For people living in Utah, a familiarity with the “Mormons” or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is an inevitability. Spires from Mormon meeting houses dot the streets in every direction. Their presence in local politics shape policies every Utahan, Mormon and non-Mormon alike encounter on daily basis. They make up a large portion of our teachers, policemen, politicians and friends. But what was once considered an outright majority has declined in Salt Lake County to just 50.07 percent as of 2017.

Essentially a Vatican in the desert for these self-identified refugees of religious persecution, Salt Lake City’s modern transition to harbor secular ideals might be responsible for this overwhelming majority shift, but policy changes with the religion itself might also be to blame. And what is even more shocking than this gradual loss of Mormon dominance in the valley is the unprecedented stalemate in growth the church is experiencing on an international level.

Reports that a historically high number of members were leaving the church began to circulate in 2016. Local news agencies like KSL could be seen interviewing church leaders on the steps of the LDS Conference Center eager to make sense of this transition. While their claims of total membership loss were not completely false, the “mass exodus” that some stations described is not backed by hard data, at least according to the church’s own numbers.

Many people familiar with the church know that there is a process required to exit that involves more than just not showing up any longer. Because of this, many members no longer affiliated with the faith fit into an intermediate classification which is not accounted for when official membership statistics are reported from church headquarters. But, while it is difficult to estimate how many Mormons are actually heading for the door, the church itself reports that 2017 did mark another unprecedented deficit; growth.

Currently at it lowest point since 1937, new LDS baptisms capped at 1.7 percent. For a religious sect that saturates so much of the globe with it’s over 70,000 missionaries, this decline in conversion rate has many faithful members concerned. But this is a problem that has plagued the LDS church at many points during its storied history.

Many might argue that an increased access to information critical or contradictory of Mormon theology is the main cause for the upset in growth. But while the age of the internet must certainly be given partial credit for hindering proselytizing success rates, it’s the speed at which Church policy reaches societal expectations of many social issues that should be given the brunt of responsibility. One such policy that might be preventing the previously enjoyed membership growth is the 2015 declaration that excludes children of same-sex households from being blessed as babies or baptized before the age of 18.

For a religion that claims to have a direct line with an unchanging, omnipotent being, they have a curious habit of altering or completely discarding certain revelations considered disparaging or even illegal by the society they function within. For example, the commandant of polygamy was lifted via a timely manifesto in 1890, paving the way for Utah statehood in 1896, and black Mormons were granted full privilege within church ordinances and blessings following a decision in 1978.

Regardless of inspiration and its historical effects on foresight, the eventual act of conforming to societal norms, even belatedly, has boosted membership numbers within the church. Africa, a continent that is currently witnessing the highest numbers of new LDS baptisms, would certainly not enjoy the same success rate today had it not been for the inclusion revelation of 1978. Perhaps given enough time of stagnant growth rates or societal outrage, same-sex couples will receive the same deserved legitimacy that black families were given ten long years after the Civil Rights Movement.

 

79 COMMENTS

  1. For those of you considering your options. QuitMormon.com will have you legally and officially out in under a month and you will never be contacted again. Oh, and did I mention that it is free.

    • Why is it so important for you to get the Saints to leave the LDS Church? Are you ANGRY at the LDS Church for exhorting humanity to follow Jesus and to obey Heavenly Father commandments? 2 Nephi 31:10.

      • Because the Church purposefully makes it hard to remove your records. It doen’t have to be but since it is this free service takes a lot of the hassle out of the process. The more important question is why does the Church make it so easy to join, but difficult the leave?

      • Smart people can see through the complete lie that is the Mormon church. There are COUNTLESS issues with the religion that no Mormon can answer. Why did joseph smith lie about what the Book of Abraham truly Is? Why does the book of Mormon discuss flora and fauna that did not exist in North America 2000 years ago? Why does the church not tell potential members the truth about Joseph Smith and his teenaged wives? Etc.

      • You are in a cult. Open your mind and explore all the inconsistencies in your belief. Satan has the best disguise. He hides behind people who are easily manipulated into believing a false prophet.

    • quitmormon. com is awesome and it forces the church to do what it won’t do without the legal push…. it isn’t an ethical business… it uses the names as long as it can…

  2. Interestingly enough, Joseph Smith ordained blacks to have the priesthood, long before 1978. Also, I would say that the legalization of Mormon-hunting in certain states, the practice of putting hot tar and feathers on Mormons (including the prophet Joseph Smith), the burning of their churches and temples, qualify them as more than “self-identified refugees of religious persecution.” Being afraid of, hating, and persecuting Mormons has been happening since the very beginning of the religion, and continues to a less violent but more verbal degree today. For example, the ridiculously biased Salt Lake Tribune has a sort of addiction to attacking Mormons in their articles. Need I even mention South Park and the Book of Mormon musical? Mormons have also been thrown in jail, ridiculed, and mocked in other countries, for example in Denmark early plays and films depicted Mormons as evil and crazy, and missionaries were often thrown in jail without due process throughout Scandinavia and other parts of the world. It would also be instructive to go through the U Chronicle’s articles and count how many articles portray Mormons in a negative light, neutral light, and positive light. I have not seen a single one portraying Mormons in a positive light since I came to this University.

