Is MormonThink Anti-Mormon?

Is MormonThink “Anti-Mormon”?

What follows is an unbalanced, critical, but honest examination of a deceptive website.

Anti-Mormonism is discrimination, persecution, hostility or prejudice directed at members of the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The term is often used to describe persons or literature that are critical of their adherents, institutions, or beliefs, or physical attacks against specific Mormons or the LDS church as a whole.

I’m shocked at how many people claim that the website MormonThink is not anti-mormon. What doesn’t surprise me is how all the people who make this claim are former Mormons themselves.

I admit I had previously called the site anti-mormon without ever spending more than five minutes there. I have not read all the articles. In fact, before today, I had avoided the site.

Today, however, I decided to give it a shot. Perhaps the mainstream Mormons had been unfairly categorizing a site which was simply critical of their beliefs. So I loaded it up. I gave it 15 minutes of browsing. But I didn’t need to. Within moments I discovered several big problems with both the site’s claim of being objective, and with this statement right at the top of the front page: “We present both viewpoints fairly and let the reader decide.”

is mormonthink anti mormon

Why would you say I’m anti-mormon? I’m just telling the truth!

Mormonthink is full of prejudicial language, appeals to ethos, pathos, and peripheral persuasion attempts aimed at creating sympathy for mormonthink as well as anti-mormon sentiment and antipathy for the organization of the LDS church and its leadership. In my opinion, anyone who has taken a basic critical thinking or persuasion class would recognize it. It only took me a matter of minutes to find 6 big problems with it’s claim of being objective, fair, and presenting of both viewpoints.

Here are the ways I saw in which mormonthink fails to be objective, fails to be fair, and fails to present both viewpoints.

1. rife with sarcasm / emotive / persuasive language as opposed to  objective / scholarly / neutral language when speaking about the LDS church.

This was the first thing I noticed, and it’s evidenced within seconds. I found the following examples in a single article about 3 minutes into my reading:

“Perhaps that kind of thinking explains such travesties as the Mountain Meadows Massacre and such blind obedience to practicing polygamy and racism.”

“Amazing that an apostle would bend over backwards to try to justify a document to prevent it from harming people’s testimonies…”

“But for one of the Lord’s anointed to think that way and publish it in a very popular fundamental church book makes us wonder just how inspired our leaders are.”

“Like many things in the LDS church, it’s a lot less impressive the more you know about it”

Remarkably, they also bend over backwards and act as if they never said anything critical at all, as evidenced by number 2:

2. Language designed to create a positive prejudice for the mormonthink perspective. AKA “you can trust us cause we’re nice and sincere.” Language which has no bearing on the facts, but which is designed to create a sense of community and belonging.

Examples were evident on the front page, but also found in every article I saw. These examples were found in just 2 minutes of browsing:

“There is a lot of misinformation on the LDS Church that is presented by both critics and defenders of the faith – particularly on the Internet. We present both viewpoints fairly and let the reader decide.” – aren’t we great?

“We have always regarded the prophets in The Holy Bible as heroes and our modern-day prophets as heroes as well.” – we’re very pious!

“We’ve always admired the prophets and apostles and enjoy listening to their talks at general conference. We earnestly believe they are good men with good goals and are not trying to deceive us.” – Just like you! It really hurts us to imply that they are idiots and deceptive in the previous paragraphs!

3. Conclusions based on opinion, with no sources, often implying facts not in evidence.

The pages were absolutely full of leading conclusions based on nothing more than opinion. Examples (found on the main page and in 1 other article after about 2 minutes of reading; emphasis added):

“…the LDS Church will soon begin publishing on the official Church website a series of at least 13 essays addressing controversial historical Church topics. The rising tide of accurate, first-hand historical source documents available for faithful members to research on the internet has forced the LDS General Authorities to move beyond giving shallow answers to the issues these documents raise.” – implying motive which fits the MT narrative.

“…a subject that will undoubtedly catch many lifelong members by surprise as most will learn about these alternate, conflicting First Vision accounts for the first time.” – implying behavior of the church which fits MT narrative.

“During May 2013, under the apparent direction of the Church, LDS apologist Terryl Givens…” – implying a connection which we don’t have any reason to believe exists.

3. Avoiding LDS responses to criticism – pages often include an LDS stance followed by a  critical response to that specific stance – no lds responses to said criticism, nor any alternate LDS interpretations of said stances. Independently contrary critical claims are left unchallenged.

4. Size of arguments, the site is heavily weighted in favor of church criticisms, with nothing near equal space or time given to church responses to said criticisms.

examples: In one, randomly selected document: 180 words on the mormon perspective, approx 18,000 geared towards criticisms.

5. Scholarship, the site is lacking any peer review, and instead relies on editorial and commentary. Most Mormon apologetics are submitted to peer review and scholarly analysis.

