Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/Letter to a CES Director/Other Concerns & Questions

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Response to "Letter to a CES Director: Other Concerns & Questions"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Letter to a CES Director, a work by author: Jeremy Runnells

Chart CES Letter other.png

Response to section "Other Concerns & Questions"

Summary: The author notes that, "Under [Quentin L.] Cook’s counsel, FAIR and unofficial LDS apologetic websites are anti-Mormon sources that should be avoided. Not only do they introduce to Mormons 'internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders' but they provide many ridiculous answers with logical fallacies and omissions while leaving members confused and hanging with a bizarre version of Mormonism."

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Response to claim: 2013 Official Declaration 2 Header Update Dishonesty

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Offending text: "Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice."...the 2013 edition Official Declaration 2 Header in the scriptures is not only misleading, it’s dishonest. We do have records – including from the First Presidency itself – with very clear insights on the origins of the ban on the blacks.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

  • There is absolutely no record of a revelation itself ever having been received that would account for the initiation of the priesthood ban.
  • The presidency of George Albert Smith offered their belief that the priesthood ban was a "direct commandment from the Lord", but, once again, there is no document explaining the initiation of the ban.



Logical Fallacy: Genetic—The author determines whether something is truthful or false on the basis of who said it.

The author assumes that any discrepancy in information from the Church is the result of "dishonesty."

Gospel Topics: "During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood"

"Race and the Priesthood," Gospel Topics on LDS.org (2013):

During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood. One of these men, Elijah Abel, also participated in temple ceremonies in Kirtland, Ohio, and was later baptized as proxy for deceased relatives in Nauvoo, Illinois. There is no evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.[1]


Question: What do we know about the origin of the priesthood ban on Church members of African descent?

The Church has never provided an official reason for the ban

The origin of the priesthood ban is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Its origins are not clear, and this affected both how members and leaders have seen the ban, and the steps necessary to rescind it. The Church has never provided an official reason for the ban, although a number of Church leaders offered theories as to the reason for its existence. The Church currently provides the following background information regarding the initiation of the ban in its Gospel Topics essay "Race and the Priesthood":

In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church. [2]

Given that none of these theories regarding the reason for the ban is accepted today, Church members have generally taken one of three perspectives:

  • Some members assume that the ban was based on revelation to Joseph Smith, and was continued by his successors until President Kimball. However, Joseph Smith did ordain several men of African descent to the priesthood.
  • Some believe that the ban did not originate with Joseph Smith, but was implemented by Brigham Young. The evidence supports the idea that Brigham Young implemented it, but there is no record of an actual revelation having been received regarding it.
  • Some believe that the ban began as a series of administrative policy decisions, rather than a revealed doctrine, and drew partly upon ideas regarding race common in mid-19th century America. The passage of time gave greater authority to this policy than intended.

The difficulty in deciding between these options arises because:

  • there is no contemporary account of a revelation underlying the ban; but
  • many early members nevertheless believed that there had been such a revelation; and
  • priesthood ordination of African blacks was a rare event, which became even more rare with time.

The history behind the practice in the modern Church of withholding the priesthood based on race is described well by Lester Bush in a 1984 book.[3] A good timeline can be found at FairMormon's BlackLDS site: FairMormon link.

Many leaders have indicated that the Church does not know why the ban was in place

  • Gordon B. Hinckley in an interview:
Q: So in retrospect, was the Church wrong in that [not ordaining blacks]?
A [Pres. Hinckley]: No, I don't think it was wrong. It, things, various things happened in different periods. There's a reason for them.
Q: What was the reason for that?
A: I don't know what the reason was. But I know that we've rectified whatever may have appeared to be wrong at the time.[4]
  • Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
If you read the scriptures with this question in mind, 'Why did the Lord command this or why did he command that,' you find that in less than one in a hundred commands was any reason given. It's not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do, we're on our own. Some people put reasons to [the ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that.... The lesson I've drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it.
...I'm referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking.
...Let's [not] make the mistake that's been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that's where safety lies.[5]
  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
One clear-cut position is that the folklore must never be perpetuated. ... I have to concede to my earlier colleagues. ... They, I'm sure, in their own way, were doing the best they knew to give shape to [the policy], to give context for it, to give even history to it. All I can say is however well intended the explanations were, I think almost all of them were inadequate and/or wrong. ...
It probably would have been advantageous to say nothing, to say we just don't know, and, [as] with many religious matters, whatever was being done was done on the basis of faith at that time. But some explanations were given and had been given for a lot of years. ... At the very least, there should be no effort to perpetuate those efforts to explain why that doctrine existed. I think, to the extent that I know anything about it, as one of the newer and younger ones to come along, ... we simply do not know why that practice, that policy, that doctrine was in place.[6]
  • Elder Alexander B. Morrison:
We do not know.[7]

Is racial prejudice acceptable?

  • President Hinckley in priesthood session of General Conference:
Racial strife still lifts its ugly head. I am advised that even right here among us there is some of this. I cannot understand how it can be. It seemed to me that we all rejoiced in the 1978 revelation given President Kimball. I was there in the temple at the time that that happened. There was no doubt in my mind or in the minds of my associates that what was revealed was the mind and the will of the Lord.
Now I am told that racial slurs and denigrating remarks are sometimes heard among us. I remind you that no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ. How can any man holding the Melchizedek Priesthood arrogantly assume that he is eligible for the priesthood whereas another who lives a righteous life but whose skin is of a different color is ineligible?
Throughout my service as a member of the First Presidency, I have recognized and spoken a number of times on the diversity we see in our society. It is all about us, and we must make an effort to accommodate that diversity.
Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.
Brethren, there is no basis for racial hatred among the priesthood of this Church. If any within the sound of my voice is inclined to indulge in this, then let him go before the Lord and ask for forgiveness and be no more involved in such.[8]


Question: Did Joseph Smith confer the priesthood on several black men?

Missouri was a slave state, and the locals persecuted the Missouri saints and destroyed their press in part because of W. W. Phelps's editorials supporting abolition

As Mormons settled into Missouri, some of their viewpoints about slavery (D&C 101:79,87:4) did not mesh well with those of the older settlers. The 1831 Nat Turner Rebellion left many southerners nervous as church leaders later recognized: "All who are acquainted with the situation of slave States, know that the life of every white is in constant danger, and to insinuate any thing which could possibly be interpreted by a slave, that it was not just to hold human beings in bondage, would be jeopardizing the life of every white inhabitant in the country."[9] Unfortunately, this recognition came after mobs persecuted the Missouri saints and destroyed their press in part because of W. W. Phelps's editorials supporting abolition.[10]

Early missionaries were instructed to not teach or baptize slaves without their master's consent, but Joseph Smith conferred the priesthood on several free black men

Under these precarious conditions, early missionaries were instructed to not teach or baptize slaves without their master's consent (see D&C 134:12). Late, perhaps unreliable, recollections suggest that Joseph Smith received inspiration that blacks should not be ordained while contemplating the situation in the South.[11] These accounts must be weighed against records of free blacks receiving the priesthood such as Black Pete (1831 OH), Elijah Abel (1835 OH), Joseph T. Ball (1837 MA), Isaac van Meter (<1837 ME), and Walker and Enoch Lewis (Fall 1843-Nov. 1844 MA). Since Ohio had a law discouraging Blacks from migrating there, this put a damper on early proselyting efforts which were largely based on the principle of the gathering.[12] Parley Pratt wrote in 1839 that the Church had less than a dozen Black members.[13]

Those who hold that the ban had a revelatory basis see the early ordinations as events which occurred prior to the revelation or without knowledge of it, while those who see the ban as more of a social/cultural phenomenon point to these ordinations as an example of the "pragmatic grounds" upon which decisions about black ordination were made.

Outsiders do not seem to have regarded members of the Church in the 1830s as sharing typical American ideas about race

Outsiders do not seem to have regarded members of the Church in the 1830s as sharing typical American ideas about race. In 1835, a skeptical account of their doctrines and beliefs noted:

As the promulgators of this extraordinary legend maintain the natural equality of mankind, without excepting the native Indians or the African race, there is little reason to be surprised at the cruel persecution by which they have suffered, and still less at the continued accession of converts among those who sympathize with the wrongs of others or seek an asylum for their own.

The preachers and believers of the following doctrines were not likely to remain, unmolested, in the State of Missouri.

“The Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal, &c. He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness: and he denieth none that come unto him; black and white—bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” Again: “Behold! the Lamanites, your brethren, whom ye hate, because of their filthiness and the cursings which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father, &c. Wherefore the Lord God will not destroy them; but will be merciful to them; and one day they shall become [58] a blessed people.” “O my brethren, I fear, that, unless ye shall repent of your sins, that their skins shall be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God*. Wherefore a commandment I give unto you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins,” &c. “The king saith unto him, yea! if the Lord saith unto us, go! we will go down unto our brethren, and we will be their slaves, until we repair unto them the many murders and sins, which we have committed against them. But Ammon saith unto him, it is against the law of our brethren, which was established by my father, that there should any slaves among them. Therefore let us go down and rely upon the mercies of our brethren.”[14]


Response to claim: "The Church debunks FAIR and ironically contradicts its own 2013 Official Declaration 2 header with the release of its December 6, 2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

The Church debunks FAIR and ironically contradicts its own 2013 Official Declaration 2 header with the release of its December 6, 2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The falsehood: We are not following the author's logic on how the "Church debunks FAIR" or how the 2013 Official Declaration 2 header contradicts the 2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood.The facts:FairMormon's position has always been the following:
  1. That Joseph Smith ordained several black men to the priesthood.
  2. That the ban started after Joseph Smith, sometime during Brigham Young's tenure.
  3. That there were a variety of speculative reasons given for the ban, and there has never been a revelation found or referred to that initiated the ban.

As far as we can tell, these are the positions given by both the 2013 Official Declaration 2 header and the 2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood.

2013 Official Declaration 2 header:

The Book of Mormon teaches that “all are alike unto God,” including “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the history of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity in many countries have been baptized and have lived as faithful members of the Church. During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood. Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance. The revelation came to Church President Spencer W. Kimball and was affirmed to other Church leaders in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978. The revelation removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood.

To summarize the 2013 Offical Declaration 2 header:

  1. "During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood" (Joseph Smith ordained several black men)
  2. "Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent" (The ban started after Joseph Smith, sometime during Brigham Young's tenure)
  3. "Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice" (There were a variety of speculative reasons given for the ban, and there has never been a revelation found or referred to that initiated the ban)

2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood:

During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood. One of these men, Elijah Abel, also participated in temple ceremonies in Kirtland, Ohio, and was later baptized as proxy for deceased relatives in Nauvoo, Illinois. There is no reliable evidence that any black men were denied the priesthood during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. In a private Church council three years after Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young praised Q. Walker Lewis, a black man who had been ordained to the priesthood, saying, “We have one of the best Elders, an African.”4

In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood, though thereafter blacks continued to join the Church through baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Following the death of Brigham Young, subsequent Church presidents restricted blacks from receiving the temple endowment or being married in the temple. Over time, Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions. None of these explanations is accepted today as the official doctrine of the Church.

To summarize the 2013 essay on Race and the Priesthood:

  1. "During the first two decades of the Church’s existence, a few black men were ordained to the priesthood" (Joseph Smith ordained several black men)
  2. "In 1852, President Brigham Young publicly announced that men of black African descent could no longer be ordained to the priesthood" (The ban started after Joseph Smith, sometime during Brigham Young's tenure)
  3. "Church leaders and members advanced many theories to explain the priesthood and temple restrictions" (There were a variety of speculative reasons given for the ban, and there has never been a revelation found or referred to that initiated the ban)

The 2013 essay disavowed the theories that had been put forth regarding the origin of the ban.

We do not see the contradiction in any of these statements.



Question: Why did Brigham Young initiate the priesthood ban?

The start of Brigham Young's administration saw a continuation of Joseph Smith's policies

The start of Brigham Young's administration saw a continuation of Joseph Smith's policies. William McCary was baptized and ordained at Winter Quarters in October 1846. The following March, Brigham acknowledged the validity of the ordination of Walker Lewis that likely occurred during Joseph's tenure, "we [have] one of the best Elders an African in Lowell [,MA] -- a barber." [15]

The priesthood ban became more comprehensive to include not only slaves and free blacks in the South, but all persons deemed to have inherited the curse of Cain through Ham

The priesthood ban then became more comprehensive to include not only slaves and free blacks in the South, but all persons deemed to have inherited the curse of Cain through Ham. Three pivotal events in this development were the apostasy of William McCary, the interracial marriage of Walker Lewis's son, and the passing of slavery legislation in Utah Territory.

McCary approached Brigham Young with complaints that racial discrimination was a motive behind other Mormon leaders questioning his strange teachings. President Young satisfied McCary that ideally race should not be the issue. Praising Walker Lewis as an example, Young suggested "Its nothing to do with the blood for [from] one blood has God made all flesh" and later added "we don't care about the color." [16] Shortly thereafter McCary was excommunicated for apostasy. In April, Brigham Young departed with the vanguard pioneer company for the Rocky Mountains only to return around December to face additional race-based problems.