    It is so interesting how we allow vast, misleading criticism towards Mormons yet we fight so hard for the positive reputation of other religions. American society is vastly inconsistent in that regard. Yet another example, when people like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris criticize Christians, they are welcomed at universities as heroes of truth, but are not allowed to speak at certain universities when they shift focus to Islam.

    However, I am certain that no matter how much people attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or most other religions for that matter) it will always perservere and pull through, because there is more at work here than mortal man.

    • Addison – Joseph was tarred and feathered exactly ONCE. Church teaches that it was religious persecution. But if you read the whole story, you’d see that Joseph had the hots for Marinda Johnson, and her brother was upset about the whole thing. Joseph was staying with the Johnsons, and her brother was part of the mob, and they even brought a doctor to castrate Joseph. But the doctor decided not to, so they tarred and feathered him instead. Why didn’t the church mention the castration thing? Probably because it’d show that he was tarred and feathered for an actual good reason!

      This same Marinda Johnson married Orson Hyde, whom Joseph Smith sent to Jerusalem on a mission to dedicate the land. Joseph finally married Marinda Johnson Hyde while Orson was in Jerusalem.

      In 1838, church said Joseph was again beset by mobs due to religious persecution. But did you know that this was in Kirtland, Ohio, where the Kirtland Safety Society (a bank established by Joseph and few others) failed. Many members were extremely upset that they lost money, and they excommunicated Joseph, and chased him, and he fled during the night wearing women’s clothing. It wasn’t religious persecution because that mob was almost entirely LDS people, and they had perfectly valid reasons to be upset with Joseph.

      Joseph evaded law again and again. He had arrest warrants for him in Ohio and Missouri, for perfectly valid reasons (fraud and conning people and theft of property and destruction of property such as Nauvoo Expositor that resulted in him going to Carthage jail), not religious persecution. A modern day example of Joseph Smith is Warren Jeffs. The difference? Modern day prisons have better security.

      • Not quite. And quite trite.

        Destroying the Nauvoo Expositer was destroying something they had a right to do under the Nauvoo Charter but what has reason and rights have to do the mob rule of the anti-Mormon zealots?

        What constitutes an offensive remark on this page? Offensive to the censors–kinda like those who didn’t like what the Expositor was 0printing?

        Equal opportunity and treatment under the law should be more than words carved in some old granite somewhere?

        Freedom for ye but not for we? Even to freedom to be?

      • Question: What did Orson Hyde, the husband of Marinda Nancy Johnson, know about her sealing to Joseph Smith for eternity?

        There are contradictory accounts which make it impossible to know for certain whether or not Orson knew of and consented to Marinda’s sealing for eternity to Joseph

        Marinda Nancy Johnson was married to Orson Hyde. There are contradictory accounts which make it impossible to know for certain whether or not Orson knew of and consented to Marinda’s sealing for eternity to Joseph. However, according to Hales, “If the 1842 date for the sealing between Joseph and Marinda marriage is correct, then Joseph may have been sealed to Marinda in an “eternity only” sealing without Orson Hyde’s knowledge.” Yet he also notes that “John D. Lee remembered that Orson gave his permission: ‘Hyde’s wife, with his consent, was sealed to Joseph for an eternal state.'” [1]

        There are two sealing dates for Joseph to Marinda – one during a period of one to two years after Hyde left on his mission, and one after he had already returned

        The popular story among critics is that Joseph sent Orson away on his mission so that he could quickly marry his wife Marinda. However, the first sealing date shows that Joseph was sealed to Marinda for eternity one to two years after Hyde had left on his mission, so there was nothing “quick” about it. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that this was an “eternity only” sealing typical of Joseph’s other “polyandrous” marriages involving other men’s wives. No children are known to have conceived during this time. However, upon Hyde’s return, not only did he father children by Marinda, but he also quickly asked Joseph to seal him in a new polygamous marriage of his own.

        Todd Compton: “It is striking that Marinda had no children while Orson was on his mission to Jerusalem, then became pregnant soon after Orson returned home”

        Fawn Brodie speculated that Mrs. Orson Hyde’s sons Orson and Frank “could have been Joseph’s sons.” [2] Orson Washington Hyde, born November 9, 1843, died as an infant and therefore had no descendants. DNA testing cannot help determine paternity.