Examples: Do they have an unbiased, unaffiliated professional editor to keep them “fair and balanced?” No. The managing editor is a “retired management consultant” with no academic training or achievements of any fashion, either in editorial work, or in historical analysis. Instead he offers a story of disaffection with Mormonism following a sacred ordinance, and represents the highest “fallen member” available – a former stake president. This indicates scholarly research and writing is not a primary concern of the site. This is remarkable since their main criticism of Mormon apologetics is that they are all written by Mormon scholars rather than unaffiliated scholars. (This is silly since why would secular scholars have any interest in Mormon themes?) If having secular scholarship review the work of apologists is so important, then why don’t they do it?  I submit that the reason is that because doing so would require peer review, which mormonthink authors would have a dismal time at.

As far as I am aware, no mormonthink articles have been submitted to any scholarly journals.

[EDIT: some have suggested that no pro-lds works are peer-reviewed, or that lds sources are equally lacking in scholastic rigor. Here’s a response from an online discussion on peer review and mormonism:

It turns out, the most prestigious peer-reviewed academic presses publish many Mormon scholarly works such as: Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism, Rough Stone Rolling, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter, By the Hand of Mormon, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text, Carthage Conspiracy, Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction, Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning, Great Basin Kingdom, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, The Viper on the Hearth, People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture and actually many more but I am getting tired of cutting and pasting such actually-scholarly books.

One interesting thing to note is: these rigorous treatments of Mormonism published in academic environments are almost universally by faithful members. The big two exceptions to this I know in modern times is Pioneer Prophet that on one hand is written by a non-Mormon and yet “faithful” enough to be carried by Deseret Book and the scholarly books written by Quinn who, though having been ex-d by the Church, like most published academic scholars on Mormonism is still a believer.

Let’s also not forget, The Joseph Smith Papers Project which is sponsored by the Church, has received the “endorsement by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a division of the National Archives, to ensure research is conducted according to the highest scholarly standards”. (An endorsement that you cannot say about a single anti-Mormon project that I am aware of.)]

6. No Explanatory Power

It may be helpful to give an anecdote on this topic as told by Bushman. Let’s pretend a mother has five children, all of whom grow up to rave what a wonderful mother she was. However, a biographer decides to write a biography on the mother and decides he will only list “facts”. Interestingly, he decides the only facts he will refer to will be the few times the mother spanked and yelled at her children.

So there is nothing factually incorrect about his biography (a defender will ask “point to one place where there is a lie!”), so what is wrong with it? What’s wrong is it has no explanatory power. (It’s just like a bad scientific theory) It doesn’t explain why her five children all grew up to call her beloved. It conveniently doesn’t mention how the mother also read them stories, dried their tears, gave them lots of love, went to all their sporting events of extracurricular activities, was their biggest fan at every turn, etc… In other words, it does not tell the whole story, the whole truth.

So:  If you didn’t know the rest of history, based on Mormonthink you would probably assume Joseph Smith was just yet another charlatan with fraudulent claims brainwashing a vulnerable people. Just another crook holding up a false facade. But if you believed that, you would probably, like the rest of the US at the time, conclude with the brainwashing fraud holding up the false foundation gone, Thus Ends Mormonism . But as with the newspaper in the link, your hypothesis would fail as you would quickly learn this work is so much bigger that Joseph Smith and his faults. Something that you would never conclude from Mormonthink!

Mormonthink has no explanatory power where it counts. It doesn’t have the capacity to explain why, with the “charlatan” gone, Mormonism continues to flourish with millions testifying of the very real spiritual changes in their lives. It doesn’t account for why millions more give years of their lives for this service, some of them willing to pay the ultimate price. It doesn’t explain how the very book Joseph produced is perhaps the most cherished work in the lives of millions more. It doesn’t explain why Mormons are so charitable , so likely to get an education , so successful in the real world , have such high scores for well-being , etc…

It would be very hard to explain why such a people, who all it can be said is that they were duped by a charlatan, would go on to achieve these other inconvenient facts.

Is MormonThink Anti-Mormon?

Yes. Glaringly, obviously, cruelly so. It is remarkable that a site run by so many who claim to be victims of deception would choose to use these methods in the name of fairness and truth. It sickens me. MormonThink is the quintessential wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a site which aims to deconvert, and destroy testimony; to sow doubt and distrust. I’m done with that site and those who promote it under the guise of “truth.”

If the truth speaks for itself, then it does not need the kind of dishonesty that MormonThink uses in its efforts do de-convert. Instead, the church is truly leading the way with efforts like The Joseph Smith Papers Project, which has been been endorsed by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a division of the National Archives.

Finally, let me say this: I have said nothing about the LDS church in this post. Proponents of MormonThink always bring up the church when the site is criticized, as if something the church has done or taught has anything to do with how MT operates, so I wanted to leave it out of this post. Whatever you may think the church is or was, it does not excuse MT to behave so dishonestly. The LDS church has often taught that those who leave the church can never seem to leave it alone, and turn to persecuting it. By continuing this kind of tabloid criticism, Mormonthink only proves them right.


Greg is a business owner, writer, husband and father. (not in that order, though.)