In April, Elder Parley P. Pratt had warned of the Saints about following schisms led by those like James Strang and William McCary. Significantly he referred to William McCary as "this black man who has got the blood of Ham in him which linege was cursed as regards the priesthood".[17] McCary had married a Stake President's white daughter and advocated polygamy before his excommunication and afterward he began drawing away Mormon women to be sealed to him in a carnal manner.

Brigham was adamantly against racial amalgamation

Also awaiting Brigham was William Appleby, the president over eastern branches of the Church. He had encountered the Lewises and suspected William Smith had acted improperly by ordaining a black elder. He was also alarmed that Enoch Lewis had married a white wife and had a child. Brigham responded to this news in a manner that is, by modern sensitivities, quite disturbing. He was adamantly against racial amalgamation (see Brigham Young on race mixing for more context). While allowing that interracial couples should not be denied baptism, he introduced a ban on temple service for them and/or their offspring.

Brigham Young never presented a specific revelation on priesthood or temple restrictions he imposed

However, Brigham Young did not present a specific revelation on priesthood or temple restrictions he imposed. A definitive statement wasn't made by him until 1852 in a legislative, rather than ecclesiastical forum. Governor Young declared "any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] ... in him cannot hold the priesthood and if no other Prophet ever spake it before I will say it now in the name of Jesus Christ I know it is true and others know it." [18] Like the Missouri period, the Saints were externally pressured to adopt racial policies as a political compromise. At the time, this was deemed to be the best pathway to statehood.

Those who believe the ban had a revelatory basis point to these pivotal events as examples of a prophet learning "line upon line," with revelation being implemented more rigorously. Those who see the influence of cultural factors and institutional practice behind the ban consider this evidence that the ban was based on Brigham's cultural and scriptural assumptions, and point out that such beliefs were common among most Christians in Antebellum America.[19]


Question: What did Church leaders after Brigham Young think of the priesthood ban?

John Taylor conducted an investigation and concluded the policy had started under Joseph Smith, rather than Brigham Young

In 1879, John Taylor conducted an investigation and concluded the policy had started under Joseph Smith, rather than Brigham Young, despite receiving mixed information.[20] As part of this investigation Zebedee Coltrin recalled that Joseph Smith said in 1834 that "the Spirit of the Lord saith the Negro had no right nor cannot hold the Priesthood." However, this claim is suspect given Coltrin's errors on the circumstances of Elijah Abel's ordination, participation in Kirtland temple ordinances, and retention in the Seventies quorum all under the supervision of Joseph Smith.[21]

President George Q. Cannon in 1895 asserted that some of Young's teachings about miscegenation and the seed of Cain had first been taught by Joseph Smith.[22]

B.H. Roberts was the first to argue, based on the Book of Abraham, that the curse of Cain had continued to modern blacks through the lineage of Ham

Nearly forty years after the ban started, B.H. Roberts was the first to argue, based on the Book of Abraham, that the curse of Cain had continued to modern blacks through the lineage of Ham.[23]

George Albert Smith, indicated that the priesthood ban had been imposed by "direct commandment from the Lord"

President George Albert Smith, indicated that the priesthood ban had been imposed by "direct commandment from the Lord."

The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.
—First Presidency statement, August 17, 1949

Joseph Fielding Smith opined that blacks may have been less valiant in the pre-mortal conflict between God and Satan

Joseph Fielding Smith opined that blacks may have been less valiant in the pre-mortal conflict between God and Satan (however, he rejected that they may have been neutral in the war in heaven).[24]

David O. McKay believed that the ban was "not doctrine but...policy"

  • David O. McKay believed that the ban was "not doctrine but...policy," as reported by Sterling McMurrin,[25] his son Llewelyn McKay,[26] and Elder Paul H. Dunn.[27] President McKay told Elder Marion D. Hanks that "he had pleaded and pleaded with the Lord, but had not had the answer he sought."[28]
  • The "Missouri policy theory" attributing the ban to Joseph Smith arising from condition in Missouri was first popularized in 1970 by author Stephen Taggert,[29] and President Hugh B. Brown reportedly embraced it.[30] Other authors found this theory wanting.[31]

Harold B. Lee was inclined to reconfirm the ban

  • Harold B. Lee was inclined to reconfirm the ban,[32] though Church Historian Leonard Arrington
...asserts that President Lee, shortly before his death, sought the Lord's will on the question of blacks and the priesthood during'three days and nights [of] fasting in the upper room of the temple,...but the only answer he received was "not yet." Arrington relied on an unidentified person close to President Lee, but President Lee's son-in-law and biographer found no record of such an incident and thought it doubtful.[33]

Following Joseph Fielding Smith's death, President Lee did say, "For those who don't believe in modern revelation there is no adequate explanation. Those who do understand revelation stand by and wait until the Lord speaks...It's only a matter of time before the black achieves full status in the Church. We must believe in the justice of God. The black will achieve full status, we're just waiting for that time."[34]

President Kimball said that the day might come when they would be given the priesthood, but should the day come it will be a matter of revelation

President Kimball began his administration by holding a press conference. When asked about the ban, he said:

[I have given it] "a great deal of thought, a great deal of prayer. The day might come when they would be given the priesthood, but that day has not come yet. Should the day come it will be a matter of revelation. Before changing any important policy, it has to be through a revelation from the Lord."[35]

He had previously written to his son:

"...I have wished the Lord had given us a little more clarity in the matter. But for me, it is enough...I know the Lord could change His policy and release the ban and forgive the possible error (?) which brought about the deprivation. If the time comes, that He will do, I am sure."[36]

In 1976, he mentioned

"his concern for giving the priesthood to all men, and said that he had been praying about it for fifteen years without an answer...but I am going to keep praying about it."[37]


Response to claim: "Zina Diantha Huntington Young"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director make(s) the following claim:

The following is a quick biographic snapshot of Zina:

She was married for 7.5 months and was 6 months pregnant with her first husband, Henry Jacobs, when she married Joseph after being told Joseph’s life was in danger from an angel with a flaming sword. (April 2013 revision)
She was married for 7.5 months and was about 6 months pregnant with her first husband, Henry Jacobs, when she married Joseph after being told Joseph’s life was in danger from an angel with a drawn sword. (October 2014 revision)

After Joseph’s death, she married Brigham Young and had Young’s baby while her first husband, Henry, was on a mission.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Henry and Zina's marriage "for time" had ended by the time she was married to Brigham Young. She could not have married Brigham while Henry was away on a mission since Henry Jacobs stood as proxy for Zina's post-martyrdom sealing to Joseph, and her marriage for time to Brigham Young. And let's not ignore Zina's role in the decision to do so - she chose to do this.



Question: Why would Joseph be sealed to the wife of someone who was not only married to someone else, but pregnant with her husband's child?

Joseph asked Zina three times to marry him before she married Henry

Zina huntington jacobs 2.jpg

In 1839, at age 18, Zina arrived with her parents in Nauvoo after being driven out of Missouri. Faithful LDS missionary Henry Jacobs courted her during 1840–41. At the same time, Joseph Smith had taught Zina the doctrine of plural marriage, and thrice asked her to marry him. She declined each time, and she and Henry were wed 7 March 1841. [38] Zina and Henry were married by John C. Bennett, then mayor of Nauvoo. They had invited Joseph to perform the ceremony, but Bennett stepped in when Joseph did not arrive:

…Zina asked the Prophet to perform the marriage. They went to the Clerk’s office and the Prophet did not arrive, so they were married by John C. Bennett. When they saw Joseph they asked him why he didn’t come, and he told them the Lord had made it known to him that she was to be his Celestial wife. [39]

Zina and Henry were aware of Joseph's plural marriage teachings and his proposal to Zina

Family tradition holds, then, that Zina and Henry were aware of Joseph's plural marriage teachings and his proposal to Zina. While this perspective is late and after-the-fact, it is consistent with the Jacobs' behaviour thereafter. Zina's family also wrote that Henry believed that "whatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man." [40]

On 27 October 1841, Zina was sealed to Joseph Smith by her brother, Dimick Huntington. She was six months pregnant by Henry, and continued to live with him.


Question: Did Joseph Smith and Brigham Young steal Henry Jacobs' family?

This plaque located in the Church History Museum mentions Zina's sealing to Joseph Smith and marriage to Brigham Young (Photo taken in 2012)

Zina had refused Joseph's suit three times and chosen to marry Henry, but then decided to be sealed to Joseph

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young's "mistreatment" of Henry and their "theft" of his family have received a great deal of publicity, thanks to late 19th century anti-Mormon sources, and Fawn Brodie increased their cachet for a 20th century audience. [41] For present purposes, we will focus on Zina. She had refused Joseph's suit three times, and chosen to marry Henry. Why did she decide to be sealed to Joseph?

Zina stated that God had prepared her mind for Joseph's teachings even before she had heard them

When interrogated by a member of the RLDS Church, Zina refused to be drawn into specifics. She made her motivations clear, and explained that God had prepared her mind for Joseph's teachings even before she had heard them:

Q. "Can you give us the date of that marriage with Joseph Smith?"
A. "No, sir, I could not."
Q. "Not even the year?"
A. "No, I do not remember. It was something too sacred to be talked about; it was more to me than life or death. I never breathed it for years. I will tell you the facts. I had dreams—I am no dreamer but I had dreams that I could not account for. I know this is the work of the Lord; it was revealed to me, even when young. Things were presented to my mind that I could not account for. When Joseph Smith revealed this order [Celestial marriage] I knew what it meant; the Lord was preparing my mind to receive it." [42]

Henry Jacobs stood as proxy for Zina's post-martyrdom sealing to Joseph, and her marriage for time to Brigham Young

Henry was to stand as proxy for Zina's post-martyrdom sealing to Joseph, and her marriage for time to Brigham Young. He and Zina separated soon thereafter, and Henry was soon gone on one of his many missions for the Church. [43]

Zina herself clearly explains the basis for her choice:

…when I heard that God had revealed the law of Celestial marriage that we would have the privilege of associating in family relationships in the worlds to come, I searched the scriptures and by humble prayer to my Heavenly Father I obtained a testimony for myself that God had required that order to be established in his Church. [44] Faced with questions from her RLDS interviewer that she felt exceeded propriety, Zina became evasive. She finally terminated the interview by saying, "Mr. Wight, you are speaking on the most sacred experiences of my life…."[45]


Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs

Question: What did the husband of Zina D. Huntington know about her sealing to Joseph Smith for eternity?

Zina married Henry Jacobs in 1840, and was sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity in 1841

Zina married Henry Jacobs in 1840, and was sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity in 1841,

Be it remembered that on this first day of May A.D. eighteen sixty nine before me Elias Smith Probate Judge for Said County personally appeared, Zina Diantha Huntington ^Young^ who was by me Sworn in due form of law, and upon her oath Saith, that on the twenty-Seventh day of October A.D. 1841, at the City of Nauvoo, County of Hancock, State of Illinois, She was married or Sealed to Joseph Smith, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, by Dimick B. Huntington, a High Priest in Said Church, according to the laws of the same; regulating marriage; In the presence of Fanny Maria Huntington. [46]

There are many stories and accusations related to the marriage of Zina and Henry, and her sealing to Joseph. For details regarding each of these allegations, see Brian and Laura Hales, "Zina Diantha Huntington," josephsmithspolygamy.org off-site.

See also: Allen Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," FAIR Conference, 2006.


Response to claim: "Brigham Young Sunday School Manual...deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

In the Church’s Sunday School manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, the Church changed the word “wives” to “[wife]”. Not only is the manual deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist....

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

  • So, the author actually believes that the Church was trying to hide the fact that Brigham Young, arguably the most famous polygamist in the United States, did not have multiple wives?
  • Note: This was the Priesthood/Relief Society Manual, not the Sunday School Manual.



Question: Does Church manual, The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, attempt to "hide history" by portraying Brigham Young (a well-known polygamist) as having only one wife?

It is fairly common knowledge, both inside and outside of the Church, that Brigham Young was not a monogomist

Some would like to suggest that the Church has been attempting to "fool" its membership into thinking Brigham was a monogamist, when it is fairly common knowledge, both inside and outside of the Church, that he was not. Many US history textbooks used in public high schools mention Brigham's polygamy, for example, and most news stories and other mentions of the Church in modern media will mention polygamy, so it would seem odd (and a bit futile) for the Church to attempt to rewrite this aspect of its history by means of a single lesson in a single manual.

The use of square brackets is an accepted editorial convention when a later author wants to use an earlier author's words but change them slightly to fit a different purpose

Furthermore, the use of square brackets is an accepted editorial convention when a later author wants to use an earlier author's words but change them slightly to fit a different purpose without changing the overall message of the quote. In the case of the quote in question, Brigham Young is giving counsel to a group of men on how they can be good leaders in their families, which for many of them at the time would have included polygamous marriages. In the modern church, members would only have one spouse, yet the counsel on how to be good leaders of families is still relevant, though it would require an editorial change (clearly marked in square brackets) to change "wives" to "wife".

Brigham the monogamist.jpg


Question: What does The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young say about Brigham's wives?