        Brian Hales notes the following regarding the timeline,

        The timeline shows that Apostle Orson Hyde, Marinda’s legal husband, served a mission to Palestine from the spring of 1840 to December 7, 1842. Weeks after his return, Marinda became pregnant with Orson Washington Hyde (conception approximately February 16, 1843) who was born on November 9, 1843. Several authors alleged Joseph Smith practiced sexual polyandry with some of his plural wives including Marinda, despite a mountain of contradictory evidences [3] However, no evidence has been found to connect Joseph Smith with this child. Todd Compton observes: “It is striking that Marinda had no children while Orson was on his mission to Jerusalem, then became pregnant soon after Orson returned home.” [4] They also allege that a second son, Frank Henry Hyde, was father by Joseph Smith under the assumption that he was born January 23, 1845 (conception approximately May 2, 1844). [5] However, his birth certificate and an obituary in the The Ogden Standard, June 29, 1908, “Frank H. Hyde Dies Suddenly,” both corroborate a January 23, 1846, birthdate (May 2, 1845, approximate conception). [6][7]

        Timeline of the marital status of Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde. From the website Brian Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy off-site
        Hales continues,

        If the 1842 date for the sealing between Joseph and Marinda marriage is correct, then Joseph may have been sealed to Marinda in an “eternity only” sealing without Orson Hyde’s knowledge. While such a sealing would not have affected her civil union with Orson, a late second-hand report from exposé author Ann Eliza Webb Young states:

        When Joseph Smith first taught polygamy, and gave the wives as well as the husbands opportunity to make new choice of life-partners, Mrs. Hyde, at that time a young and quite prepossessing woman, became one of the Prophet’s numerous fancies. . . . Hyde was away on a mission at the time, and when he returned, he, in turn, imbibed the teachings of polygamy also, and prepared to extend his kingdom indefinitely. In the mean time it was hinted to him that Smith had had his first wife sealed to himself in his absence, as a wife for eternity. Inconsistent as it may seem, Hyde was in a furious passion.” [8]

        However, John D. Lee remembered that Orson gave his permission: “Hyde’s wife, with his consent, was sealed to Joseph for an eternal state.” [9] [7]

        Hyde requested that Joseph perform his own plural marriage just a few weeks after returning from his mission

        Hales concludes,

        Whatever the sequence, Orson appealed to Joseph to perform his own plural marriage weeks after returning from his mission stating in 1869: “In the month of February or March, 1843, I was married to Miss Martha R. Browitt, by Joseph Smith, the martyred prophet, and by him she was sealed to me for time and all eternity in Nauvoo, Illinois.” [10]

        The details of the relationship between Marinda and the Prophet will probably never be known. If Marinda had chosen Joseph as her eternal husband, she apparently changed her mind because she chose to be sealed to her legal husband Orson Hyde in the Nauvoo temple on January 11, 1846.

        However, Marinda Nancy Johnson relocated to Salt Lake City in 1852 and later divorced Orson Hyde. She died in 1886, having kept the faith in the Church established by her eternal husband.[7]

        The accounts of the sealing of Marinda to Joseph

        Much of what we know about the Hyde sealing is also contaminated by hostile, mutually contradictory accounts that contain some known false information.

        Author Date Claim Comments
        Sidney Rigdon[11] 1845
        Orson unaware of marriage
        Orson refused to live with wife when he found out
        Contrary to claim, Orson continued to live with Miranda and father children by her.

        William Hall[12] 1852
        Joseph demanded Miranda and all Orson’s money to let him back in the Church
        “Many jokes were cracked at his [Hyde’s] expense.”
        Very unlikely—no record of others mocking Hyde; Hall is unreliable on other marriages as well. [13] Orson’s return to the quorum was in June 1839, [14] putting Hall’s account two years too early for marriage. [15]

        Ann Eliza Young[16] 1876
        Orson did not know of marriage
        Angry when he learned of it
        Swore would not live with his wife; did so anyway.
        Too young to have any first-hand knowledge of Nauvoo, her book’s intent was clearly to titillate with stories of polygamous intrigue. Claims that Brigham told Orson that she was only to be his wife for time, and Joseph’s for eternity—but this is frankly false, since sealed to Orson in early 1846. [17] She also confuses the temporality, since she describes Hyde “in a furious passion,” because “he thought it no harm for him to win the affection of another man’s wife… but he did not propose having his rights interfered with even by the holy Prophet whose teachings he so implicitly followed” (326). Yet, Orson did not begin practicing plural marriage until after he knew of Miranda’s sealing to Joseph.

        John D. Lee[18] 1877
        “Report said that Hyde’s wife, with his consent, was sealed to Joseph for an eternal state, but I do not assert the fact.”
        Lee’s work was published posthumously and may have been altered by anti-Mormon editor.
        A biography of Marinda Nancy Johnson may be viewed on Brian and Laura Hales’ website “josephsmithspolygamy.org”. off-site

