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Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/FutureMissionary.com
A FairMormon Analysis of the critical website FutureMissionary.com
Are you active Church members? Two of us were born in the Church, one is a convert. We all served missions, held callings, and were married in the temple. As you may have noticed from the site, we loved (and still love) to study history and doctrine. Full disclosure – After years of intense prayer and study (LDS approved resources only), we decided we don’t believe anymore. Does this mean the Church isn’t true? Of course not – that’s just the conclusion we came to. We don’t judge anyone for the decisions they make, as long as they do it with their eyes open! That’s why we run this site.
—FutureMissionary's "Who are We?" page
The website futuremissionary.com is designed to shake the faith of prospective missionaries by blindsiding them with troubling issues related to Church history. The site's anonymous authors claim to be returned missionaries. At the time that the site first went "live," the authors initially wrote as though they were "believing" members who naively accepted controversial statements and ideas without question. Eventually, over time, they finally admitted in their "Who are We?" section of the website that they are ex-Mormons.
The most prominent and detailed page on the website is "A Letter to a CES Director: Why I Lost My Testimony." The authors claim that such blatant materials will help to prepare missionaries for questions and challenges they will face. In reality, the letter and other material on the site only introduce attacks on the church without discussing crucial context and explanations that would help readers fully understand the material. The approach and tone of the FutureMissionary site resembles that of MormonThink.com before MormonThink became openly antagonistic toward the Church in late 2012. With the more recent admission that the authors are indeed ex-Mormons, they seem to be following the path (again, similar to MormonThink) of becoming a more openly recognizable anti-Mormon site.
The specific content of the FutureMissionary.com website is addressed in the articles listed belowhttp://futuremissionary.com/a-letter-to-a-ces-director/) The FutureMissionary website posts a letter which is popular among ex-Mormons called "A Letter to a CES Director: Why I Lost My Testimony" The letter lists all of the popular criticisms of the Church. It is what is referred to in ex-Mormon circles as an "exit story." The FutureMissionary site authors claim that this letter will help prepare missionaries for questions and challenges, but because the authors offer no answer or fuller explanation whatsoever for the letter's arguments, posting the letter seems intended to shake readers' faith. http://futuremissionary.com/10-things-every-pre-missionary-should-know/) This FutureMissionary article concludes, among other things, that you should not "spread lies, even if they serve a higher purpose," that your girlfriend will probably not wait for you, but not to worry since "you’ll get to come home and marry a girl waiting for her missionary," and that "You’ll probably have a gay companion." This last point is illustrated by a photo of two male missionaries holding hands. The authors imply that most missionaries, in the course of proselyting as trained, will "spread lies," but the authors' evidence for that assertion is weak and one-sided. http://futuremissionary.com/what-do-mormons-believe/black-mormons) This FutureMissionary article expends a lot of effort inferring that the Church opposes interracial marriage by presenting quotes from Church leaders in the late 1800's and 1950's which forbade it. This quote-mining of non-doctrinal sources is a common anti-Mormon tactic. Then, even after briefly noting that interracial marriages are performed in the temple today, the site only speculates that this prohibition "no longer applies." The authors betray no understanding of recent statements from LDS leaders which are perfectly clear that racism is repugnant and unworthy. http://futuremissionary.com/what-do-mormons-believe/the-prophet-joseph-smith/) This FutureMissionary article lists several issues related to Joseph Smith. The responses are generally correct, although very simplified and presented so as to generate negative emotional responses instead of further historical study. The page states that Joseph was a Freemason, that he practiced polygamy, that he used a seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon, and that he didn't kill anyone at Carthage Jail. http://futuremissionary.com/what-do-mormons-believe/the-book-of-abraham/) This FutureMissionary page misrepresents the position of LDS Egyptologist John Gee by claiming that he is "the only LDS Egyptologist who confirms Joseph Smith’s translation" of the papyrus. The reality is that Dr. Gee, as well as every other LDS and non-LDS Egyptologist that has examined the surviving fragments of the Joseph Smith papyrus, agrees that those particular fragments record a funerary document and they do not contain the text of the Book of Abraham. In fact, the Church acknowledged this in its January 1968 edition of the official Church magazine, the Improvement Era. By misrepresenting Dr. Gee's position, the site's authors betray either a dishonest attempt to discredit the Book of Abraham, or else a total lack of understanding of the relevant history of the book and its translation. http://futuremissionary.com/what-do-mormons-believe/polygamy-polyandry/) This FutureMissionary page claims that "Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young, and other prominent LDS leaders shared their wives with other men." There is no evidence to support this claim. http://futuremissionary.com/what-do-mormons-believe/mormon-beliefs-science/) This FutureMissionary page strives to prove that Latter-day saints must hold to fundamentalist beliefs that conflict with science. Their arguments are extremely misleading. http://futuremissionary.com/what-if-you-were-an-investigator/) This FutureMissionary page concludes that missionaries should simply "be honest" with their investigators by knowing and answering any question having to do with Church history. However, in order to be "honest," the prospective missionary would have to be familiar with every single potentially controversial issue related to Church history. The author recommends an answer to investigators such as "Yes, there have been a lot of horrible atrocities committed by members of my faith, even leaders, and there is no excuse for that." http://futuremissionary.com/no-investigators-no-dinner/) This FutureMissionary article states that there is a "No investigators, no dinner" policy, and that this "rule" can jeopardize a missionary's health. There is no such policy, and there is no requirement for a missionary to risk their health. We do agree with part of the author's conclusion that states that "If your mission is one that skips dinner, be sure to keep a close eye on your physical as well as mental wellness."