The manual mentions his marriage to and the death of his first wife and his subsequent remarriage to Mary Ann Angel, but does not discuss his other marriage relationships or family life

A review of the manual itself reveals that it does not claim Brigham Young "only has one wife," nor does it "paint [him] as a monogamist." In fact, it primarily concentrates on Brigham's teachings, and only briefly touches on his personal life.

Brief biographical information on Brigham appears in a one-page "Historical Summary." [47] Chapter 1, "The Ministry of Brigham Young," also has some biographical data, although it almost exclusively focuses on his conversion, missionary experiences, calling to the Quorum of the Twelve, and colonization and leadership of Utah. The Historical Summary and Chapter 1 both mention his marriage to and the death of his first wife, Miriam Works, [48] and his subsequent remarriage to Mary Ann Angel. [49] Other than that, they do not discuss his marriage relationships or family life.

In Chapter 23, "Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage," two instances of the term "wives" were modified to "[wife]," with brackets included to notify the reader of the editorial change. Since the statements did not refer to Brigham's own wives, but were part of his counsel to men regarding their marriages, the edited reading is easier for today's Latter-day Saints, none of whom are married to more than one wife.

The next manual in the series, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, stated "This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles"

The next manual in the instructional series—Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith—includes this clarifying statement in the "Historical Summary" of President Smith's life:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Joseph F. Smith. However, in order to put the teachings in a historical framework, the following list is provided to summarize some of the milestones in his life that have most immediate relationship to his teachings. This summary omits some important events in his personal life, including his marriages (plural marriage was being practiced in the Church at that time) and the births and deaths of his children, to whom he was devoted. [50]

This explanation, which is almost certainly directed at detractors of the Brigham Young manual, clarifies that the purpose of the series is not biographical or historical, but didactical. Other Church publications that are historical discuss the subject of plural marriage and its practice among the Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth century. [51]

The quotations in the Brigham Young manual are not referring to Brigham's wives, but the wives of the men that he was addressing

Note also that a careful reading of the quotations as shown in the Brigham Young manual or in their original sources (which are clearly referenced in the manual) will show that Brigham is not actually referring to his own wives and family in these quotes but to the families of the people he was addressing, so the suggestion that this quote somehow recasts Brigham as a monogamist is somewhat puzzling. The fact that the author of the letter mentions changing "wives" to "wife" in the Brigham Young manual without sharing the actual quote, which provides this additional explanatory context, suggests that this criticism is borrowed from elsewhere, since many sectarian critics of the church picked up on this story when the manual first came out and characterized it in similar terms and without the proper context, as the author has done here. A FairMormon publication by Mike Parker, "The Church’s Portrayal of Brigham Young," explains further:

In Chapter 23, “Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage,” two instances of the term “wives” were modified to “[wife],” with brackets included to notify the reader of the editorial change. Since the statements did not refer to Brigham’s own wives, but were part of his counsel to men regarding their marriages, the edited reading is easier for today’s Latter-day Saints, none of whom are married to more than one wife.

The next manual in the instructional series–Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith–includes this clarifying statement in the “Historical Summary” of President Smith’s life:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Joseph F. Smith. However, in order to put the teachings in a historical framework, the following list is provided to summarize some of the milestones in his life that have most immediate relationship to his teachings. This summary omits some important events in his personal life, including his marriages (plural marriage was being practiced in the Church at that time) and the births and deaths of his children, to whom he was devoted.10

This explanation, which is almost certainly directed at detractors of the Brigham Young manual, clarifies that the purpose of the series is not biographical or historical, but didactical. Other Church publications that are historical discuss the subject of plural marriage and its practice among the Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth century.11

The Brigham Young manual and the manuals that followed it include selected teachings on selected subjects that have application to subjects of concern to today's Latter-day Saints. They do not teach history, but how to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite the complaints of its detractors, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not engaged in a cover up, nor is it attempting to hide an "embarrassing past."


Response to claim: Brigham Young Sunday School Manual - "I never claimed that the quotes referred to Brigham Young’s own wives"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

I never claimed that the quotes referred to Brigham Young’s own wives. It’s obvious from Brigham’s talk that he was referring to other men and that their polygamous wives. FAIR is creating a strawman by misrepresenting my argument....Again, I never claimed that Brigham was referring to his own wives in the altered quotes. FAIR is grasping at straws here. I demonstrate above how the manual is deceptive because there is not one mention about Brigham’s 53 wives and 49 children and polygamy despite discussing his pre-polygamy first wife and then his pre-polygamy second wife (after his first wife passed) along with the children from those non-polygamous marriages. The manual presents a monogamous Brigham Young.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

Here is the entire text of the original "Letter to a CES Director" related to the "Brigham Young Sunday School Manual". This is what FairMormon responded to:

Brigham Young Sunday School Manual:

  • In the Church’s Sunday School manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, the Church changed the word “wives” to “[wife]”.
  • Not only is the manual deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist but it’s deceptive in hiding Brigham Young’s real teaching on marriage: “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.” – Journal of Discourses 11:269




Logical Fallacy: Special Pleading—The author creates a one-sided argument by including favorable data and excluding unfavorable data through improper means. In this case, the author "moved the goalpost" by changing his argument when his original claim was shown to be false.

  • The author originally said, "In the Church’s Sunday School manual, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, the Church changed the word “wives” to “[wife]”. Not only is the manual deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist..."
  • The author's response is now, "I never claimed that the quotes referred to Brigham Young’s own wives", and asserts that the manual is deceptive because "there is not one mention about Brigham's 53 wives..." The author "moved the goal post" once he became informed that the use of square brackets in this manner wasn't actually a deceptive practice.

Response to claim: "the Church presents a monogamist Brigham Young in its Brigham Young manual"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

So, why offer dirt on Brigham and bring up the ugly polygamy card when you’re in control of the conversation and material? Why not pretend polygamy never happened while stopping short of denying it?...

the Church presents a monogamist Brigham Young in its Brigham Young manual. When it refers to Brigham’s biographical history, they present a monogamist Brigham Young...It continues on in listing all the many events, achievements, and challenges that Young went through in his life but there is zero mention of Young’s polygamy.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The Church is not using the Brigham Young manual to "pretend polygamy never happened while stopping short of denying it."



Question: Did the Church attempt to hide Brigham Young's practice of plural marriage in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual?

The manual, which is focused on Brigham Young's teachings rather than his history, was perceived by some to be minimizing or hiding Brigham's otherwise well-known practice of plural marriage

The Historical Summary and Chapter 1 of the Brigham Young manual both mention his marriage to and the death of his first wife, Miriam Works, and his subsequent remarriage to Mary Ann Angel, but they do not discuss his other marriage relationships. The manual, which is focused on Brigham Young's teachings rather than his history (thus the title "Teachings of the Presidents of the Church"), was perceived by some to be minimizing or hiding Brigham's otherwise well-known practice of plural marriage.

The Church added a clarification regarding plural marriage to subsequent manuals that clarified that the manuals were focused on teachings rather than history

The Church clarified this in the next manual that was released, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, which stated:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Joseph F. Smith. However, in order to put the teachings in a historical framework, the following list is provided to summarize some of the milestones in his life that have most immediate relationship to his teachings. This summary omits some important events in his personal life, including his marriages (plural marriage was being practiced in the Church at that time) and the births and deaths of his children, to whom he was devoted. [52]

A similar statement appears in Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant:

This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Heber J. Grant. The following chronology provides a brief historical framework for these teachings. It omits significant events in secular history, such as wars and worldwide economic crises. It also omits many important events in President Grant’s personal life, such as his marriages and the births and deaths of his children. [53]

And, of course, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith:

This book deals with teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith that have application to our day....This book also does not discuss plural marriage. The doctrines and principles relating to plural marriage were revealed to Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The Prophet taught the doctrine of plural marriage, and a number of such marriages were performed during his lifetime.
—The 2008-2009 lesson manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, (2007), pages vii–xiii (emphasis added)


Response to claim: "The manuals do teach history along with didactical lessons"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

It should be obvious to any reader who reads Chapter 1 that the manual includes biographical and historical information on Brigham Young; not just didactical....Again, this is a false claim. The manuals do teach history along with didactical lessons.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author makes it appear that the manuals are primarily focused on history with his statement that they are intended to "teach history along with didactical lessons." The opposite is true: The manuals are intended to be instructional, and any history that is included is intended to support concepts used in specific lessons.
  • The primary purpose of the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manual series is instructional (the meaning of the word "didactical" in this case).
  • Any historical information is secondary and included only in support of the lesson being taught.
  • The manuals are not intended to be historical primers. They will not include a comprehensive history of the prophet being discussed.
  • As the Church states in the manuals subsequent to Brigham Young: "This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by...".



Logical Fallacy: Special Pleading—The author creates a one-sided argument by including favorable data and excluding unfavorable data through improper means. In this case, the author "moved the goalpost" by changing his argument when his original claim was shown to be false.

The author is responding to an argument that nobody is making.
  • Nobody is disputing that the manual contains a "brief historical framework" for the teachings discussed.
  • Nobody is disputing that some historical items are included in support of the lessons.
  • The argument, as put forth by the Church in subsequent manuals, is that the manual is not intended to be a complete history.

Response to claim: "Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine. Yesterday’s prophet is today’s heretic"

The author(s) of Debunking FairMormon - Letter to a CES Director (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Brigham Young: “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.”

Gordon B. Hinckley: “Polygamy is not doctrinal.” Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine. Yesterday’s prophet is today’s heretic.

Notice that the speculation is not on whether or not there is polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom. The speculation is on whether it is a requirement “for all who enter” the Celestial Kingdom. Yet, you have President Hinckley clearly stating that polygamy is not doctrinal.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author wishes to imply that President Hinckley was lying, however, we do not practice polygamy in the 21st century - it used to be doctrinal, and is no longer doctrinal. Hinckley is not saying that polygamy is "false doctrine": he is saying that it is not currently part of our doctrine.

Nobody in the Church considers Brigham Young a heretic. If the author looks at the part of Brigham's quote that he didn't show us, he will see that Brigham did not state that polygamy was a requirement for all who enter the Celestial Kingdom.



Question: Did Gordon B. Hinckley claim that polygamy was "not doctrinal" on Larry King Live?

Hinckley said that he condemned polygamy as a practice because he thought that it was not doctrinal

Gordon B. Hinckley made the following statement on Larry King Live on September 8, 1998 with regard to the practice of polygamy:

I condemn it [polygamy], yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal. It is not legal. And this church takes the position that we will abide by the law. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, magistrates in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law.


Question: How can President Hinckley claim that polygamy is "not doctrinal" if it was a required practice in the 19th-Century Church?

The Church no longer teaches polygamy as doctrine, despite the fact that it was doctrine in the 19th-Century Church

Despite the fact that rules regarding polygamy are outlined in D&C 132, the Church no longer teaches it as doctrine. It was taught as doctrine in the 1800's, it is not taught as doctrine today. There is no doctrine that allows the present practice of plural marriage in the Church. Its practice is "not doctrinal."

Polygamy is illegal today, and Church policy is to respect the law on the matter

Polygamy is illegal today, and Church policy is to respect the law on the matter. For most of the practice of plural marriage, the Church fought the anti-polygamy laws, and regarded them as violations of the Constitution. Any decision to disobey secular law for conscience sake must be specifically commanded by the Church's leaders. At present, that has not happened.

Many constitutional law scholars--LDS and non-LDS--regard the Supreme Court decisions on the legality of plural marriage as clearly biased and motivated by religious prejudice. The nineteenth century Saints had good grounds for believing that the law was unjust and would eventually be overturned. [54]


Gospel Topics: "Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church"

"Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah," Gospel Topics on LDS.org:

After the Manifesto, monogamy was advocated in the Church both over the pulpit and through the press. On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 1890 and 1904, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years. In 1904, the Church strictly prohibited new plural marriages. Today, any person who practices plural marriage cannot become or remain a member of the Church.[55]


Response to claim: "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Brigham Young Sunday School Manual...Not only is the manual deceptive in disclosing whether or not Brigham Young was a polygamist but it’s deceptive in hiding Brigham Young’s real teaching on marriage: “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.” – Journal of Discourses 11:269

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

  • The author's persistent use of the word "deceptive" pushes this into the "propaganda" category. During the same speech, Brigham acknowledged that those who were not practicing plural marriage needed to be polygamists "in their faith." Now that the doctrine has been revoked, we are not held to that particular teaching, so why should it be taught in the manual?
  • Note: The manual being referred to here is the Priesthood/Relief Society manual, not a Sunday School manual.



Question: Is plural marriage required in order to achieve exaltation?

Brigham Young said "The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy"

Critics of the Church point to a statement made by Brigham Young to make the claim that Latter-day Saints believe that one must practice plural marriage in order to achieve exaltation: [56] Brigham Young once said,

The only men who become Gods, even the sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 11:269.)

