Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/The Foundation for LDS Scholarship

Table of Contents

Response to "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship"

About this work

The Foundation for LDS Scholarship is an online scholarship application site whose purpose is "Promoting critical thinking and scholarly discussion ​of LDS topics." The site offers $500 scholarships to students who plan to attend "major Utah colleges and universities." In order to apply for a scholarship, applicants must select two of the four writing prompts offered and submit a one to three page essay responding to each of the selected prompts. Each of the writing prompts are worded in such a way as to presume the falsity of Latter-day Saint teachings and beliefs. The four prompts (as of August 2017) are the following:

  • Writing Prompt #1: Is the lack of archaeological evidence supporting the claims of the Book of Mormon an issue about which Mormons should be concerned?
  • Writing Prompt #2: Should Mormons be alarmed about the fact that Joseph Smith's translation of the hieroglyphics shown in the Book of Abraham differs completely from the translation made by Egyptian scholars? And should they be concerned by the evidence that Abraham couldn't possibly have written them "in his own hand" as claimed in the Pearl of Great Price?
  • Writing Prompt #3: If LDS teachings run counter to what a church member's conscience tells them is right, what is the best course of action for that church member to take?
  • Writing Prompt #4: Is the warm feeling that a person might get in their heart when they test Moroni's promise a sufficient basis for believing the claims of the LDS church? Is the fact that Mormons are wonderful people a sufficient reason for ignoring the evidence that the LDS church isn't what it says it is? Do Mormons who doubt Joseph Smith's claims need to give up their intellectual integrity if they choose to remain members of the church?

The site's authors, who remain anonymous, reveal their attitude on the "About Us" page:

If it's true that some members are dependent on the Church to give their lives meaning then that's a deplorable condition which is Church's fault, not something for which the Church deserves credit. Those people need to stand up, look around, and see that life is full of meaning and purpose that has no connection whatsoever to the Church. People are far better off when they take responsibility for themselves to find purpose and meaning to life, rather than turning over control of their lives to someone else.

The web site (as of 28 August 2017) contains numerous typographical errors, heavily utilizes links to anti-Mormon websites such as MormonThink, IRR and cesletter.com (with a few token links to pro-LDS sites), and displays a very superficial knowledge of the topics that it addresses. The site has the general appearance and tone of something that was concocted by the inhabitants of a popular online ex-Mormon forum.

The following links respond to individual claims contained in the following document:

  • "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship" (ldsscholarship.org) (Accessed August 2017)


Response to claims made by "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship"

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Response to claims made in "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship: Writing Prompt 1"

Summary: The authors of the website ask the following question:

Writing Prompt 1: Is the lack of archaeological evidence supporting the claims of the Book of Mormon an issue about which Mormons should be concerned?

Jump to Subtopic:


Response to claims made in "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship: Writing Prompt 2"

Summary: The authors of the website ask the following question:

Writing Prompt 2: Should Mormons be alarmed about the fact that Joseph Smith's translation of the hieroglyphics shown in the Book of Abraham differs completely from the translation made by Egyptian scholars? And should they be concerned by the evidence that Abraham couldn't possibly have written them "in his own hand" as claimed in the Pearl of Great Price?

Jump to Subtopic:


Response to claims made in "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship: Writing Prompt 3"

Summary: The authors of the website ask the following question:

Writing Prompt 3: If LDS teachings run counter to what a church member's conscience tells them is right, what is the best course of action for that church member to take?

Jump to Subtopic:


Response to claims made in "The Foundation for LDS Scholarship: Writing Prompt 4"

Summary: The authors of the website ask the following question:

Writing Prompt 4: Is the warm feeling that a person might get in their heart when they test Moroni's promise a sufficient basis for believing the claims of the LDS church? Is the fact that Mormons are wonderful people a sufficient reason for ignoring the evidence that the LDS church isn't what it says it is? Do Mormons who doubt Joseph Smith's claims need to give up their intellectual integrity if they choose to remain members of the church?

Jump to Subtopic:


Notes