Posted in Anti-Mormon, history, LDS History, my thoughts, rants
44 comments on “Is MormonThink Anti-Mormon?
  1. JxZiel says:

    Hi I’m former LDS. Very interesting points, though I disagree with many of them. However I find your claims curious (and ironic) as I think MormonThink is sometimes too pro-LDS. While critical in many areas I think they sometimes give too much accommodation to wishful thinking and logical fallacies which help promote/maintain belief…

    Perhaps you thinking they’re Anti-LDS and me thinking they’re not Anti-LDS enough is actually indicative of them being balanced.

    Follow up clarification – Do you believe any site (or group) can make criticisms of the church and NOT be labelled Anti-Mormon, or are those approaches mutually exclusive in your view?


    • Arandur says:


      I sincerely hope that you don’t mind me replying to your comment, since it was not addressed to me. However, in my personal opinion, WIkipedia itself provides a good example of a site which makes criticisms of the LDS church, but is not anti-Mormon.

    • sam1am says:

      The problem with the “anti-mormon” classification isn’t that it is or isn’t appropriately applied, it’s that believers equate “anti” with “flasehood.” Being against something does not imply that the information being presented is automatically false.

      *If* the church is false then people should be against it. Information should not be avoided because it’s “anti” – it should be avoided only once it has been shown to be false.

      • Rob says:

        Very good point Sam. God is truth, and no one needs to fear anything by pursuing the truth NO MATTER WHAT THE COST. If it leads you away from what you thought was true, then you have lost nothing of true value. I CHALLENGE ALL MORMONS TO READ EVERYTHING THEY CAN, PRO AND CON, AND THINK AND THINK AND THINK SOME MORE. You WILL find Jesus Christ as He really is, to catch you on the other side.

  2. Deborah Crow says:

    If I may….there’s a big difference between slamming a religion based on conjecture and innuendo and criticizing what is truth. An example the blog post was very clear about the mother who was raved by her kids but the writer of her biography only picked out the fact she spanked her kids.

    With most Anti-Mormon sites like this MormonThink, it’s not just that they slam what they think they know (which they do not. Their reasoning is quite flawed and their information wrong on so many levels), they don’t bother to check the facts before opening mouth inserting foot.

    I found most Anti-Mormons are thus because they tried to pull a fast one and got caught. Nothing is more convincing than a liar that just got caught. Try watching a man or woman lie their way out of a filmed cheating moment they had. They’d convince you or try to that the moon was indeed made of cheese. The pathetic part is that they’re so good at lying and so adept because of the years of practice you nearly believe it.

    Checking facts takes work, slamming something because you are too lazy to check those facts is far easier.

    No, I don’t find any problem as an LDS member of over 15 years with criticism as long as it’s based in FACT and not because someone got caught disobeying the church and was excommunicated which a large amount of Anti-Mormons seem to have in common.

    • Mark says:

      If you spent any time on Mormonthink you would soon see that it is full of facts. They pull together tons of historical sources to back up what they have to say. Now I can agree with the author of this post that they do editorialize quite a bit but they do a very good job on making sure that their editorial stances are based upon a factual basis (often linking to and other church sites.)

    • Confused says:

      I take offense to the insinuation that because I question I’m a liar. Questioning does not make me anti mormon. I just don’t believe that everything presented is truth. I was always taught that sins of omission were just as bad as sins of commission. That’s really one of the key issues for the “questioning, anti, disaffected, or whatever”.

  3. Andrew Hewson says:

    Hi – I enjoyed your article, thanks for writing. As a non-believing member I agree with many of your comments, for MormonThink to be considered neutral and balanced, they should not use emotive, derogatory or biased language.

    I was disappointed to think that they were using it, as I’d reviewed the site a few years ago and liked it because it seemed fairly neutral (unlike a lot of Evangelical Christian anti-Mormon sites).

    So I went back onto MormonThink myself. I browsed for about 20 minutes but did not come across much emotive language as you describe (maybe I’m de-sensitised to it now?). I mainly read the Conflicts with Science section and the Polygamy section – maybe it is more prevalent in other sections.

    Still I’d encourage people to read the arguments within MormonThink as I think many are compelling and remain unanswerable within the current LDS paradigm (e.g. how do virtually all the marsupials in the world end up in Australia (an island continent) and no where else, post Noah’s Ark?).

    A beautiful but fraudulent work of art can always be praised and admired and loved, and this will not betray it as a fraud. This is enough for some. But for others, it’s true character can only be found by unflinching examination for the tiniest evidence of falsehood. Once revealed, their love is lost.

  4. Lock says:

    The problem isn’t the site or the wording it’s that actual history doesn’t support the official LDS narrative. Given the severe departure mainstream mormonism has taken from the Truth, it is impossible to present facts and not have them be critical of the Church.

    I think when you hear “unbiased” you assume you’ll find just as much evidence supporting the Church’s claims as there is refuting them. But unfortunately no such evidence exists to support the Church. Thus any accurate appraisal of the facts is going to be largely critical of the Church. So maybe you should change your expectations of what an honest discussion of the facts on mormonism will conclude.