This quotation is often used in anti-Mormon sources. They do not include the surrounding text which explains what Brigham Young had in mind on this occasion (italics show text generally not cited by those trying to worry modern-day readers):

Brigham Young also said "if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith"

We wish to obtain all that father Abraham obtained. I wish here to say to the Elders of Israel, and to all the members of this Church and kingdom, that it is in the hearts of many of them to wish that the doctrine of polygamy was not taught and practiced by us...It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: "We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,"—the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them.[57]

Brigham was stating that the command to practice plural marriage was from God, and it is wrong to seek to abolish a command from God

It is clear that Brigham was making several points which the critics ignore:

  • The command to practice plural marriage is from God, and it is wrong to seek to abolish a command from God.
  • To obtain the blessings of Abraham, the Saints were required to be "polygamists at least in your faith": i.e., it was not necessary that each enter into plural marriage in practice, but that they accept that God spoke to His prophets.
  • It was wrong to avoid plural marriage for worldly, selfish reasons, such as believing the Church would fail, and hoping to have political or monetary rewards afterward.
  • Faithful Saints cannot expect to receive "all that the Father has" if they willfully disobey God. When the people have "had blessings offered unto them," and if they refuse to obey, God will withhold blessings later because of that disobedience now.

Finally, it must be remembered that Brigham Young is speaking to a group who had been commanded to live the law of polygamy. There is no basis for speculating about what he would have said to a group who did not have that commandment given to them, as present-day members do not.


Question: Did Brigham Young believe that one could not enter the Celestial Kingdom unless they were a polygamist?

Wilford Woodruff: "President Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all"

I attended the school of the prophets. Brother John Holeman made a long speech upon the subject of Poligamy. He Contended that no person Could have a Celestial glory unless He had a plurality of wives. Speeches were made By L. E. Harrington O Pratt Erastus Snow, D Evans J. F. Smith Lorenzo Young. President Young said there would be men saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God with one wife with Many wives & with No wife at all.[58]

Wilford Woodruff: President Young...said a Man may Embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart & not take the Second wife & be justified before the Lord

Then President Young spoke 58 Minuts. He said a Man may Embrace the Law of Celestial Marriage in his heart & not take the Second wife & be justified before the Lord.[59]


Seminary Teacher Resource Manual: "We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation"

"Doctrine and Covenants 132," Seminary Teacher Resource Manual on LDS.org:

Note: Avoid sensationalism and speculation when talking about plural marriage. Sometimes teachers speculate that plural marriage will be a requirement for all who enter the celestial kingdom. We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation.[60]


Question: Did other Church leaders believe that plural marriage was a requirement for exaltation?

Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor did not believe that polygamy was a requirement for exaltation

When a debate in the School of the Prophets arose when one claimed that "no man who has only one wife in this probation can ever enter [the] Celestial kingdom," both Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor disagreed.[61]

George Q. Cannon believed that there would be men in the Celestial Kingdom with only one wife

George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency, noted in 1884 that "he believed there would be men in the Celestial Kingdom that had but one wife," and in 1900 a counselor to Wilford Woodruff remembered Brigham Young "proposed that we marry but one wife."[62] Cannon said that "I am perfectly satisfied there are men who will be counted worthy of that glory who never had a wife; there are men probably in this world now, who will receive exaltation, who never had a wife at all, or probably had but one."[63]

Wilford Woodruff and others claimed that they had never heard Joseph Smith teach that one had to have more than one wife to be exalted

In 1892, Wilford Woodruff and others were asked, in essence, "if Joseph Smith had ever taught you at Nauvoo or anywhere else during his lifetime, that in order for a man to be exalted in the hereafter, he must have more than one wife?"

Woodruff
I don't know that I ever heard him make use of that expression or use that form of expression.
Bathsheba W. Smith
I never heard of that.
Joseph C. Kingbury
No sir. He did not teach me that. He did not say anything about that....I heard it preached from the stand that a man could be exalted in eternity with one wife.[64]

Daniel H. Wells stated the plural marriage was only practiced after one had a thorough understanding of the doctrine

Daniel H. Wells, second councilor to Brigham Young, made it clear that plural marriage was then a commandment, but it was necessary to obey only when they had "a thorough understanding" of the doctrine and "other circumstances [were] favorable" for practicing it:

It [plural marriage] was a doctrine of the church that when male members came to a thorough understanding of the revelation on the principle of plural or celestial marriage, and other circumstances being favorable, if they failed to obey it they would be under condemnation, and would be clipped in their glory in the world to come. The circumstances that would excuse a person would be physical incapacity and the like....The doctrine was enjoined upon all male members of the Church whose circumstances were favorable to their taking a plurality of wives.[65]


Response to claim: "The Church is not transparent to their members and investigators in 2014 about its origins and history"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

It is also false that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not engaged in a cover up, nor is it attempting to hide an ‘embarrassing past’.” The Church is not transparent to their members and investigators in 2014 about its origins and history.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The Church is actually more transparent about their history in 2014 and moving forward than ever before. With the ongoing publication of the Joseph Smith Papers, the new Gospel Topics Essays, and changes to the new Seminaries and Institute materials, there is more information on these topics available to members than there has been for years.



Response to claim: "Something is fundamentally wrong with 'the one true Church' spending more on a multi-billion dollar high-end megamall than it has in 25 years of humanitarian aid"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Estimated $5 billion megamall City Creek Center (April 2013)
Estimated $1.5 billion megamall City Creek Center (October 2014)

Total Church humanitarian aid from 1985-2011: $1.4 billion

Something is fundamentally wrong with 'the one true Church' spending more on a multi-billion dollar high-end megamall than it has in 25 years of humanitarian aid.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author does not have any idea how much humanitarian aid has been distributed by the Church, any more than he initially knew the cost of the "multi-billion dollar high-end megamall" before he was corrected. He also ignores the financial benefit that the construction of the mall provided to Salt Lake City.



Question: How much did the development of the mall cost? Did it really cost 5 billion dollars?

The City Creek Center cost is approximately $1.5 billion dollars

The City Creek Center cost is approximately $1.5 billion, not $5 billion. (The $5 billion figure is popularly used on ex-Mormon message boards)

No tithing funds are invested in the City Creek project. However, those funds that are invested may well pay dividends in the future, as well as providing many benefits to the community and those who live in it.

The motivation for the Church's involvement in the City Creek Center project is described in an extensive interview with Presiding Bishop H. David Burton: "Mormon leaders and Salt Lake City work together to transform land," Deseret News (7 March 2010). Deseret News has more information on the construction and financing (see here).

From the Wikipedia article "City Creek Center": "The City Creek Center is part of an estimated $5 billion sustainable design project to revitalize downtown Salt Lake City. The City Creek Center project itself has been estimated to cost around $1.5 billion." off-site

The "$5 billion" dollar figure refers to the cost of the entire Salt Lake City downtown redevelopment project, referred to as "Downtown Rising." The City Creek Center cost $1.5 Billion. Details about these projects may be viewed at Downtown Rising. Other projects include the following:

  • Utah Performing Arts Center
  • Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse
  • Six Gateway
  • Questar Corporate Headquarters
  • Jessie Eccles Quinney Center For Dance and Capitol Theatre Renovation
  • Public Safety Building
  • Public Market
  • Convention Center Hotel
  • Utah Theater
  • City Creek
  • Gallivan Plaza
  • Harmons City Creek
  • The Leonardo
  • 222 South Main
  • O.C. Tanner


Question: How does the Church decide where to spend money? Shouldn't they use the money instead to feed the poor and help the needy?

The Church manages an extensive humanitarian effort

Some have insisted that funds would be better if directed to charitable works such as feeding the poor. The Church does have an extensive humanitarian effort. Critics on this point often overlook the fact that Church funds are best managed not by sitting in a bank account, but through prudent investment. Investment in land and real estate development is often a wise and ultimately profitable investment approach.

It is entirely possible that the City Creek Center Mall will eventually become a money making venture, as the Church collects rent from mall merchants. This investment strategy would allow the Church to, over time, recoup its initial outlay or even make money that could be further dedicated to the Church's religious and humanitarian goals.

Church funds are best managed not by sitting in a bank account, but through prudent investment

Critics also overlook the fact that if money is spent to feed the needy, that money is gone. On the other hand, if the Church reinvests in Salt Lake City's downtown core, this provides jobs and economic stimulus (for example, via construction and then the service-industry jobs which will fill the mall upon its completion). While providing fewer short term gains, this long term "teach a man to fish" strategy could ultimately benefit many more people, by allowing them to "help themselves." Presiding Bishop H. David Burton noted:

Reflecting on City Creek, Bishop Burton said that if he'd known seven or eight years ago that "we'd be facing the second-worst recessionary period in our history, I may have not suggested we proceed this quickly with the City Creek project. But knowing there would be on any given day upwards of 1,700 jobs in the community — and that could bless the lives of a lot of families," the church decided to move forward.

"And when you get the secondary impact of those 1,700 prime jobs and the multiplier effect, it is a substantial contribution to this state and this community and its tax base, Bishop Burton said. "Any parcel of property the church owns that is not used directly for ecclesiastical worship is fully taxed at its market value." [66]

Investment of funds and service efforts are not mutually exclusive

Further, property investment does not preclude the Church from continuing its service efforts with other monies. This is not an "either/or" question.

If Salt Lake can avoid the fate of so many other inner cities--a lapse into disrepair, poverty, and crime--this will likewise benefit all the city's inhabitants. The Church seems to be taking a longer view to preserve the city core for the future. One observer has noted economic and social benefits already:

Natalie Gochnour, the executive vice president of the Salt Lake Chamber, points out that the development will include 524 residential units and is already pumping life into downtown. Over the last two years, more than a dozen new restaurants have opened within a two-block radius of the development. [67]


Question: Are LDS standards required by the mall?

The partner developer is not affiliated with the Church, so some venues will be open Sundays and serve alcohol

Some have wondered if the mall will be required to adhere to LDS standards (e.g., no sale of alcohol, no Sunday openings). The City Creek development (which includes other establishments and housing in addition to the mall) is a joint venture between a real estate developer owned by the LDS church and another developer that is not affiliated with the church. It appears that alcohol will be served at some venues, and some venues will be open on Sundays, but that this will only be permitted at venues which are owned by the partner developer, NOT at the venues which are owned by the LDS church's development company. [68]


Question: Since its opening, has the redevelopment had the impact hoped for?

The redevelopment of the downtown has turned out as hoped

As of July 2013, the redevelopment seems to be improving matters as hoped. The New York Times reported:

“The center has added 2,000 jobs and brought more than 16 million visitors into downtown,” according to the Economic Benchmark Report of 2013, paid for by the real estate firm CBRE. Taking into account the improving economy, the report credits the mall, at 50 South Main Street, with helping downtown retail sales increase by 36 percent, or $209 million, in 2012.

The “mall is the single most important thing to happen to Salt Lake City in 50 years, maybe more,” said Bruce Bingham, a partner with Hamilton Partners, a Chicago-based real estate developer. “It revitalized downtown.” [69]

The mall also has, as of July 2013, a 98% occupancy rate, and data suggest that there was a demand for retail space that the mall helped to fill, shifting spending from on-line realtors to the local economy:

Linda Wardell, the general manager of City Creek Center, said the mall had a 98 percent occupancy rate, with 104 stores, seven restaurants and a 1,000-seat food court. “There was a real pent-up demand for shopping in this market,” Ms. Wardell said. “Some people were already buying from these retailers online and they were eager to come here.”

Convention visitors also have been vital to the mall’s success, providing 25 to 35 percent of its sales, she said. The city benefits from year-round visitors to nearby ski resorts, five national parks and, of course, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said. [70]

The Church's involvement also makes possible a more long-term view that entities concerned only about profit do not have:

Jason Mathis, executive director of Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance, a business development group, acknowledged that the church-backed development had drawn a spectrum of opinions.

“In this community,” where about 40 percent of the city’s residents are Mormon, “the L.D.S. is such a powerful large entity, it will be more controversial and evoke strong feelings,” he said. “But they’re an interesting landlord. They’re not worried about the next quarter. They have a much longer perspective than many other investors would have had. They want to know what the city will look like in the next 50 or 100 years.” [71]


Question: Aren't tithing funds from "long ago" ultimately the source of all current Church funds?

A review of the history of such funds and Church involvement in business suggests that this is not the case

Some have wondered whether tithing funds (even from long ago) aren't the "ultimate" source of the funds used in the redevelopment. A review of the history of such funds and Church involvement in business suggests that this is not the case.

In the first place, it should be remembered that to mix tithing (tax-deductible) funds with taxable funds from other sources would cause major issues with the IRS, something which the Church would be unlikely to risk--both because to do so would be dishonest, and because the legal and public-relations consequences would be severe, even if they were inclined to do so.

The church has a number of for-profit businesses including real estate, ranching and agriculture, media, mercantile, etc. They have carefully invested for over a century in order to have a good financial cushion in order not to be severely in debt as they were in the late 1890s-early 1900s, nor to be on the verge of financial distress as they were in the late 1950s-early 1960s from over-spending building church meeting houses and other church-related ventures and expenditures.