        Notes

        Jump up ↑ John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, or, The Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee and W. W. Bishop, eds. (St. Louis: Byron, Brand, 1877), 147. Lee added “but I do not assert the fact.”
        Jump up ↑ Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History, 301, 345, 465
        Jump up ↑ Brian Hales: “See also discussion regarding John Bowes Quoting William Arrowsmith Regarding Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde in Brian C. Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2013), 1:314–16.”
        Jump up ↑ Todd Compton, “Fawn Brodie on Joseph Smith’s Plural Wives and Polygamy: A Critical View,” in Reconsidering No Man Knows My History: Fawn M. Brodie and Joseph Smith in Retrospect, ed. Newell G. Bringhurst (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1996), 165.
        Jump up ↑ See Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History, 345.
        Jump up ↑ Brian Hales: “Birth certificate available at http://wiki.hanksplace.net/index.php/Image:FrankHHyde.jpg (accessed August 27, 2009). Thanks to Gregory L. Smith for identifying this. See also “Frank H. Hyde Dies Suddenly,” The Ogden Standard (June 29, 1908), 5.”
        ↑ Jump up to: 7.0 7.1 7.2 Brian Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy off-site Cite error: Invalid tag; name “halespolygamy” defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid tag; name “halespolygamy” defined multiple times with different content
        Jump up ↑ Ann Eliza Webb Young, Wife Number 19, or, The Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Hartford: Dustin, Gilman, and Co., 1876), 325–26.
        Jump up ↑ John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, or, The Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee and W. W. Bishop, eds. (St. Louis: Byron, Brand, 1877), 147. Lee added “but I do not assert the fact.”
        Jump up ↑ Affidavit of Orson Hyde, September 15, 1869, MS 3423, CHL; affidavit was copied into Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 2:45; published in Joseph Fielding Smith, Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1905), 74.
        Jump up ↑ J. GI SON DIVINE [Sidney Rigdon], “To the Sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” Latter Day Saint’s Messenger and Advocate (Pittsburgh) 1/10 (15 March 1845): 154–158.
        Jump up ↑ William Hall, Abominations of Mormonism Exposed; Containing Many Facts and Doctrines Concerning That Singular People, During Seven Year’s Membership with Them; from 1840 to 1847 (Cincinnati: I. Hart, 1852), 113.
        Jump up ↑ Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 239.
        Jump up ↑ See History of the Church, 3:345. Volume 3 link Brigham H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 2:24–25n12. GospeLink (requires subscrip.) Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 1:340 (journal entry dated 25 June 1839). ISBN 0941214133.
        Jump up ↑ See Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 238.
        Jump up ↑ Ann Eliza Young, Wife No. 19, or the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Hartford, Conn.: Custin, Gilman & Company, 1876), 324–326.
        Jump up ↑ Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 243.: “Marinda was sealed to Orson Hyde, not Smith, for time and eternity on January 11, 1846.”
        Jump up ↑ John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled; or, the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. Lee; (Written by Himself) Embracing the History of Mormonism … With an Exposition of the Secret History, Signs, Symbols and Crimes of the Mormon Church. Also the True History of the Horrible Butchery Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre (St. Louis: Bryan, Brand, 1877), 147.

    • Joseph smith was tarred and feathered because of sexual advances on a young girl (16) well before polygamy was revealed. The brothers/uncles of the girl took it upon themselves to stop Ol Joe from harming other women and children. Do they not teach true history in your church? Let me guess you believe he was tarred and feathered because he was teaching truth and the wicked were trying to stop truth from spreading in the world?
      Joseph smith also committed serious bank fraud and ordered the destruction of a printing press because it printed the truth about his polygamy and polyandry.
      When you can learn the true history about your church instead of the white washed sunday school version, maybe you will see how the LDS church plays the victim and persecution cards very well. The reality is the church and its leaders are guilty of moral bankruptcy and other truly illegal crimes.

    • Joseph Smith and all missionaries go around declaring all other religions to be false and in to a certain degree a spawn of the devil religion called catholics. But yeah, Mormons are so nice to other religions.

      Mormons love to tell others how “nice” they are, but have you truly stepped out of your Mormon indoctrinated cult to see how Mormons really treat others? The cult teaches horrible things and encourages atrocities upon others. I quit being a Mormon because I saw the history in the JosephSmithPapers.org website (church owned) and after I left, I realized how terrible Mormons are to others. They ain’t a nice people.

      • That’s a lie and oh so last century, kids.

        13 th Article of Faith is very progressive in acceptance of all truths and goodness and it yet to come.

        11th allows all mankind (and space aliens if they ever get here) to worship as they allow and claim to aim that allow others to worship whatever.

        The very fact of opposition shows the thee that is there. What mysteries of discoveries and zen-like peace that is unless accosted by virulent haters and contention seekers.

        So intellectually speaking, what is the mathematical probability that a kid makes up a tale about visions and is treated as a pariah, a hiss and a by word and then at age 23 a very nice book about the Christ and the people on this continue pours through his head in 90 days, and goes to publisher without major rewrite
        and which serious students of what it in church history in the church can find little to complain about and lots to praise.

        Hugh Nibley and all that he has found or caused to be found using hints from the BOM. The recent Chiamus discovery another one. And now the ground radar showing huge settlements once in the jungle? And they haven’t even gotten down to the layers of settlements past back to 500 AD-That is year of our lord or he whose birth marks the common era?

        Sit back and close your eyes and envision a world that never new a Christ who brought the very love some want all to feel for all others.

        So if don’t believe in God and his plan, what would one make of spontaneous development of pyramids and metal working on separate hemispheres.