    • spudboy says:

      You are spot on Lock!! The problem is that TBM’s, when confronted with anything other than what the church has carefully spoon fed them they take it as negative!! Or worse anti mormon!! The leaders of the church have purposely hidden the true history of the church & now it has caught up with them!! The leaders alone are responsible for a website like mormonthink to even exist!! The church must be honest in all its dealings with its fellow man!! I challenge anyone to prove what mormonthink writes to be false they are the most honest & reasonable presenters of church history on the internet. It broke my heart to find out that the leaders that I loved & admired my whole life had lied to me about the truth claims of the LDS church. There dishonesty in the end will be there undoing.

  5. Lasvegasrichard says:

    At the end of the day it all boils down to this . If so much effort and energy is being expended to defend an institution which supposedly is based on eternal truth from the Supreme Creator of our universe , you must be constrained to ask ones self if this is really its truth on Earth .

    • Anonymous says:

      This comment reminds me of an old debate about another truth. People used to debate pretty vigorously things like whether the world was flat or round, and whether the earth revolved around the sun or the sun around the earth. So, yes, we should ask ourselves what truth is, but popular vote or even the fact that there is great debate or defense on either side does not tell us what truth is.

  6. holly says:

    You are right mormonthink isnt as balanced as they claim. I do believe that. That said, I see some big flaws with your mother analogy. Spanking and yelling at her kids would be comparable to joseph swearing now and then, yelling at a member, etc. But in actuality he told people an angel would kill him if he didnt marry their wife. He told 14 year old girls their families would be saved if they married him. This is more like a mother who sexually abused her children. Even if it only happened a few times, she would still be a poor mother no matter what she did right. (And then the sometimes-abusive-mother says she is the one true mother in the world. My mother was much better than that…) So how did her kids turn out so well? I’m thinking maybe they didnt really. I’m wondering if my ancestors were a little looney, honestly. But they arent asking her children how good of a mom she was. They are asking her great great grandchildren, and they seem to be the well adjusted ones. But in between there the generations changed a lot. The parenting methods are very different from what the original mother used. If the same “parenting methods” were used today in the church as were used originally the church would probably look very similar to the FLDS, which I don’t think most people would call well adjusted.

    For the record, I am still in the church, but going through a major faith crisis. I love the church. I love the teachings. I am scared of it not being true. But I had an experience a few months ago that made me realize my obedience in not reading anti-mormon literature was keeping me ignorant. I can’t believe it took me all these years to realize that. I am so obedient. I was never even late for curfew as a youth. I didnt kiss my fiance for more than 5 seconds. Just obedient. But restricting information….hmmm, I guess I’ve become too open minded for that. I verified the polyandry and polygamy examples of offering salvation for marriage that I listed above on fairmormon. It is true, and much more is true. Did God tell Joseph to do those things? Possibly. Would God do that? That’s what I’m trying to find out. In a nutshell I do think mormonthink is anti-mormon. It is also factual, largely, as far as I have compared to fairmormon. But I’m ok with anti-mormon for the time being because the church chose to not tell me some important facts themself. I have read the new church historian say they will probably change and start being more open with the members about the true history. I think its because they have to. The internet is a crystal ball as Hans Mattsson said. You can’t hide anything. In the 70’s the church was starting to put out some disturbing church history here and there and they found membership dropping, so they stopped. The song we sing says, “do what is right, let the consequence follow.” If the membership drops with the truth so be it. People have more agency when they have more truth, and the church is all about agency.

    I do hope the church becomes more transparent, but I wish they didn’t have to be forced into it by fear members would find out anyway on their own online. That’s like a spouse confessing something because he knows you’ll find out anyway. I want to be married to the spouse who tells me everything, always. Better yet, the spouse who doesn’t have much to hide, but I guess there is no changing the past for any of us.

    • Chae says:

      I agree with Holly. The site of course fits the description of anti-mormon but it doesn’t mean that the information is not true. Are all of the current active LDS authors and those that were excommunicated for talking about the history anti-moromon? They all are trying to report what is out there instead of being like the LDS Church and ignoring it and hoping it will go away. FARMs makes things worse by attacking character of authors and on many issues give no real credible responses or give theory’s. I love the church but feel lied and betrayed by this church for not being honest and there is evidence of them trying to cover up. Mark Hoffman exposed that they were willing to try hide any document that would make the church look bad. I call the LDS Church anti-truth or we will only tell you what we think you can handle or what we want you to know.

    • Whether Joseph was right or wrong in how he handled polygamy (the details of which are upsetting) depends on whether you believe he was actually “justified” by God as Joseph asserts in D&C 132. This is the issue at its most fundamental level.

      Can we as individuals determine right vs. wrong, or do we defer to someone, who makes extraordinary claims about their authority, to inform us what are beliefs should be? We are asked to take on faith that something that appears to be immoral is in fact moral.

      Why does the spirit tell FLDS members that Warren Jeffs has it right? Why do I feel so good about my decision that both Jeffs and Joseph are not what they claim?