Church and state businesses were all intermingled during the Great Basin period leading up to statehood

In the 19th-century, funds for church and state, church and business, etc., were all intermingled during a good portion of the Great Basin period leading up to statehood. This was because when the Saints arrived in Utah there was no pre-existing community. There was no infrastructure nor corporate entities providing for even the bare essentials of life. Everything had to come from the church and its members. And for the first few decades, none of the church's members were really in a position to invest large capital on projects like roads, bridges, canals, mills, and other necessities. Therefore, the church stepped in and was not only a source of spiritual aid but physical aid as well. Most of the "investment" made by members came in the form of goods and labor, not money deposited into a bank or brokerage account.

The church used what precious funds it could to build infrastructure and provide for the needs of the people. In the process, the church and its leading members created companies like Deseret Bank and Zion's Bank, Deseret Produce Company, Deseret Salt Company, Deseret Telegraph, Deseret Manufacturing Society, Deseret Iron Company, Jordan River Canal Company, Davis Canal and Irrigation Company, Utah Central Railroad, Utah Southern Railroad, Utah Northern Railroad and a host of other companies. Some companies were successful and others were complete failures.

It is simply a cop-out for critics of the Church to simply go back in time until they can equate everything that the Church has to a tithing or offering donation. This does not make President Hinckley a liar.

  • How many of you reading this have ancestors that owned slaves? Does that mean that you must consider slavery acceptable?
  • How many of you have ancestors who were polygamists? Does that mean that you actually must accept polygamy?
  • How many of you have ancestors that paid tithing to the Church? Does that mean that you paid that money?

Members donated time to build infrastructure

Members donated time to build buildings, help build railroads, canals and other projects. Those with money "invested" knowing they would probably see only a partial return. Often, the stocks held by these investors earned pennies to the dollars invested and quite often were eventually turned over to the church as a gift. They were all doing what they could to build up the kingdom. Heber J. Grant, for example, had an insurance company that was sold for a very low price to the church and then combined with another insurance company to create Beneficial Life. Deseret Telegraph was later sold to Western Union. Even the hospitals and universities were originally church-owned and run ventures because they had to be.

So, that is where the original money came from that was then used to invest in more profitable business ventures and later used for projects like City Creek Mall. Some of these ventures became profitable and were sold as the church divested itself of businesses they felt other companies could run. The banks were sold, the hospitals were sold. The Church had originally been given an enormous amount of Union Pacific stock shares as well as rails and rolling stock to pay Brigham Young and other investors, including the Church, for labor building the road beds, etc., in Utah. Eventually the church sold its railroads, built from materials and money that came from Union Pacific, back to Union Pacific and made a good amount of money. That money was, in turn, reinvested in other ventures for later use.

The Church does not mix sacred money with Church investments

Ultimately, the church goes to great length not to mix sacred money with church investments but is constantly trying to use its investments to further the goals of the Church. City Creek Mall was made not to make money (although that has turned out to be a wonderful side-benefit thus far) but to create a place that would draw people back to downtown Salt Lake City. Church leaders were very concerned that downtown Salt Lake City was slowly dying. Stores were closing and the downtown was becoming blighted and unattractive. Church leaders did not want Temple Square and other church buildings to be surrounded by rundown blocks that few people were going to. Therefore, they felt it was worth the investment to build something beautiful and productive that would draw other businesses, restaurants, etc. and keep the blocks surrounding Temple Square vibrant. They seem to have succeeded, and also have provided an economic boon to the region.


Response to claim: "Would a loving, kind, empathic God really place parents in the horrible position of having to choose whether to feed their children or pay what little they have to a multi-billion megamall owning Church...?"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

I find the following quote in the December 2012 Ensign very disturbing:

If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.

Would a loving, kind, empathic God really place parents in the horrible position of having to choose whether to feed their children or pay what little they have to a multi-billion megamall owning Church that receives an estimated $8,000,000,000 in annual tithing receipts?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author portrays the Church as simply interested in getting money from the poor, and completely ignores that tithing is taught as a matter of faith. He brings up the "multi-billion megamall" again and provides a baseless estimate of the Church's income from tithing (which he has no way of knowing, since the Church does not make this information public).



Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

The author implies that the Church wants the poor to pay their money while the Church lets their children starve. This is pure nonsense.

Question: Should we pay tithing before paying for food or rent?

The Quote: "If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing"

One critic of the Church states,

I find the following quote in the December 2012 Ensign very disturbing:

If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.

Would a loving, kind, empathic God really place parents in the horrible position of having to choose whether to feed their children or pay what little they have to a multi-billion megamall owning Church that receives an estimated $8,000,000,000 in annual tithing receipts?" [72]

The quote used is part of a story about a family in San Salvador that had joined the Church and was experiencing a great change in their lives. We will provide a bit more of the context:

The Vigils’ bishop, César Orellana, also saw changes in their lives. Soon after their baptism, Amado approached Bishop Orellana and said, “We want to pay tithing, but we don’t know how.”

Bishop Orellana explained that tithing was 10 percent of their increase. Amado was somewhat concerned. At the time, Evelyn had a job, but he did not. “We always come up short,” Amado explained to his bishop, “but we want to pay tithing.”

Bishop Orellana responded, “Brother, the Lord has made many promises.” Together they read scriptures about the blessings that come from faithfully paying tithing, including the Lord’s words through the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

After reading these scriptures together, Bishop Orellana looked at the new convert and said, “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”

The next Sunday, Amado approached Bishop Orellana again. This time he didn’t ask any questions. He simply handed his bishop an envelope and said, “Bishop, here is our tithing.”

Reflecting on this experience, Bishop Orellana says, “Ever since then, they have been faithful tithe payers.” The family received some commodities from the bishops’ storehouse during their financial difficulties. Beyond that, the Lord blessed them to be able to care for themselves. Evelyn received a promotion, and Amado found a good job. Evelyn later lost her job, but they continued to pay tithing and to receive spiritual and temporal blessings for their faithfulness. Once Bishop Orellana asked Amado how the family was doing financially. Amado responded, “We’re doing all right. Sometimes we don’t have much to eat, but we have enough. And more than anything, we trust in the Lord.” [73]

Choosing between tithing and food or rent

If someone is in the situation where they have to choose between tithing and food, it is of benefit to sit down and talk with the bishop as they have access to better training and employment opportunities as well as may be helpful in establishing a better budget so that such a conflict won't arise in the future.

With regard to self sufficiency, we are taught as well that we need to be part of our faith community and that requires at us time to allow others to serve us. It is a kindness to give others such opportunities, even when we don't necessarily need such help. There are blessings that come from being a charitable receiver as well as a charitable giver.


Question: Why should the poor and destitute pay tithing?

Biblical precedent for the idea that even those that are destitute will be blessed by the Lord if they pay their tithing

Critics of the Church often portray it as a business or corporation, with tithing being the method by which income is generated. If this were true, however, why would the Church be interested in the "widow's mite?" Critics often act as if the Church simply takes money from the poor and leaves them to fend for themselves. The reality is that the Church will not only support the destitute, but it will assist them in finding employment or means to create better circumstances in their lives. The Church does not force anyone to choose to pay tithing or to feed their children. The choice presented by the critics is a caricature which completely ignores the function of the Church Welfare program.

Paying tithing is a matter of faith. From a believer's perspective, a more accurate description than "pay what little they have to a multi-billion megamall owning Church" would be to "donate one-tenth of what little they have to the Lord."

There is a Biblical precedent for the idea that even those that are destitute will be blessed by the Lord if they pay their tithing. [74]:

The Lord says to Elijah, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath … : behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee” (1 Kgs. 17:9). It is interesting that Elijah is not told to go to Zarephath until the widow and her son are at the point of death. It is at this extreme moment—facing starvation—that her faith will be tested.

As he comes into the city he sees her gathering sticks.

“And he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.

“And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.

“And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (1 Kgs. 17:10–12).

A handful of meal would be very little indeed, perhaps just enough for one serving, which makes Elijah’s response intriguing. Listen: “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first” (1 Kgs. 17:13; emphasis added).

Now doesn’t that sound selfish, asking not just for the first piece, but possibly the only piece? Didn't our parents teach us to let other people go first and especially for a gentleman to let a lady go first, let alone a starving widow? Her choice—does she eat, or does she sacrifice her last meal and hasten death? Perhaps she will sacrifice her own food, but could she sacrifice the food meant for her starving son?

Elijah understood the doctrine that blessings come after the trial of our faith (see Ether 12:6; D&C 132:5). He wasn't being selfish. As the Lord’s servant, Elijah was there to give, not to take. Continuing from the narrative:

“But make me thereof a little cake first [the firstlings], and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

“For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

“And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.

“And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah” (1 Kgs. 17:13–16; emphasis added).

Mark 12:41–44 gives us the story of the widows mite:

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.


Response to claim: "Why did Joseph take the name of “Jesus Christ” out of the very name of His restored Church?"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

After deciding “Church of Jesus Christ” on April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith made the decision on May 3, 1834 to change the name of the Church to, “The Church of the Latter Day Saints”. Why did Joseph take the name of “Jesus Christ” out of the very name of His restored Church? The one and only true Church on the face of the earth in which Christ is the Head?....Why would Christ instruct Joseph to name it one thing in 1830 and then change it in 1834 and then change it again in 1838?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

  • There was only one revealed name for the Church. Christ did not instruct Joseph what to name the Church in 1830, nor did He instruct Joseph to change the name in 1834. The only time that Christ instructed Joseph regarding the name of the Church occurred in 1838. The Lord simply settled the matter once and for all.
  • Joseph (or Sidney Rigdon) did not remove the name of Christ from the Church, since "Saints" denote the followers of Christ.



Question: How many times was the name of the Church changed through revelation?

Criticisms regarding the name of the Church

Critics of the Church ask: Why did the Church change its name twice during its history? Shouldn't the name have been given by revelation? [75] In 1834 the name of the Church was changed to “The Church of the Latter Day Saints”. Why would Joseph remove the name of “Jesus Christ” from the name of his Church? In 1838, the name of the Church was changed to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (there was originally no hyphen in the name). Why was the name of the Church changed again?

The name of the Church was changed through revelation only once

Christ only instructed Joseph through revelation to change the name of the Church once, as described in DC 115:3. Prior to that time, the Church was referred to by several different names, including "The Church of Christ," "Church of Jesus Christ," "Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints," "The Church of God" and "The Church of Latter Day Saints." The only name for the Church established by revelation was the one mentioned in DC 115:3.

...for thus it shall be called, and unto all the elders and people of my Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scattered abroad in all the world.

None of the other names by which the Church was known were established by revelation.

David Whitmer disagreed with the change in the name of the Church and it was one of the reasons for his disaffection

It is interesting to note that the change in the name of the Church bothered David Whitmer. Whitmer insisted that the original name of the Church, the "Church of Christ," was the only proper one, and claimed that it had been given by revelation. There is no known revelation to support this claim however, unless you count the Book of Mormon itself. Whitmer appears to be using the Book of Mormon to support this claim (the Book of Mormon uses "Church of Christ".)

It should also be noted that, according to Whitmer, Joseph didn't promote the name change from the "Church of Christ" to the "Church of the Latter Day Saints." Whitmer claimed that it was Sidney Rigdon who pushed to change the name to "Church of the Latter Day Saints":

In June, 1829, the Lord gave us the name by which we must call the church, being the same as He gave the Nephites. We obeyed His commandment, and called it THE CHURCH OF CHRIST until 1834, when, through the influence of Sydney Rigdon, the name of the church was changed to "The Church of the Latter Day Saints," dropping out the name of Christ entirely, that name which we were strictly commanded to call the church by, and which Christ by His own lips makes so plain. (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).)


Question: What names did the Church go by prior to the revelation which established the correct one?

The Church was referred to as "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and "The Church of the Latter-day Saints"

B.H. Roberts, in a note on pages 23 and 24 of the History of the Church, Volume III, stated:

It will be observed that in verses three and four of this revelation the Lord gives to the Church its official name, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Previous to this the Church had been called "The Church of Christ," "The Church of Jesus Christ," "The Church of God," and by a conference of Elders held at Kirtland in May, 1834, (see Church History, vol. 2, pp. 62-3), it was given the name "The Church of the Latter-day Saints." All these names, however, were by this revelation brushed aside, and since then the official name given in this revelation has been recognized as the true title of the Church, though often spoken of as "The Mormon Church," the "Church of Christ," etc. The appropriateness of this title is self evident, and in it there is a beautiful recognition of the relationship both of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Saints to the organization.

The words "Church of Jesus Christ" are obvious references to the Savior and His Church. The addition of "Latter-day" highlights the Church's belief that it is not a new organization of Christians, but a restoration of Christians in the "Latter-days," or the days prior to Christ's return.

The label "Saints" identifies the members as those who are—or aspire to be—Saints. "Saint" comes from the Latin sanctus, meaning "holy." The Saints are those who have been made holy through the grace and blood of Jesus Christ.

Thus, the name of the Church emphasizes its links to Christ and His Church of former times in multiple ways.

Some critics try to impose inerrantist ideas on the Church—they act as if such things as official names and procedures can never change. But, the Latter-day Saints have never held such ideas—they believe that God gives a fair amount of leeway to His children as they seek to learn and do His will. And, they remain confident that God will speak by revelation when necessary to ensure that His Church will not stray from His intentions.


Question: What is the history of name changes of the Church?