    • Careful Addison, your naivety is showing. I think it is you who hasn’t been told the “whole story” Mormons were persecuted because they were coming into other people’s established communities and trying to force them to live like mormons. They tried to abuse their government positions. For example, when Joe Smith ordered the Mormon Militia to burn down a printing press because they printed something factual about him. That was an abuse of his Mayoral powers. Imagine if the Mayor of Salt Lake ordered the burning of the Salt Lake Tribune for one of their critical articles? Would that go over well, or would he be imprisoned for burning down someone’s business? Educate yourself before trying to educate others. CESletter.org is a good place to start.

      • They were New England Puritan by culture where hired hands was the usual manner of working farms and Missouri Scots Irish frontiersmen ever pushing the westwarding movement were slave owning and slave state ambitious.

        Political power was the main objection besides culture clash and picket fences why else try to keep Mormons from the polls in Galliton, Mo. Also the mobs were often led by the local ministers, circuit riders who brought the baptism and marriage ordinances to the frontier for a living. Part of the anger was because converts to Mormonism trimmed their flocks and there existed a rivalry among the sects. It was during a period called the restoration of which Ralph Waldo Emerson was main voice in America. Some congregations had organized upon wanting and hoping for restoration of apostolic church and all the old gifts. So the fields were white and ready to harvest.

        The LDS church was organized in the only place and only era that it could have. A place with no state official religion And in a time of reformation or recommitting to Christ ass was happening in the northeastern states.

    • I’m always surprised by those most vocal in defending their faith not knowing the proper punctuation and capitalization of their church’s name. It’s easy to be confused I suppose given the half dozen or so names the LDS church has had since 1830. The current iteration of their official name is, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” That’s a lower case “d” after the hyphen.

      Thanks for reminding me of the baptismal notice I received from my LDS daughter-in-law who spelled the church “Ladder Day Saints.” Always a good chuckle to be had. Class dismissed.

      • I have to smile at the grammar and spelling police on any comment thread. Like in the great scheme of things, what matters. Self importance and ego? The exact opposite of the selflessness of God.

        PS there are only two human emotions love and fear, from fear comes hate and jealousy and envy etc. So to haters, what do you or we fear? Or another truth is that when you feel anger the other person’s goal is power.

        Is the power in the promise? The last truism is that pride is the universal sin. We all got it.

    • Well… I’m speechless. Normally it behooves one to not assume anything; but in this case I’m quite certain its safe to say you have not studied any Mormon history yet. Go do that and return and report. We will then find out which you value most: loyalty or truth. And by history, whether it’s back in the 1800’s or just 30 years ago, either way the history doesn’t add up to what you perceive as reality; it’s fake, my friend.

    • Actually, the church shuns all who are not Mormon. We are called apostates. Don’t pretend you support other people and religions. You look down on all others. When does the church provide for anyone outside the church in need? Never unless it gains some political goal. The president and apostles say they earn little. Yet, they are wealthy. The church is worth billions of your hard earned 10%. It takes advantage of you all. God does not speak to the president directly. Christ never said His word should be used to create massive wealth for the few at the top. He never said to build massive multimillion dollar temples. At the end of Revelations it says, whoever changes these words shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Well, how come Joseph took it upon himself to do just that? God’s word is forever. He didn’t decide to change because people were being disobedient. His word if then, now and forever the same. It is for us to follow the truth.

      • The church shuns no one but people may choose to avoid you.

        Hate blinds. Mormon helping hands often beat the government to scenes of natural disaster, Many on the grounds serving their neighbors. In my local area the bishop has to dole out that “wealth” to all people in his ward boundaries who need and politely accept it.

        God speaks to all of us but some people think it is gut feelings? An idea pops into your head? from inside or outside your brain? IDK and don’t care just appreciate the help.

        Is religion not partially defined by the practice of it? God’s word not changing? Just the interpretation of it.

  3. Addison, please expound on what criticisms you have found to be misleading. The Mormon Church is the very essence of misleading, as is so blatantly illustrated in the lds.org essays that can easiest be found using mormonessays.com. The shameless spin and deceit used to excuse and rationalize the race ban, polygamy, Lamanite DNA, etc, is truly astounding. All one need do to see that is follow the footnotes and do your own research. Doing so it quickly becomes painfully obvious that there is nothing at work there but very mortal, very deceitful men!

  4. And so have Christians since the times of Christ, been tortured, killed, fed to lions, etc..the LDS church doesn’t have the gambit on persecution…and just as a side note, I’m sure that the Catholic Church,…and the Baptists…and the SDAs,…and Islam….and Buddhism….etc. etc. ad nauseam, will also persevere and pull through, because there is more at work there than mortal man…

  5. Of course a religion is not true or false based upon how many people believe in it. Or is it? Matthew 7:14: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Hard for a large religion to claim to be the way that leads to eternal life when scripture says to be looking for one that has few. I would not be surprised to see membership even decline for a time. However, the long game favors the Mormons. They could triple their baptismal rate IF they made changes to their currently low-buzz member-missionary program. They could increase the length of full-time missions if they chose. The birthrates and demographics are favorable and they could double-down on those. Nations like India and China have enormous LDS potential and are barely starting. Future wars, shortages, climate change, populations shifts, and so forth all potentially play to Mormon strengths and recruitment. There are no major shifts in LDS doctrine or social policies coming, but plenty of potential for significant future growth exists. The next century looks very Mormon and Muslim.