    • Bill says:

      Hey Holly, just reading your comment got me thinking.

      I have spent a lot of time myself reading anti-mormon material. In fact, I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours going through my faith crisis on mormonthink and other anti sites. But through it all, I have come to this realization: faith is the key. Now, I don’t mean that as some cop-out answer. In a church that has 99% pure and wonderful doctrine, then we cannot focus on that 1%. We cannot focus on that because with things like polygamy and polyandry, we just don’t know all the details. We just do not know. We can speculate and assume, but I think we all know what assuming does…

      Remember this: The teachings are beautiful and wonderful. There will be things in this church that just cannot and will not be understood in this world. With that 1%, we really do just need to wait until the next life. I love that the church is trying to be more open with the history of the church. In fact, we are encouraged to read into the church history. But catch that: it’s the church history, not the history interpreted by people who dislike the church. So read the history of the church. Get into it. Read into the life of Joseph Smith, and as you read the pure and honest information about him, you will be able to really see the divinity in Joseph Smith’s calling. Don’t give up hope. It’s okay to have questions. But don’t allow that questions to detract you from what you know and want to be true.

      Keep up the faith my friend. I know exactly what you are going through. I’ve been there myself. But there are answers to your questions. Please be patient and stick with it all. Not reading anti-mormon material is not keeping you ignorant. When you honestly search and study the true history of the church, read the joseph smith papers and pray frequently, those things will come up, but you’ll be more ready to receive them. I am a true believer of that. Sorry for babbling on.

  7. Darrin says:

    Mormon Think is no doubt, anti-Mormon. Completely biased and unfounded claims, over and over again. I’ve contacted Mormon Think and have questioned some of their claims and asked for proof and all they’ve given me is a very loose quote, from some critic of the church, repeatedly or they simply say, it makes sense, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t make sense. One thing that always cracks me up about anti-Mormon literature, online or printed, is that most critics who make the claims, whole-heartedly believe the Bible, although, the Bible stories are filled with incredible-to-believe stories that have absolutely NO evidence, none! Some Evangelical Christians have actually told me, to my face, that they believe in the Bible because there’s just so much proof that it’s true, like archeological findings, documents, etc. In truth, there is no archeological proof of Adam, the great flood, Abraham, Moses and the Exodus, Jericho’s walls falling down, Solomon’s Temple, Daniel stuck in an oven, the Resurrection, the Apostle’s miracles, etc. None. Not a single original Bible manuscript even exists! Not one! Latter-day Saints believe it’s true, along with the translated golden plates and the restoration of the Church, through the Holy Ghost, no other way. If someone’s faith is lacking, due to some little thing Joseph Smith or other early church leaders did or said, then they need to consider that Joseph Smith was not perfect, he never claimed to be and much of the controversial things purported to be said or done by him, never happened and never was said, they were said and claimed, many years later, by detractors and critics of the church. Some things, we just may not fully understand. Try explaining the immaculate conception some time.
    Advice to ALL anti-Mormons and critics of the LDS Church: go find a new hobby, leave us alone!!!!!!!!!

    • Manny says:

      I think you are mistaken in two ways:

      1) most disaffected Mormons I talk to (and this is a few dozen) become agnostic atheist and believe the bible to be a hoax as well

      2) the article is about how biased Mormonthink is, so all sides should be present in the debate. Asking to be left alone is akin to saying “we only want one side of the story” (which is exactly what the article fights against$

    • Tony says:

      Late comment, but this strikes me. I find that truth is best found in faith and not in logic or rational thought. Faith is defined by us Mormons as things hoped for but not seen.

      I hope for a God to exist like the Mormon, kind God. I hope the Mormon, mean god does not exist. I hope for eternity with my family (at least the ones that I like). I hope for eternity enjoying all the things that I now am forbidden to enjoy on earth due to laws of obedience (WoW?).

      I hope for many things that are not seen by me. Mostly, I hope the claims of the church are true. I hope someone will prove the falsity of the history of the church with antis demonstrating actions of the prophets (past and present) having lower morals than me, such as: deceit, moral relativism, lack of transparency and open honesty, sexual deviancy such as adultery and young bed-fellows, and similar anti claims.

      I hope for these things because I actively seek to not see the evil things and actively seek to see the good things. We can all hope things can be better than it is. We can all have great faith in the truths of the gospel we hope for.

  8. BigE says:

    “…the LDS Church will soon begin publishing on the official Church website a series of at least 13 essays addressing controversial historical Church topics. The rising tide of accurate, first-hand historical source documents available for faithful members to research on the internet has forced the LDS General Authorities to move beyond giving shallow answers to the issues these documents raise.” – implying motive which fits the MT narrative.

    • Greg says:

      Again, it’s not that the claims are wrong, but the claims of motive which are biased. Nothing in this post discusses the “facts” presented by the site, for that is irrelevant to the substance of the post.

  9. Sam says:

    Mormonthink’s ends justify its means. Some duplicity is justifiable when seeking to help people away from one of the most cultic religions in the modern world.