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ"

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ." Mormonism to some extent originated in the historical context of the restorationist movement. This movement consisted of Christians who believed that the original Christianity needed to be restored, and it was a common belief among Christian restorationists that the name of a Christian church should properly be the "Church of Christ." Many new members of the Church brought such ideas with them when they became "Mormons."

This caused practical problems, however, since there were lots of restorationist groups who named their local churches the "Church of Christ," so there was tremendous confusion. (Indeed, one of the groups that descends from Alexander Campbell's Disciples of Christ continues to use the name "Church of Christ" to this day.)

The use of the term "Mormonite" prompted changes in order to distinguish the Church from other Christian churches

This, coupled with the use of the common antagonistic epithet "Mormonite" (soon simplified to "Mormon"), led to a desire for a more distinctive name that would distinguish our church from so many others that were using the same name.

So in April 1834, under the influence of Sidney Rigdon (according to David Whitmer),[76] who had been a reformed Baptist preacher with close ties to Alexander Campbell prior to joining the church, the official name of the church was changed to the "Church of Latter Day Saints."

There was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ

This was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ or its claims to be Christ's church. In 1835, the official Church paper referred to the:

"rise and progress of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" [77]

The final name of the Church came through revelation

The basis for the present name of the church came in DC 115:3, received on April 26, 1838: the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Note how this name combines elements of the original name and the Rigdon-inspired name.

In 1851 when the church formally incorporated, the name included a corporate initial article "The" and a British hyphenization of "Latter-day," thus becoming the formal name we use to this day, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Other groups that split off from the church, such as the Strangites and the Reorganization {RLDS, now Community of Christ}, kept the original unhyphenated "Latter Day" in their formal names.

The members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ"

This chart demonstrates that the members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ."

Journal or Series Church of Christ Church of Jesus Christ Church of Jesus Christ of LDS Latter-day Saints alone Mormon Church
Evening and Morning Star (1832-1834) 115 1 xx 0 0
Messenger and Advocate (1834-1837) 33 0 xx 0 1
Elders Journal (1837-1838) 10 2 1 4 0
Times and Seasons (1839-1846) 118 13 24 47 4
Journal of Discourses 26 vols. (1839-1886)

1438 sermons

167 59 308 3255 10
Collected Discourses 5 vols. (1886-1898)

432 sermons

149 15 139 1121 7
General Conference Reports, (1880, 1897-1970) 780 671 3180 6291 333 [78]
Millennial Star (incomplete study) - 84 - - -
The Seer 0 6 6 0 0

xx = no use of name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" because that name was not yet in use during the journal's publication dates.

Source: Ted Jones, FairMormon researcher, private communication (7 April 2007); updated 1 April 2010.


Response to claim: "Some things that are true are not very useful"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

[Boyd K.] Packer said the following: “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful." Joseph using a rock in a hat instead of the gold plates to translate the Book of Mormon is not a useful truth? The fact that there are multiple conflicting First Vision accounts is not a useful truth? The fact that Joseph Smith was involved in Polyandry when D&C 132:61 condemns it as “adultery” is not a useful truth?

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author has simply defined his own interpretations of the "rock in the hat," the First Vision accounts and Joseph's sealing to married women and contrasted them again Elder Packers instructions to Church educators in order to create a "useful truth" from his anti-Mormon perspective. Church historians don't perceive the massive "conflict" in the accounts of the First Vision, nor do they deny or perceive any issues with the use of the seer stone in the hat, nor do they see Joseph's "polyandrous" sealings for eternity to other men's wives as anything other than truth.



Question: Why did Elder Boyd K. Packer state that "Some things that are true are not very useful"?

Elder Packer was giving an address to religious educators called "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect"

Elder Packer gave an address to religious educators called "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect."[79] The quote shown above has become a favorite of critics as a way to demonstrate that the Church suppresses truth or intellectual thought.

Critics state that Elder Packer was telling Mormon historians to document only faithful history

A common criticism of Elder Packer's remarks is represented by the following quote from D. Michael Quinn:

Elder Packer demands that Mormon historians demonstrate and affirm that "the hand of the Lord [has been] in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now."

— D. Michael Quinn, "On Being a Mormon Historian," 80.[80]

Elder Packer was not speaking to Mormon historians, he was speaking to members of the Church Educational System (CES)

This does not accurately reflect Elder Packer's remarks, however, since Elder Packer was not speaking to "Mormon historians"—he was, rather, speaking to members of CES, the Church Educational System. Elder Packer makes his intended audience clear:

You seminary teachers and some of you institute and BYU men will be teaching the history of the Church this school year. This is an unparalleled opportunity in the lives of your students to increase their faith and testimony of the divinity of this work. Your objective should be that they will see the hand of the Lord in every hour and every moment of the Church from its beginning till now.

CES consists of Church employees who have been hired by the Church to teach its doctrine and promote faith in its young people

CES consists of Church employees who have been hired by the Church to teach its doctrine and promote faith in its young people. Surely it is well within the Church's purview to insist that the perspective on Church history taught in its religion classes will be supportive of, and not destructive of, faith? Surely the CES's study of history is not merely an academic exercise, but also has a spiritual goal?


Response to claim: "Criticizing leaders"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Dallin H. Oaks made the following disturbing comment in the PBS documentary, “The Mormons”: 'It is wrong to criticize the leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true.'

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The author takes Elder Oaks' statement out of context.



Logical Fallacy: Contextomy (Citing out of context)—The author has created a false attribution in which he or she removed a passage by an authority from its surrounding context in such a way as to distort or reverse its intended meaning.

Question: Did Elder Dallin H. Oaks say that it’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true?

Elder Oaks' comment is taken out of context: he is not saying that one should accept anything a Church leader says as true

Elder Dallin H. Oaks is claimed to have made the following comment at a Latter-day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on 4 May 1986:

It’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true.

This quote is taken out of context by critics of the Church to imply that one should accept anything a Church leader says as true, even if it is not.

Elder Oaks responds to this claim directly in an interview with Helen Whitney for the PBS special "The Mormons"

Elder Oaks answers this claim himself in an interview with Helen Whitney for the PBS special "The Mormons." off-site In the following transcript, "HW" is "Helen Whitney" and "DHO" is "Dallin H. Oaks":

HW: You used an interesting phrase, “Not everything that’s true is useful.” Could you develop that as someone who’s a scholar and trying to encourage deep searching?

DHO: The talk where I gave that was a talk on “Reading Church History” — that was the title of the talk. And in the course of the talk I said many things about being skeptical in your reading and looking for bias and looking for context and a lot of things that were in that perspective. But I said two things in it and the newspapers and anybody who ever referred to the talk only referred to [those] two things: one is the one you cite, “Not everything that’s true is useful,” and that [meant] “was useful to say or to publish.” And you tell newspapers any time (media people) [that] they can’t publish something, they’ll strap on their armor and come out to slay you! [Laughs.]

I also said something else that has excited people: that it’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true, because it diminishes their effectiveness as a servant of the Lord. One can work to correct them by some other means, but don’t go about saying that they misbehaved when they were a youngster or whatever. Well, of course, that sounds like religious censorship also.

But not everything that’s true is useful. I am a lawyer, and I hear something from a client. It’s true, but I’ll be disciplined professionally if I share it because it’s part of the attorney-client privilege. There’s a husband-wife privilege, there’s a priest-penitent privilege, and so on. That’s an illustration of the fact that not everything that’s true is useful to be shared.

In relation to history, I was speaking in that talk for the benefit of those that write history. In the course of writing history, I said that people ought to be careful in what they publish because not everything that’s true is useful. See a person in context; don’t depreciate their effectiveness in one area because they have some misbehavior in another area — especially from their youth. I think that’s the spirit of that. I think I’m not talking necessarily just about writing Mormon history; I’m talking about George Washington or any other case. If he had an affair with a girl when he was a teenager, I don’t need to read that when I’m trying to read a biography of the Founding Father of our nation. (See "Elder Oaks Interview Transcript from PBS Documentary" on mormonnewsroom.org)


Oaks (1987): "it is wrong to make statements of fact out of an evil motive, even if the statements are true"

Dallin H. Oaks

This is an edited version of a talk delivered at a Latter-day Saint Student Association fireside in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on 4 May 1986.

.....

The critical consideration is how we use the truth. When he treated this same subject in his letter to the Romans, Paul said, “If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy him not with thy meat, for whom Christ died.” (Rom. 14:15.) A Christian who has concern for others exercises care in how he uses the truth. Such care does not denigrate the truth; it ennobles it.

Truth surely exists as an absolute, but our use of truth should be disciplined by other values. For example, it is wrong to make statements of fact out of an evil motive, even if the statements are true. It is wrong to threaten to reveal embarrassing facts unless money is paid, even if the facts are true. We call that crime blackmail. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are forbidden to reveal facts they have received in confidence, even though those facts are true.

Just as the principle of justice must be constrained by the principle of mercy (see Alma 42), so must the use of truth be disciplined by the principle of love. As Paul instructed the Ephesians, we “grow up into” Christ by “speaking the truth in love.” (See Eph. 4:15.)[81]


Response to claim: "the scary internet"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Who cares whether you received the information from a stranger, television, book, magazine, comic book, napkin, and even the scary internet? They’re all mediums or conduits of information. It’s the information itself, its accuracy, and its relevance that you need to focus on and be concerned with.

With all this talk from General Authorities against the scary internet and daring to be balanced by looking at what both defenders and critics are saying about the Church, it is as if questioning and researching and doubting is now the new pornography.
....

Under [Elder Quentin] Cook’s counsel, FAIR and unofficial LDS apologetic websites are anti-Mormon sources that should be avoided. Not only do they introduce to Mormons “internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders” but they provide many ridiculous answers with logical fallacies and omissions while leaving members confused and hanging with a bizarre version of Mormonism.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author's interpretation of Elder Cook's remarks and its application to the internet and to FairMormon is preposterous.



Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

Question: Do Church leaders teach us to avoid the internet?

Critical hyperbole: the "scary internet"

One critic of the Church makes the following claim:

Elder Quentin L. Cook made the following comment in the October 2012 Conference: “Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.”

Elder Dieter Uchtdorf said the following in his CES talk “What is truth?”: “…Remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything at any time and every place. You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat. That the moon is a hologram. It looks like it a little bit. And that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind just because something is printed on paper, appears on the internet, is frequently repeated or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.”

Who cares whether you received the information from a stranger, television, book, magazine, comic book, napkin, and even the scary internet? They’re all mediums or conduits of information. It’s the information itself, its accuracy, and its relevance that you need to focus on and be concerned with. With all this talk from General Authorities against the scary internet and daring to be balanced by looking at what both defenders and critics are saying about the Church, it is as if questioning and researching and doubting is now the new pornography. [82]

The same critic also claims that "Under [Elder Quentin] Cook’s counsel, FAIR and unofficial LDS apologetic websites are anti-Mormon sources that should be avoided. Not only do they introduce to Mormons “internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcoming of early Church leaders” but they provide many ridiculous answers with logical fallacies and omissions while leaving members confused and hanging with a bizarre version of Mormonism."

Church leaders encourage us to use the internet to spread the Gospel

The author employs hyperbole (the "scary internet") to make it seem as if Elder's Cook and Uchtdorf are telling Church members to avoid using the internet. He has missed the point of their comments entirely.

According to the portion of the quote by Elder Uchtdorf that appears just prior to the portion quoted by the author, it doesn't matter by what medium you receive information:

it is always good to keep in mind just because something is printed on paper, appears on the internet, is frequently repeated or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.

Elder Uchtdorf is not telling members to avoid things that "appear on the internet" any more than he is telling them to avoid "printed paper." He has, in fact, precisely answered the question that the author asked after the author presented Elder Uchtdorf's quote.

Elder Cook is talking about the type of internet materials one looks at:

Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases invent shortcomings of early Church leaders.

Once again, this is not an admonition by Elder Cook to avoid the "scary internet."


Question: Does FairMormon use the internet to teach a "bizarre version" of Mormonism riddled with logical fallacies?

FairMormon responds to every question by locating and quoting the Church response to any particular subject

In all of the FairMormon Answers responses, we always first quote the relevant position of the Church, unless the Church holds no official position on it. The remainder of the answer will always be based around what the Church teaches on the subject.

FairMormon does not "magnify, exaggerate" or "invent shortcomings of early Church leaders." Claiming that prophets are human beings and capable of error is not a "shortcoming." Ironically, this is what the Church itself has claimed.

Finally, read the author's statement carefully: He claims that FairMormon provides "many ridiculous answers with logical fallacies and omissions." The author, ironically, commits the logical fallacy of "Appeal to Ridicule," which, according to Wikipedia,

Appeal to ridicule....is an informal fallacy which presents an opponent's argument as absurd, ridiculous, or in any way humorous, to the specific end of a foregone conclusion that the argument lacks any substance which would merit consideration. Wikipedia entry


Response to claim: "It is obvious that...Uchtdorf is focusing on the internet"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Let’s see...Uchtdorf starts talking about the “age of information (internet),” focuses on extreme internet stereotypical “conspiracy theories” using hyperboles, and then states “...printed on paper, appears on the internet...”, followed by “has a powerful group of followers." It is obvious that - like Cook - Uchtdorf is focusing on the internet and attempting to imply that the internet is dangerous territory for testimonies and finding truth.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Here is the author's original quote from President Uchtdorf:

Elder Dieter Uchtdorf said the following in his CES talk “What is truth?”: “...Remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything at any time and every place. You will find even those who still claim that they have evidence that the earth is flat. That the moon is a hologram. It looks like it a little bit. And that certain movie stars are really aliens from another planet. And it is always good to keep in mind just because something is printed on paper, appears on the internet, is frequently repeated or has a powerful group of followers doesn’t make it true.”