    • What’s the basis for your claims? If you look at mormonnewsroom.org and the number of units (wards/branches) reported, then multiply that by your ward’s average attendance (I’d say around 100-150, or 50 if you’re outside of USA). The best is 4.5 million active members, and can be as low as 3 million active members. Jehovah’s Witnesses reports only the active members, and they’re at 12 million. Seventh Day claims 25 million. There’s about 1.2 _billion_ catholics. To take that in context, for every “LDS member”, inactive or not, there’s 100 catholics.

      And guess what? In 2017, the number of net new wards/branches in USA was zero. There was same amount of wards/branches being closed as there were new ones opening. So the growth has reached its peak, and will start to decline as those occurs:
      People have less kids on average
      People generally become less religious
      LDS’ truth claims are scrutinized and found to be wanting (Look at LDS essays for example, heavily whitewashed versions of history that is never taught in church)
      Number of converts are dropping everywhere except in Africa, sadly Africa isn’t profitable

      The outlook for LDS church? I’d say pretty bleak. They’re slowly transitioning into real-estate business as the church arm in the corporation dries up.

    • so you look forward to wars and famines in order to increase your weird little sect? You’re so delusional.

    • I tried to teach Muslims and Hindus on my mission, but we were 100% unsuccessful. These countries are not the future of the LDS Church, aint gonna happen. The only growth these days is in poverty-stricken third world countries who look to the church for financial support, and among refugees and mentally disabled adults in first world countries who are convinced by the missionaries to join. Not a sustainable growth strategy for sure.

    • They own Melaleuka, Scentsy and more. They own Costa Vida, Kneaders and more. They own the Mariott and many radio stations and vast amounts of property. They are making mega bucks off people trying to sell their products.

  6. Anti-mormons are hilarious in that they are just as dedicated to being anti-mormon as mormons are to being mormon 😀

    • Every anti-mormon I know (and I am one) was once a very devout mormon. Perhaps we were the most devout, the purest. I don’t think you can really understand my anger unless you understand exactly how you yourself are being deceived, then it will come to you. After you understand the deception and the power structure that professes it, then it takes a while of watching your friends pregnant-wedding humiliations and depressing courts-of-love before you really develop a proficient hatred for it.

    • Most ex Mormons I know, know a lot more about the church, it’s history, it’s founder, and his teachings than the lifetime members do. People are educating themselves. Facts and truth answer questions, they don’t fear or hide from scrutiny or research. Cults limit access to outside dissenting materials. Ever hear the church say only church approved books or websites? That’s why.

  7. As a recently returned missionary from Peru, I saw declines in the number of annual baptisms not due to lack of interest, but rather due to more intensive preparation prior to being baptized. Many people with whom I interacted would be baptized quite quickly, within 3 weeks of first talking to the missionaries, but later on leave the church quickly because their decision to be baptized was not a deep life changing one. We received instruction to better prepare the investigators, and that required more time before they were baptized. This is one reason why I could see the growth rate declining. At least in that part of the world, missionary work began focusing more on the quality of conversion and less on the number of baptisms.

    • Did you teach them the essays? Until we stop publishing inacurrate info (example is incorrect pictures even after the essays were published), then we will continue to baptize many because the teaching are great… but then individuals will be crushed as they learn it’s foundation makes everything crumble.

    • I think you may be right in some form, more intensive preparation is required…because the truth of the church is available easily on the internet, missionaries can teach one thing, but investigators can find another narrative…not from anit-mormon sites but actually from the church’s own website as JM demonstrates above. If you don’t know much about the church essays, check them out, the church doesnt let the general membership know about them. In fact, some Stake Presidents and Bishops have banned and warned members not to read them…remember this is the churches own publication members are being warned against by the leaders.

      • Read CESLETTER read the BOOK OF MORMON.

        If the Book of Mormon is indeed God’s word, Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God, and the LDS Church is indeed God’s true Church.

  8. Remember the Mountain Meadow Massacre and Brigham Young’s, blood oath teachings. The church still teaches mindless, obedience to church leaders. It isn’t as radical today; however, it still is harmful to families who follow it blindly. The church members are not always innocent lambs. I hope the numbers do go down as people’s eyes are opened to the truth.

  9. Oh to be a sheep of the one true fold… I have never understood why people want to be Christs sheep. Do you know what a shepherd does with a sheep? Screws them then kills them. Actually, that is religion in a nutshell.