    • Greg says:

      Then the church is justified in it’s behavior in helping people away from one of the most sinful times in the history of the world. 😉

      Mr. Phillips, editor of MT says basically the same thing as you. He responded to this article with something along the lines of “Well these same criticisms are true of the church as well.”

      I suppose, if that’s true and somehow justifies his behavior, it must justify the church as well.

      • ozpoof says:

        There is no fact behind the claim that today is the “most sinful” time. There are 7 billion humans. Murder rates are down per capita. Less people are being killed in wars. People are less tolerant of religious fanatics claiming child rape and corporal punishment are God ordained. Child rape was always common but is now exposed and punished. We no longer consider hanging people or watching people being eaten by lions as entertainment. Even TV shows from 50 years ago contain unacceptable racism and violence towards children and women that we find intolerable today. People are being treated better and more equally.

        The problem with apocalyptic cult thinking is that in order to attract and retain members there has to be a sense of fear and woe spread among members. There has to be an image of the world being full of evil and danger perpetuated. The world is not evil. It’s beautiful. Humans are becoming more like Christ without religion than they ever can within religion. More empathetic and accepting of others.

  10. Nick says:

    You’re right- the language can be inflammatory, and there is bias. However, I find it no different than the LDS lesson manuals in which the language and bias is slanted in exactly the opposite directions.

    The difference is that mormonthink gets the facts right, despite the bias. I’ve seen mulitple critiques of MT, and just like yours, they all focus on the language used, but make no mention of the facts, which MT gets right. Please point out where Mormonthink gets the facts wrong, and you’ll have a post worth reading.

    • Greg says:

      I can see your opinion on the article not being worth reading resulted in you not really reading (or perhaps understanding) the whole article. Thanks for visiting, though.

  11. Tom says:


  12. scott says:

    As a life-long, pioneer family, SLC born, 2-year mission serving, BYU grad, temple married, former LDS, I object to a couple generalizations: 1) just because a book, author, website, (etc) highlights problems with the LDS position does not make it/them “anti” I was raised to avoid “anti” material like sin itself. While MT does (IMO “occasionally”) interject emotional comments, I see it as quite even-handed in its coverage of the MANY distortions, omissions, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies of the (ever-changing) LDS position. 2) I am VERY tired of the narrative that LDS members who leave the church either “fell into sin” or “got offended and left” or “how unhappy they must really be in their hearts.” I heard that non-stop growing up. Only later, when I began a SINCERE study of the history of my faith, my father’s faith, and my ancestor’s faith, did I learn that just about EVERYTHING I had been taught since Primary, from JS, to the BoM, to the PoGP, to “Black and the Priesthood” to “First Vision” to polygamy, to Temples/Masons, to etc etc etc… it was ALL incorrect. Accepting that was SOOOO hard b/c it went against everything I “knew” of the entire universe. However, once I did accept it, I was amazed at how much more peace I felt, not having to craft increasingly ridiculous explanations for the unexplainable. 3) I am a bit frustrated by how the LDS church is altering (“white-washing”?) its history. Case in point: For those of us who grew up in the church, there was never any QUESTION that lamanites/american indians had dark skin due to sin/history. It was not even debatable, as it was IN the BoM as doctrine, referred to in Gen Conf talks, and taught in Sunday School. I know. I was stake SS president and later a Stake High Councilor. But nooooooow… the church changed/updated/modernized/white-washed (no pun intended) its doctrine and newer converts will never appreciate the radical re-direction. TBM will continue to close their eyes to this (and MANY other) example(s) and repeat the same trite refrains “we can’t know god’s purposes” “Heavenly Father’s ways are higher than our ways” and my personal favorite “its not necessary for our salvation.” But it IS necessary provided that the LDS church maintains its position as the only way back to exaltation in the celestial kingdom — If what the church is teaching is false, how can the church be true? Regardless…

    Lastly, I had not encountered this site previously but want to commend the owner (who I assume is a TBM) for allowing all ppl to post feedback. This is increasingly rare among TBM sites, showing much integrity and should be praised. Thank you!

  13. Susan Greer says:

    Greg, The cat is now officially out of the bag with the mormonthinks created having brought a law suite personally against President Monson. If anyone wondered before he left no doubt. The saying rings true, “you can leave the church, but you can’t leave it alone”. I appreciate your site. I was investigating the site when I saw your comments.

    • John says:

      So everyone is clear, the court case is not a personal one. Tom Phillips is not suing President Monson. This is actually a criminal case being brought by the UK against the Church corporation, whose sole is Thomas Monson. I know it is a little confusing because we tend to think of it in American law. In the UK, any citizen can introduce a criminal case. This is what Tom has done. He is not suing President Monson. Think of it like reporting a burglary. In the US, this is usually done by the state, such as the district attorney’s office. It is then the job of the court system to decide the severity of the charges. If they are frivolous, the case will be discarded before anything of consequence happens. Once they have passed the vetting process, the summons is issued; as is the case against President Monson. When I first heard about this case, I was positive it would go nowhere. I have since read a lot about it and am beginning to think there is a real case.