The author wishes to make it appear that the internet is the primary focus of President Uchtdorf's warning by extracting pieces of President Uchtdorf's quote (which appears in its entirety in the CES Letter). The author says, "Let’s see...Uchtdorf starts talking about the “age of information (internet),” focuses on extreme internet stereotypical “conspiracy theories” using hyperboles, and then states “...printed on paper, appears on the internet...”, followed by “has a powerful group of followers."

However, here is what President Uchtdorf actually said:

"Remember that in this age of information there are many who create doubt about anything and everything at any time and every place"

OK, that's pretty clear. President Uchtdorf then quotes some "conspiracy theories," as the CES author stated.

President Uchtdorf then lists four sources of these types of ideas:

  1. "printed on paper"
  2. "appears on the internet"
  3. "is frequently repeated"
  4. "or has a powerful group of followers"

Note the word "or" before the final item in the list ("has a powerful group of followers"): this is a list of four different sources of information. The author, however, wishes to make this quote from President Uchtdorf a warning that the "internet is dangerous territory for testimonies and finding truth."



Response to claim: "Going after members who publish or share their questions, concerns, and doubts"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

The September Six were six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were excommunicated or disfellowshipped by the LDS in September 1993, allegedly for publishing scholarly work on Mormonism or critiquing Church doctrine or leadership." A few months before the September Six, Boyd K. Packer made the following comment regarding the three “enemies” of the Church: “The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.” – Boyd K. Packer, All-Church Coordinating Council, May 18, 1993The author is quoting the introduction to the "September Six" Wikipedia article.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The Church does not excommunicate people for "sharing their questions, concerns and doubts." The Church excommunicates people who actively try to persuade other members to reject Church teachings.



Question: Who are the "September Six"?

The "September Six" were six individuals who were disciplined by the Church in September 1993

Six individuals were disciplined by the Church in September 1993. Supporters of those disciplined and critics of the Church have dubbed them "the September Six." The six individuals were:

  • Lavina Fielding Anderson (excommunicated)
  • Avraham Gileadi (excommunicated—now back in full fellowship)
  • Maxine Hanks (excommunicated—now back in full fellowship as of 2012)
  • D. Michael Quinn (excommunicated)
  • Paul Toscano (excommunicated)
  • Lynne Kanavel Whitesides (disfellowshipped)

Avraham Gileadi has never spoken publicly about the reasons for his excommunication, was never asked to retract any publications or statements, and has returned to full fellowship. Maxine Hanks returned to the Church as of 2012.

What are the criticisms related to the "September Six"?

  • It is sometimes claimed that the Church excommunicates or disfellowships scholars who publish historical information that is embarrassing to Church leaders.
  • It is often claimed, despite the fact that these disciplinary actions are carried out by local leaders, that they are in reality instigated by general authorities.
  • Some claim that the Church is silencing honest people for telling the truth.
  • The Church is claimed to take a "dim view" of intellectuals.
  • It is claimed that the LDS Church penalizes members for "merely criticizing officialdom or for publishing truthful—if uncomfortable—information," and "shroud their procedures with secrecy."
  • The LDS Church prosecutes "many more of its members" than other religious groups.


Question: Are the reasons for discipline ever made public?

Church leaders and officials rarely make the reasons or evidences presented at disciplinary councils public

Church leaders and officials rarely make the reasons or evidences presented at disciplinary councils public. Thus, former members are able to claim whatever they like about excommunication without contradiction from the Church.

D. Michael Quinn claims that his excommunication was the direct result of his historical research on the origins of Mormonism. He refused to attend his own disciplinary council, telling his stake president that it was "a process which was designed to punish me for being the messenger of unwanted historical evidence and to intimidate me from further work in Mormon history." [83]

Despite Quinn's belief that his Church discipline was all about his history, his stake president wrote back on 11 May 1993, saying "There are other matters that I need to talk with you about that are not related to your historical writings. These are very sensitive and highly confidential and this is why I have not mentioned them before in writing." [84]


Statement by The Council of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve on Church Discipline

January 1994:

Statement by The Council of the First Presidency and The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
In light of extensive publicity given to six recent Church disciplinary councils in Utah, we believe it helpful to reaffirm the position of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. We deeply regret the loss of Church membership on the part of anyone. The attendant consequences felt over time by the individuals and their families are very real.

In their leadership responsibilities, local Church officers may seek clarification and other guidance from General Authorities of the Church. General Authorities have an obligation to teach principles and policies and to provide information that may be helpful in counseling members for whom local leaders are responsible. In matters of Church discipline, the General Authorities do not direct the decisions of local disciplinary councils. Furthermore, the right of appeal is open to anyone who feels he or she has been unfairly treated by a disciplinary council.

It is difficult to explain Church disciplinary action to representatives of the media. Considerations of confidentiality restrain public comment by Church leaders in such private matters. We have the responsibility to preserve the doctrinal purity of the Church. We are united in this objective. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught an eternal principle when he explained: "That man who rises up to condemn others, finding fault with the Church, saying that they are out of the way, while he himself is righteous, then know assuredly, that that man is in the high road to apostasy."[85]:156 Citations in this letter were within the text; FairMormon has moved them to endnotes to improve readability.</ref> In instructing His Twelve Disciples in the new world about those who would not repent, the Savior said, "But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people. . . ." (3 Nephi 18:31, see also Mosiah 26:36, and Alma 5:59.) The Prophet also remarked that "from apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions."[85]:67 This continues to be the case today.

The long standing policy of Church discipline is outlined in the Doctrine and Covenants: "We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members . . . according to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; . . . They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship." (D&C 134:10.)

Faithful members of the Church can distinguish between mere differences of opinion and those activities formally defined as apostasy. Apostasy refers to Church members who " repeatedly act in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders; or persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority; or continue to follow the teachings of apostate cults (such as those that advocate plural marriage) after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority."[86]

The general and local officers of the Church will continue to do their duty, and faithful Church members will understand.

As leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we reach out in love to all and constantly pray that the Lord, whose Church this is, will bless those who love and seek divine truth.

Signed:

The Council of the First Presidency and

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles [87]


Response to claim: Strengthening the Church Members Committee

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Strengthening the Church Members Committee: The spying and monitoring arm of the Church. It is secretive and most members have been unaware of its existence since its creation in 1985 after President Ezra Taft Benson took over. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland admitted it still exists in March 2012. The historical evidence and the September Six points to SCMC’s primary mission being to hunt and expose intellectuals and/or disaffected members who are influencing other members to think and question, despite Holland’s claim that it’s a committee primarily to fight against polygamy.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The Church does not have a "spying and monitoring arm." The purported function of the SCMC as it existed in the past can be performed by anyone who has access to Google.



Question: What is the Strengthening Church Members Committee?

The SCMC was originally created as a "clipping service"

The Strengthening Church Members Committee has been described as a "clipping service" which kept track of public statements by Church members who openly criticized the Church in the media. Some have accused the committee of hunting down and exposing historians and intellectuals in order to subject them to Church discipline.

Although a "clipping service" probably made sense back in 1985, in the internet-rich world of the present, it seems somewhat anachronistic. Anyone with Internet access can likely find any information more quickly than it could have been "clipped" from newspapers in 1985.

The following is from the Church News, August 22, 1992 off-site

First Presidency statement cites scriptural mandate for Church committee

Generally, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not respond to criticism levied against its work. But in light of extensive publicity recently given to false accusations of so-called secret Church committees and files, the First Presidency has issued the following statement:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in 1830 following the appearance of God the Father and Jesus Christ to the Prophet Joseph Smith in upstate New York. This sacred event heralded the onset of the promised `restitution of all things.' Many instructions were subsequently given to the Prophet including Section 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants:" `And again, we would suggest for your consideration the propriety of all the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them. . . .

" `And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal injuries. . . .

" `And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out.

" `And perhaps a committee can be appointed to find out these things, and to take statements and affidavits; and also to gather up the libelous publications that are afloat;

" `And all that are in the magazines, and in the encyclopedias, and all the libelous histories that are published. . . . (Verses 1-5.)'

"Leaders and members of the Church strive to implement commandments of the Lord including this direction received in 1839. Because the Church has a non-professional clergy, its stake presidents and bishops have varied backgrounds and training. In order to assist their members who have questions, these local leaders often request information from General Authorities of the Church.

"The Strengthening Church Members Committee was appointed by the First Presidency to help fulfill this need and to comply with the cited section of the Doctrine and Covenants. This committee serves as a resource to priesthood leaders throughout the world who may desire assistance on a wide variety of topics. It is a General Authority committee, currently comprised of Elder James E. Faust and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They work through established priesthood channels, and neither impose nor direct Church disciplinary action.

"Members who have questions concerning Church doctrine, policies, or procedures have been counseled to discuss those concerns confidentially with their local leaders. These leaders are deeply aware of their obligation to counsel members wisely in the spirit of love, in order to strengthen their faith in the Lord and in His great latter-day work."

- The First Presidency


Question: Does the Strengthening Church Members Committee still exist?

The Committee apparently still exists

The Committee apparently still exists, as noted in the Jeffery R. Holland BBC interview in March 2012. We do not know what function the committee performs, if any.

John Sweeney: What is the Strengthening Church Members Committee?

Elder Holland: The Strengthening Church Members Committee was born some years ago to protect against predatory practices of polygamists.

Sweeney: I asked what it is, not was

Holland: That is what it is…

Sweeney: So it does still exist?

Holland: It does still exist...it does still exist…

Sweeney: And it....looks at....it’s there to defend the church against polygamists?

Holland: Principally, that is still its principal task.

Sweeney: So what is its subsidiary task?

Holland: I just....suppose to....to be protective generally, just to watch and to care for any insidious influence. But for all intents and purposes, that’s all that I know about it....is that it’s primarily there to guard against polygamy. That would be the substantial part of the work. I’m not on that committee so I don’t know much about it.


Response to claim: "When the prophet speaks the debate is over"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

N. Eldon Tanner, 1st Counselor in the First Presidency, gave a First Presidency Message in the August 1979 Ensign that includes the following statement: “When the prophet speaks the debate is over.”

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Elder Tanner is speaking about certain moral issues only. He is saying that when the prophet speaks about certain moral issues then the debate is over.



Logical Fallacy: Contextomy (Citing out of context)—The author has created a false attribution in which he or she removed a passage by an authority from its surrounding context in such a way as to distort or reverse its intended meaning.

Question: Why did President Tanner say: "When the prophet speaks the debate is over"?

President Tanner's statement was referring to several specific moral issues

N. Eldon Tanner once said, "When the prophet speaks the debate is over." One critic of the Church even goes so far to state, "Some things that are true are not very useful + It is wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true + Spying and monitoring on members + Intellectuals are dangerous + When the prophet speaks the debate is over + Obedience is the First Law of Heaven = Policies and practices you’d expect to find in a totalitarian system such as North Korea or 1984; not from the gospel of Jesus Christ." [88]

President Tanner is speaking about several specific moral issues, which he outlines in his talk. He is not advocating that one should not think for themselves:

Why should there be any debate over the moral issues which are confounding the world today? From the beginning God has made his position very clear in regard to marriage, divorce, family life and love of children, immorality, chastity, virtue, and the high and holy role of women. Through his prophet today he reiterates the Old and New Testament teachings which are clear on these matters.
....
To gain these riches many engage in the debates on moral issues. The alcohol and tobacco industries and dealers in pornography are accumulating great wealth at the expense of the people and to the detriment of their health. With all the evidence of child pornography, it is deplorable that any parent would allow any child to be so exploited. Some children are being neglected and abused because their mothers are seeking worldly pleasures and careers outside the home. Many fathers are more concerned with their financial success than with the welfare of their wives and children.

We must turn all this about. We cannot serve God and mammon. Whose side are we on? When the prophet speaks the debate is over.


Response to claim: "The very idea that one single man can control and censor debate and the free flow of ideas and information is not only anti-intellectualism but anti-free agency as well"

The author(s) of "Debunking FAIR’s Debunking" (also known as "Debunking FairMormon" - from the author of the Letter to a CES Director) (20 July 2014 revision) make(s) the following claim:

It does not matter if Tanner is talking about morality, politics, philosophy, business, religion, science, finance or sports. The very idea that one single man can control and censor debate and the free flow of ideas and information is not only anti-intellectualism but anti-free agency as well. This is "moving the goalpost" from what Elder Tanner was saying and trying to apply it to a much broader spectrum of issues.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Actually, it does matter. President Tanner did not say that the prophet's word should shut down debate on the issues of "morality, politics, philosophy, business, religion, science, finance or sports." He didn't even say that one should not debate issues related to morality. He said that the prophet's word, representing the will of God, should end debate on the merits of the following issues:
  1. The acquisition of wealth at the expense of people by the alcohol and tobacco industries.
  2. The exploitation of children through child pornography
  3. Children being neglected and abused because their mothers are seeking worldly pleasures and careers outside the home.
  4. Fathers who are more concerned with their financial success than with the welfare of their wives and children.