  10. The Church and its doctrines, covenants, and ordinances are true. I’ve not been “active” in the church my whole life. I had doubts like many of the thoughts expressed by the comments in this post, but I’ve completely overcome them as I have studied church history and doctrine more. The more I’ve studied, the more I’m convinced intellectually and spiritually that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that this Church is the Kingdom of God. It will outlive all its critics. It always has.
    Don’t go to “Judas to learn about Jesus.” It’s okay to have questions and doubts, but don’t expect them to stay. God will help you to discern the truth and to see His Hand as you exercise even a particle of faith.

  11. I’m a latter-day saint living in rural South Australia, I have read and pondered many things relating to the positives and negative happenings in the church. Conclusion the prophet Joseph Smith fulfil his part instructed by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in restoring the fullness of the gospel and then he went off the rails… Hardly the first prophet to do so… Moses wasn’t allowed in the land of Israel (and who knows how much the version of his story was watered down). Adams children murdered, other appointed leaders ordered the death of men, women and children, Jonah was going to let a whole city to die… Not exactly great examples. Humans aren’t perfect, only the Savior. But they each fulfilled Thur part. Let’s not criticise others, but be better examples ourselves.

  12. Come on people. It is really easy to discern whether Joseph Smith is a true prophet or a false prophet. Let me ask everyone a question. Do you think God would lie to believers and the world for that matter? Well let’s look at just a couple of scriptures. Christians believe the bible is God’s written word as the writer’s were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament says that elders must husbands of one wife. Opps Joseph you just annihilated that command. Polygamy run wild. How many wives did JS have? A quick search says he had 40 wives and some were as young as 14 and some were wives of other men. Ouch! The gospels record a question posed to Jesus on who of 7 brothers would be the husband of a women in heaven after they all successively married the woman after each of the brothers died. Oh, Jesus said none of the them would be since in Heaven there is no marriage or taking of a wife or husband. Now what does JS teach. Oh, something to the effect that who your married to now you will continue have “spiritual” children on your own galaxy in the afterlife. Second Ouch!! This is just a start of all of the doctrines of the Mormon church that are antithetical to what the bible teaches. People please wake up. God’s word, the bible is God’s objective word to men so that we can test those who claim to have truth like Joseph Smith. If they deviate from the bible then you can dismiss them as liars and false prophets. Joseph Smith sits in hell right now because he deceived himself or was deceived by the great deceiver himself, Satan. Get out of the false Mormon church and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  13. The Bible has so many contradictions and errors in it that it is pathetic. “No man has seen God”, but “Moses spoke to God face to face as a man speaketh to a friend”. Oops! Abraham had two wives at the same time. Jacob had 4. And Solomon? Oh my.

    And then there is the silly Trinity teaching of the folks in Rome. This is absorbed by the mobs in Christendom and foisted on the believers in such foolishness.

    My opinion: The world needed the restoration of truth and a connection with God. And thus Joseph Smith was asked to bring back the truth in these days. Otherwise, you can take your choice among the 4,000 different Christian groups. Good luck.

    I’m sticking with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the only place it exists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  14. As a gradually returning Mormon, the only thing I know is that I don’t know… but I keep hope!

    For the rest, I’m quoting South Park here:

    “Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life, and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don’t care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that’s stupid, I still choose to believe in it. All I ever did was try to be your friend, Stan, but you’re so high and mighty you couldn’t look past my religion and just be my friend back. You’ve got a lot of growing up to do, buddy. Suck my balls.”

    • Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not? Will believe in it because the church teaches what amounts to common sense? Who are you people???

  15. “self-identified refugees of religious persecution”. Missouri Execution Order issued in 1838 by Governor Boggs. It’d be rather ludicrous to infer that they were “self-identified refugees of religious persecution”. It’s very obvious that their lives were widely sought to for to take because of their, at the time, controversial ways. It is quite comparable to today’s refugees from the Middle Eastern country’s. But you know, anyone can choose to be negligent if facts and subside to their own incorrect interpretation/opinion, it is your complete right. Just a little something if anyone who stumbles upon this is interested… https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.deseretnews.com/article/700036138/Former-Missouri-governor-honored-for-rescinding-Mormon-extermination-order.amp

  16. While the growth rate has slowed, the church grew in several areas of the United States by adding new stakes:
    Henderson Nevada Anthem Hills – Jan. 15th, 2017
    St George Utah Washington Fields North Jan. 15, 2017
    Ammon Idaho East – February 19th, 2017
    Frenchtown Montana – February 26th, 2017
    Oak Harbor Washington – April 23rd, 2017
    Conroe Texas – April 30th, 2017
    Flagstaff Arizona East – May 7th, 2017
    Tomball Texas – May 21st, 2017
    Hazelwood Missouri – June 4th, 2017
    New York New York YSA – June 18th, 2017
    Eagle Mountain Utah Nolen Park – Aug. 27th, 2017
    Lehi Utah Central – August 27th, 2017
    South Jordan Utah Garden Park – Sept. 10th, 2017
    South Jordan Utah North Shore – Sept. 10th, 2017
    Morgan Utah West – September 17th, 2017
    Saratoga Springs Utah Saratoga Hills – Oct. 8th
    Craig Colorado – October 15th, 2017
    Slidell Louisiana – October 15th, 2017
    Midway Utah West – October 15th, 2017
    Blackstone Valley Massachusetts – Oct. 22nd
    Elizabethtown Kentucky – November 5th, 2017
    Billings Montana South – November 12th, 2017
    Gilbert Arizona Superstition Springs – Nov. 12th
    Las Vegas Nevada Desert Foothills – Dec. 3rd
    American Fork Utah South – December 10th, 2017

    The church discontinued two stakes in the United States in 2017, including Garden Grove California & Golden Colorado.