  14. jr says:

    It is my understanding that Tom Phillips has not had his name removed from church records. Why not? He has not been excommunicated. Why not?
    Tom Phillips has filed a lawsuit against Pres. Monson for fraud, in England. This lawsuit could open the door for other religions to be sued for fraud. Or is Phillips out for money? Steve Benson, grandson of Pres. Ezra T. Benson helped Phillips with the suit.
    I get tired of hearing critics say they are using LdS sources so how are they lying or attacking or misrepresenting facts?
    Mormon Think is anti Mormon because they are critical of anything LdS, use inflammatory language, and some of the people running Mormon Think have admitted to keeping their membership just so they can work on members to leave the church, and to give themselves credibility when planting seeds of doubt.

  15. jr says:

    Also former managing editor of Mormon Think David Twede was caught in a lie. Lying about the church.

  16. Gareth says:

    You need to realise that we have the Mormonthink has a lot of European contribution. The national culture is sarcastic and anti-authoritarian. Europeans do not defer to leaders politically, socially or morally. I felt living in Utah that the general deference to leaders was an unhealthy trait and leads to blindly following “opinion”. We don’t find this tone offensive……even attending temple recommend holding LDS find this tone normal – uncomfortable – but normal.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Greg, I think this article is anti-MormonThink. And therefore your writing’s credibility is in serious question.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You ONLY read the site for less than an hour? How is this truly an accurate evaluation? Ignorance is bliss!

    • Greg says:

      How long does it take you to identify an elephant, anon? More than half an hour? How long does it take you to evaluate if a text has a bias for or against its topic? Did you notice this post was only about identifying bias?

      In fact, how long did you put into researching this blog post? Can you say I’m ignorant if you haven’t given it an accurate evaluation yourself?

      Ah, hypocrisy. The fundamental comfort of the casual disbeliever.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think what the poster is trying to say, however poorly, is that to get an accurate evaluation of a site takes much longer than your 15 minutes spent. And to answer your question, identifying a biased text objectively does take longer than 15 minutes and half an hour. One must identify the sources, research the topic in addition to researching the sources. So yes it does take longer to identify this particular elephant as you so put it.

        I do agree that the poster should have taken the time, if he hasn’t to research your blog post but I don’t think you can claim that this post is completely objective either. When it comes to religion, there is no objective stance and in my opinion, claims to being objective by either side devalues the argument.

  19. Jeff Walsh says:

    Greg, thank for pointing out the extreme bias of this site. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with their faith and are thinking that they are being taught truths that have been “hidden” from the “ignorant” masses of the Church, to seek out the sources of the material presented. When they do they will quickly find that much of it is based on books and articles written by a disgraced, excommunicated BYU professor who says that he had been given access to the archives of the Church when he served for a time as a research assistant. This man who still says he still believes the Church is true, (to give himself credibility) seems to have a pathological hatred for the Church. His books are mainly published by Signature Book, where he is a director, who’s proprietor, it would seem to me, intent on destroying the reputation of Joseph Smith and also the Church.

    When you dig a little further into where this man gets his evidence for his books on the origins of power, you find names such as Eber D Howe who was never a member of the Church although some of his family did join against his wishes. His book “Mormonism Unveiled” is considered to be the first anit-mormon book to be published and which has contributions from Philastus Hurlbut, a member who was excommunicated for gross indecency with children. Then we come to Fawn Brodie who he quotes frequently.

    These two and a whole host of other disgruntled excommunicated members of the Church, some of them with axes to grind against Joseph Smith. Some of them claiming to have “Insider” information which the Church did not want publishing.

    This man’s disclosures of the so called “hidden early history” is believed and used by a whole host of other authors of books and papers all of them claiming that all of this shows Joseph Smith as immoral and a fraud.

    They try to tell us that Joseph Smith composed the Book of Mormon from his own mind, making it up as he went along, they say that they have evidence that Joseph used a stone in the hat, to translate the imaginary plates, that he was a glass looker convicted by a court in Bainbridge. They tell us and quote from “unimpeachable” sources that Joseph practiced Polyandry, and maybe even was a child molester. They imply that Joseph and other early leaders used magic to deceive the people, they also imply that Joseph could have practiced homosexuality. In fact they insinuate that Joseph was probably guilty of virtually every crime in the book

    What this disgraced BYU professor and Mormonthink fail to tell us is that in the Church archives, along with all the true history is material that the Church were commanded to collect including publications and libellous material. (D&C 123) No doubt it was from this material that all of the scandalous charges against Joseph came from. Included in this mountain of stuff were articles written by excommunicated members who held some of the highest positions in the Church, including Oliver Cowdray, Martin Harris, Sidney Rigdon, John and David Whitmer, John C Bennett, William Law and a host of others who had grudges against Joseph.

    When you consider all of this I would accuse mormonthink of practicing the cover up not the Church, why would the Church be interested in publishing the rantings of disgruntled people either inside or outside of the Church. Jeff Walsh

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for the thoughtful reply. That makes a lot of sense to me as I’m learning about church history.

