joseph Smith had no clue what the hieroglyphics on the Book of Abraham papyri said?
3. Enfrentandose con los Misioneros Mormones: Las 15 cosas que no estan dispuestos a decirte (3,193). This is the English edition of Bill McKeever’s article “Encountering the Mormon Missionaries: 15 Things They May be Reluctant to Tell You,” which originally was a tract. This is just one of more than a dozen articles that we have had translated by Bethany Ríos-Martínez. Because no other Spanish article made the Top 50, it is obvious that a popular Christian website has linked our article, which we greatly appreciate. Check out the other Spanish articles here. We also have articles in Russian and German.
2. Viewpoint on Mormonism (Radio Show and Podcast) (4,446). About 50 times a day folks click onto the radio show button where the archive and organized catalog are located. More than 1,300 shows are available on a variety of topics. Archived series include The Miracle of Forgiveness, Gospel Principles, and the Journal of Discourses. Since the show began on July 4, 2011, this media format has become a major part of what MRM is all about. Each week (usually on Monday) the main site of mrm.org can be visited for that week’s broadcasts, which air three times a day in Salt Lake City (820 AM) as well in four other states and countries. Each episode is about 14 minutes in length.
1. Ten Lies I told as a Mormon Missionary (5,380). Our most viewed article (clicked on about 60 times a day) on a daily basis. It was written by former missionary Loren Frank who served his mission in the Midwest in the mid-1970s. In the article he says that he “lied for the church countless times.” Some of those lies include “we’re not trying to convert you,” “we’re the only true church,” and “you’re born again by becoming a Mormon.” Because it’s an older article, I have a feeling there is more than one Christian or ex-Mormon website linking this page to their site. One thing is for sure: We will never change the address to this article!