  17. Don’t read this if you aren’t genuinely interested in following Jesus Christ. If you are, READ the Book of Mormon. It is powerful and teaches of Jesus Christ’s atonement, resurrection, and how we all need Him (whether we feel so or not).

    Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He restored the gospel of Jesus Christ. Any humble and honest seeker of truth can have real confirmation of this truth by sincerely READING the Book of Mormon.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is run directly by the living Jesus Christ. His church will grow and use its global presence to gather Israel, all sincere seekers of Christ–(yes like sheep because they hear and follow His voice). Then when He is ready, He will come personally again and purge.

    Anti-Mormon nonsense has been circulating in full force since the First Vision. But no unhallowed hand (works, letters, comments, people inspired of evil) can stop this great work. I hope and pray for all you to humbly seek God and do all you can to learn of Jesus Christ through READING the Book of Mormon. With this as your sincere intent, you’ll know the truth of all things.

    Godspeed

  18. With everything I’ve seen brought up about “Ole Joe” in these comments, I proudly announce to the former Mormons, Thank you for strengthening my testimony in the Gospel!! some of these Insights i took to FairMormon, but really on my own, I knew for a long time that Joseph Smith did some terrible things, but that doesn’t make the gospel any less right or less true.

    On the point of Blacks holding the Priesthood, Joseph Smith had it opened to all people, and I think Brigham Young (Frankly, one of my least favorite ) was actually just racist, which mind you, the majority of Whites during this time period were racist, and the Church policy (Not Church Doctrine) reflected that part of society, And I believe BY took the church in a bad direction under his guidance. It sucks, but it happened, and I wish Blacks could have received the Priesthood sooner. Also, note on multiple occasions, apostles and prophets said that Blacks would be able to receive the Priesthood in due time (Although that was awhile ago so I don’t remember the source). I think all of them went to the Temple for guidance on the issue at least once, but none felt that it was time, which I do find rather disturbing.

    On the issue of “oh, how convenient it was that revelation came in 1890 to abolish polygamy, around when Utah was trying to become a state”. First of all, this was 34 YEARS after the first attempt by Utah to become a state, and there were numerous attempts in between to gain statehood, however, yes the only thing truly holding Utah back was the practice of Polygamy, but I think the way it was abolished is misunderstood. I know it’s subjective, but I think Woodruff’s revelation is not “Polygamy should be abolished, just because”, but rather “Polygamy must be abolished to follow in accordance with the law of the land” Which actually stands as a strongly developed teaching nowadays to follow the laws. There’s also the idea that Polygamy was necessary during the beginnings of the Church, in order for the Church to grow, and lost necessity in the 1870s-80s, otherwise, it could have easily collapsed, since the most growth at first was from childbirth.

    • Hi Guys. This has been a lengthy comments section! I just want to tell you guys on both the Mormon side and the anti-Mormon side that this has been great. I have been a super strong believer on both sides of this argument, and I am happy that I got to read all of your sense and nonsense.
      Its’ funny that you can see the pleading and passion on both sides of this discussion. Each person is desperate to be heard, because each believes that the other just can’t see the truth. We are all so diametrically opposed that we can’t see the irony.
      For just one moment, we are bound together by the incredible sameness of vulnerability, pleading into the void with a glimmer of hope that someone will hear us and for a moment we will have meant something to someone.
      So please just take this moment to appreciate being human!
      Now get back to work.

  19. I immediately discount comments from anyone that chooses to call Joseph Smith something akin to “Old Joe”. How am I supposed to respect the point of view of any human being that so clearly lacks even the most basic sense of decency with respect to his fellow human beings. If you can’t be at least respectful of the name of someone that many people revere, your further opinions really deserve little consideration – because your bias is clear and your manner is evident.

    Clearly you were never taught manners or basic civility and as a result, I find little value in your opinions.

  20. .. there is no replacement for the Church .. none .. I read and talk to people and travel .. there just is no organization in the world that teaches and supports family values like the church .. look at BYU .. there is nothing like it in the world .. nothing .. if you have children and want to educate and train them in a community the Church is it .. Thank You for that from the bottom of my heart ..

LEAVE A REPLY!

Please enter your comment!
Reader comments on dailyutahchronicle.com are the opinions of the writer, not the Daily Utah Chronicle or University of Utah Student Media. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned.

Please enter your name here