    • wreddyornot says:

      First time to this site. I read through this mormonthink posting on down to the preceding entry by Jeff Walsh, who never, if I read carefully enough, named said fired professor he was talking about. Subject entry seemed designed to avoid the charges of libel, and I wondered if I could comment or if it was designed to be the last entry on this posting with no others after it. So I decided to post to see and to ask: What’s the name of the fired professor? Why doesn’t not giving it here taint your posting? Thanks.

      • Jeff Walsh says:

        I am sorry to have not replied before, I have only just come across your reply whilst googling something else. His name is D Michael Quinn, who whilst employed by Leonard Arrington as a research assisitant, was also teaching at BYU.

  20. Matt says:

    When I was a young man, < 30, I dug for treasure at old town sites in Nevada. I never found high-dollar treasure, just little stuff like coins, an occasional broken watch, marbles, buttons, a badge, etc. A friend that I dug with, had an old buddy who was a prospector, who never made a fortune, but was able to make a modest living. This buddy lent my friend a pendulum that was purported to help one find gold or silver. Now, mind you, my friend is an academic – valedictorian, state-certified engineer, and mathematical genius – also a titanium and tungsten carbide expert. I was an analytical instrument engineer at the time. He told me that he didn't know how the pendulum worked, but theorized it might have something to do with nuclear resonance or something. He said that the pendulum had to have some of the material in it that you were looking for, and this explained why a gold/silver pendulum was fairly costly. It was apparently some sort of dowsing.

    Before going out in the hills with this thing, we were at a friend's house, and he took out the pendulum. It started rocking back and forth, in a line. If you moved the location, the line of movement would also move, slowly, but within a minute or two. You would use the "lines" to triangulate. Once above the object of interest, the pendulum would go around in a circle, about 6-8 inches across or so. So, there we were in the kitchen, and we triangulate to the drawers where the "silverware" was. The owner of the home said, in so many words, that's ridiculous – I don't have anything of value in there, just stainless steel, wood, and plastic." We opened the first drawer, and the owner said "oh, I forgot about that!" It was a silver-plate pie server. We all had a good laugh, and honestly, I was a little freaked out.

    Later in the hills, along with the pendulum, I brought with us a large gold bracelet. Surely, it would find it. I hid the bracelet, and my friend was sure he could find it with the pendulum. He went out to the middle of the town (just some desert scrub at this point), and that darned pendulum COMPETELY ignored the bracelet, but did start the gentle rocking motion. We triangulated, and the point of intercepting lines led us up quite some distance away on a nearby hillside, and kind of steep and not real easily accessed. We were excited. We were certain we had located a gold nugget. We dug past some rocks on the hillside to find — a tent tack!! Yep, a stupid tack about an inch long, used to assemble canvas tents that the miners would use. We pulled the tack aside, and sure enough, that is what spun that darned pendulum around, and there was no movement when put over the hole. What we eventually realized, the pendulum did work, it wasn't quantitative in what it found, nor qualitative. Why it ignored my bracelet and found a tack, (when there were certainly going to be hundred of tacks on the valley floor that it utterly ignored,) is beyond me.

    went back home, and being scientifically minded, I took the pendulum, and suspended it in an upside down in a clear container over a small silver coin, I think a mercury dime. We both expected it to spin in an arc just like it did when we held it. It did not. It just sat that there, motionless. And so we found, as we did other testing, that it worked for some folks, others not at all, and only when someone was holding it. And in case you are wondering, were we trying to "whirl it?" Absolutely not. The pendulum, by the way, weighed a couple of ounces and was on a chain perhaps 18 inches long.

    If the Lord had chosen me at some later point to find something hidden and spiritual, like the plates, would my earlier experienced have disqualified me? Or would he just be rewarding the hundreds of hours and the faith that I had that I could find something? And the other would be, to the effect, is use of a dowser immoral? Well, it wouldn't be immoral if it was just using some matter of physics that we couldn't put a finger on. I mean, is use of a GPS immoral? It would look like black magic to someone from even the early 70s!, but of course it is all rooted in science and technology. I don't fully understand why magnets attract ( mean, FULLY understand), but I don't consider them weird or anything like that of course.

    Just my two cents.

  21. Fred the Mormon says:

    Greg – 100% with you “Mormon Stink” sorry “Mormon Thing” is one of the leading dissident websites out there. Tom Phillips the guy who started it even accused President Monson of fraud here in the UK – that was kicked out of court for the nonsense it was. However, the thing that lets you know that Mormon stink is dissident in its message is that that its “what to do next” page assumes that having read the recycled trash you with 1. Want to become a NoM because you fear rejecting in your family or social group, 2. Donate to the cause, 3. Leave the Church or 4, Stop believing in God, like Tom, all together. It never assumes that you would not be taken in by its sophisticated presentation but little credible evidence. Sorry the nonsense did not work on me Tom! A sad site and one that recycles much historical anti-mo rubbish.

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