These are the issues which Elder Tanner suggests ought not to be debated. The CES Letter author, as he inferred in the original CES Letter, appears to interpret this statement to be a blanket prohibition of debate in favor of the prophet's will.



Logical Fallacy: Special Pleading—The author creates a one-sided argument by including favorable data and excluding unfavorable data through improper means. In this case, the author "moved the goalpost" by changing his argument when his original claim was shown to be false.

The author destroys his own logic:
  • FairMormon asserted that Elder Tanner was speaking of several specific moral issues, and that his comments did not apply to other issues.
  • The author of the CES Letter states that Tanner's comments should be equally applicable to "morality, politics, philosophy, business, religion, science, finance or sports."
  • The author then accuses FairMormon of "'moving the goalpost'" from what Elder Tanner was saying and trying to apply it to a much broader spectrum of issues."
  • It is the author of the CES Letter that is trying to apply Elder Tanner's remarks to "a much broader spectrum of issues," not FairMormon.

Response to claim: "Policies and practices you’d expect to find in a totalitarian system such as North Korea or 1984; not from the gospel of Jesus Christ"

The author(s) of Letter to a CES Director (April 2013 revision) make(s) the following claim:

Some things that are true are not very useful + It is wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true + Spying and monitoring on members + Intellectuals are dangerous + When the prophet speaks the debate is over + Obedience is the First Law of Heaven = Policies and practices you’d expect to find in a totalitarian system such as North Korea or 1984; not from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader





Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

The author is comparing the Church with the totalitarian government in control of North Korea.

Notes

  1. "Race and the Priesthood," Gospel Topics on LDS.org (2013)
  2. "Race and the Priesthood," Gospel Topics, LDS.org.
  3. Lester E. Bush, Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds., Neither White Nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church, (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1984). ISBN 0941214222. off-site
  4. Anonymous, "On the Record: 'We Stand For Something' President Gordon B. Hinckley [interview in Australia]," Sunstone 21:4 no. (Issue #112) (December 1998), 71. off-site
  5. Dallin H. Oaks cited in "Apostles Talk about Reasons for Lifting Ban," Daily Herald, Provo, Utah (5 June 1988): 21 (Associated Press); reproduced with commentary in Dallin H. Oaks, Life's Lessons Learned: Personal Reflections (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 2011), 68-69.
  6. Jeffrey R. Holland, Interview, 4 March 2006.
  7. Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), chapter 24, page 4; citing Alexander Morrison, Salt Lake City local news station KTVX, channel 4, 8 June 1998.. ISBN 1590384571 (CD version)
  8. Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Need for Greater Kindness," Ensign (May 2006), 58–61.
  9. Neither White nor Black, 56; citing Editor, "Outrage in Jackson County, Missouri," Evening and Morning Star 2 (January 1834), 122. off-siteGospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  10. Neither White nor Black, 55.
  11. Neither White nor Black, 61,77.
  12. Newell G. Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), ??.
  13. Saints, Slaves, and Blacks, ??
  14. E.S. Abdy, Journal of a Residence and Tour in the United States of North America, from April, 1833, to October, 1834, 3 Vols., (London: John Murray, 1835), 3:57-58 (emphasis added). off-site
  15. Church Historian's Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877, March 26, 1847, in Selected Collections from the Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2 vols., DVD (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 2002), 1:18.
  16. General Church Minutes, March 26, 1847.
  17. General Church Minutes, April 25, 1847.
  18. Neither White nor Black, 70–72.
  19. For a history of such ideas in American Christian thought generally, see H. Shelton Smith, In His Image, But...: Racism in Southern Religion, 1780–1910 (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1972), 131. ISBN 082230273X.
  20. Neither White nor Black, 77–78.
  21. Neither White nor Black, 60–61, 77–78.
  22. Neither White nor Black, 79–81.
  23. B.H. Roberts, "To the Youth of Israel," The Contributor 6 (May 1885): 296–97.
  24. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954–56), 65.
  25. Sterling M. McMurrin and and L. Jackson Newell, Matters of Conscience: Conversations with Sterling M. McMurrin On Philosophy, Education, and Religion (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1996), 199–201; cited in Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), chapter 20, page 5, footnote 17. ISBN 1590384571 (CD version)
  26. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, chapter 20, page 5, footnote 17.
  27. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, chapter 20, page 5–, footnote 17.
  28. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, chapter 20 working draft, 13.
  29. Steven Taggert, Mormonism's Negro Policy: Social and Historical Origins (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1970).
  30. Edwin B. Firmage, "Hugh B. Brown in His Final Years," Sunstone 11:6 no. (Issue #67) (November 1987), 7–8. off-site
  31. Newell G. Bringhurst, "The 'Missouri Thesis' Revisited: Early Mormonism, Slavery, and the Status of Black People," in Newel K. Bringhurst and Darron T. Smith, eds., Black and Mormon (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 13. ISBN 978-0252073564. ISBN 0252073568.
  32. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, 204–205.
  33. Lengthen Your Stride, working draft chapter 20, page 22, footnote 105; citing for the affirmative Arrington, Adventures of a Church Historian and Arrington to author, February 10 and June 15, 1998; for the negative, L. Brent Goates, interview by author, February 9, 1998.
  34. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, working draft chapter 20, page 22; citing Goates, Harold B. Lee, 506, quoting UPI interview published November 16, 1972.
  35. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, working draft chapter 21, page 1; citing Charles J. Seldin, "Priesthood of LDS Opened to Blacks," Salt Lake City Tribune (10 June 1978), 1A.
  36. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, working draft chapter 21, page 4; citing letter of 15 June 1963 to Edward Kimball.
  37. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride, working draft chapter 21, page 7; citing F. Burton Howard to author, June 15, 1995; F. Burton Howard, interview by author, July 30, 2002.
  38. Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 263–264.
  39. Allen L. Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," in FAIR Conference (Salt Lake City, Utah: FAIR, 1st draft, 2006).
  40. Oa J. Cannon, "History of Henry Bailey Jacobs," (L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University, n.d.), 1; cited by Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young," (emphasis added). See also Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 44; Van Wagoner, "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo," 78; Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 80.
  41. These charges are examined in detail (here).
  42. Cannon, "History of Henry Bailey Jacobs," 5; cited in Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy, 44.
  43. See here for a more in-depth analysis of attacks on Brigham and Joseph regarding Zina and Henry.
  44. Interview of John Wight [RLDS] with Zina D.H. Young, October 1, 1898, "Evidence from Zina D. Huntington-Young," Saints’ Herald, 52 (11 January 1905), 29; cited in Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young".
  45. Autobiography of Zina D. Young, no date, part of the Zina Card Brown Family Collection (1806-1972), LDS Church Archives, MS 4780, box 2, folder 17, cited by Wyatt, "Zina and Her Men: An Examination of the Changing Marital State of Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young,"; John Wight with Zina D.H. Young, 1 October 1898, “Evidence from Zina D. Huntington-Young,” Saints Herald, 52 (11 January 1905): 28.
  46. Joseph F. Smith Affidavit Books, 1:5, CHL.
  47. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997), vii.
  48. Ibid., vii, 2, 3.
  49. Ibid., vii, 4.
  50. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), viii. A similar statement appears in the coursebook for 2004, entitled Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant: "This book is not a history, but rather a compilation of gospel principles as taught by President Heber J. Grant. The following chronology provides a brief historical framework for these teachings. It omits significant events in secular history, such as wars and worldwide economic crises. It also omits many important events in President Grant’s personal life, such as his marriages and the births and deaths of his children." (emphasis added) [Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2002), viii.]
  51. See, for example: The Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (Religion 324-325), 1981, pp. 327, 333-34, 361-363; and Church History In the Fulness of Times (Religion 341-343), 1989, pp. 256, 424-425, 440-441. Scripturally, Doctrine & Covenants Section [DC 132: 132] and Official Declaration 1 remain as canonized statements regarding plural marriage.
  52. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), viii.
  53. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2002), viii.
  54. Gregory L. Smith, "Polygamy, Prophets, and Prevarication: Frequently and Rarely Asked Questions about the Initiation, Practice, and Cessation of Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," FAIR, 2005. describes these issues in detail.
  55. "Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah," Gospel Topics on LDS.org (2013)
  56. The following critical works use this quote from Brigham to claim that Latter-day Saints must accept polygamy as a requirement to enter heaven. Contender Ministries, Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves. Answers; Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005). 233, 422 n. 48-49. ( Index of claims ); George D. Smith, Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage" (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2008), xiv, 6, 55, , 356. ( Index of claims , (Detailed book review)); Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 29, 258.( Index of claims )
  57. Brigham Young, "Remarks by President Brigham Young, in the Bowery, in G.S.L. City," (19 August 1866) Journal of Discourses 11:268-269. (emphasis added) See Quote mining—Journal of Discourses 11:269 to see how this quote was mined.
  58. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 6:527 (journal entry dated 12 February 1870). ISBN 0941214133.(emphasis added)
  59. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 7:31 (journal entry dated 24 September 1871). ISBN 0941214133.(emphasis added)
  60. "Doctrine and Covenants 132," Seminary Teacher Resource Manual on LDS.org (2001, [updated 2005])
  61. Brian C. Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Volume 3: Theology (Salt Lake City, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, 2013), 208. citing Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, Minutes (10 February 1873).
  62. Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 3, 208., citing Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols., ed., Scott G. Kenny (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1985), 8:235 (journal entry dated 9 March 1884). ISBN 0941214133. and John Henry Smith as cited in John P. Hatch, editor, Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund, 1890–1921 (10 January 1900), 72.
  63. Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840–1910 (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 75. ISBN 0252026810.
  64. Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 3, 194., citing Temple Lot Transcript, Respondent's Testimony, Part 3, p. 66, question 698; p. 205, question 600; p. 225, questions 1028–1029; p. 319, questions 590–91.
  65. Daniel H. Wells, "Local and Other Matters... The Reynolds Trial," Deseret News Weekly (15 December 1875): 732, cited in Hales, Joseph Smith's Polygamy Vol. 3, 206–207.
  66. "Mormon leaders and Salt Lake City work together to transform land," Deseret News (7 March 2010).
  67. Deseret News (7 March 2010).
  68. Chris Vanocur, "Will alcohol be served on Sunday at LDS Church's new City Creek Center?" ABC4.com, Salt Lake City (19 May 2009).
  69. Caitlin Kelly, "Mormon-Backed Mall Breathes Life into Salt Lake City," The New York Times (9 July 2013).
  70. Ibid.
  71. Ibid.
  72. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director", 2013
  73. Lynn G. Robbins, "Tithing—a Commandment Even for the Destitute," Ensign, (April 2005)
  74. Elder Lynn G. Robbins, "Tithing—a Commandment Even for the Destitute," April 2005 General Conference off-site
  75. Criticisms put forth by Watchman Fellowship, The Watchman Expositor (Page 3)
  76. David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).
  77. W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, June 1835, "Letter No. 8," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1 no. 9 (June 1835), 129–31. off-site See also W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, "Letter No. 11," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 2 no. 1 (October 1835), 193–95. off-site
  78. The vast majority of these were in describing what others said about the Church.
  79. Boyd K. Packer, "The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect," Address to the Fifth Annual CES Religious Educators' Symposium, 1981; see also Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991), 101-122; see also Boyd K. Packer, "'The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect.'," Brigham Young University Studies 21 no. 3 (Summer 1981), 259–278. PDF link Later references to this address refer to the BYU Studies reprint, since the PDF is available on-line. It starts on page 1.
  80. The essay from which the footnote comes is derived from Quinn's Fall 1981 lecture to the BYU Student History Association. The first publication was, unsurprisingly, by the Tanner's anti-Mormon press (without Quinn's permission: see p. 89 of his account): "On Being A Mormon Historian," Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm Co., 1982. The source here cited was from the reprinted version (with some additions) in D. Michael Quinn, "On Being a Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath)," in Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History, edited by George D. Smith, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992), 76 n. 22.
  81. Dallin H. Oaks, "Criticism," Ensign (February 1987).
  82. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (2013)
  83. D. Michael Quinn, Letter to Paul A. Hanks, 7 February 1993; cited in Lavina Fielding Anderson, "DNA Mormon: D. Michael Quinn," in Mormon Mavericks: Essays on Dissenters, edited by John Sillito and Susan Staker (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 2002), 329-364.
  84. Paul A. Hanks to D. Michael Quinn, 11 May 1993; cited in Anderson, "DNA Mormon."
  85. 85.0 85.1 Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976). off-site
  86. General Handbook of Instructions, 10-3.
  87. "News of the Church," Ensign (January 1994) 75.
  88. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (2013)


A FairMormon Analysis of:
Letter to a CES Director
A work by author: Jeremy Runnells