Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink

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A FairMormon Analysis of the critical website MormonThink.com

I fantasize about a full-blown faith-destroying session. In real life, I did put the bishop in his place over polygamy. He kept saying I was wrong about Joseph having other wives and being illegal and such. I proved him wrong and he ate crow. twas fun.

—MormonThink's first managing editor, Feb. 21, 2012, 12:50PM. [1]
An individual displays a sign advertising MormonThink.com during "The American Atheists Mass Resignation Event" at the April 2014 General Conference
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A FairMormon Analysis of claims made on the critical website MormonThink.com

Summary: The web site MormonThink.com originally claimed to be operated by active members of the Church with an interest in objectively presenting the "truth" about Mormonism. They authors have since abandoned the pretense that any of them are "active" in the Church. The founding webmaster was, by his own admission, pretending to be semi-active in order to destroy members' and missionaries' testimonies from within the social structure of the Church. The site pretends to be "balanced" by presenting information and links to apologetic sites, however, the conclusions reached by the site consistently reflect negatively on the Church's truth claims. The site also sometimes contains a large amount of Temple content.

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Overview

The website mormonthink.com is designed to lead Church members into questioning their beliefs in a non-threatening manner by claiming to be "objective" and "balanced." For years that site claimed to be run by active members of the Church. In reality, however, they were "active" only in the sense that some of them still occasionally attended Church—they did not accept the Church's truth claims, and they had no interest in strengthening belief. Instead, the site portrays Church leaders as liars, Joseph Smith as a fraud and con-man, and the Church as "an oppressive empire building corporation." The site includes links to FairMormon as a way of demonstrating their claimed "balance."

Each page on MormonThink.com typically includes quotes from Church sources, large amounts of block text copied from websites critical of the Church, a few references to LDS apologetics that are followed by mocking refutations by critics, and and ending summary which generally agrees with the critics. The bottom of each page contains links to critical sites, believers' sites and to some sites which they consider neutral.


Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Translation of the Book of Mormon"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Book of Mormon Problems"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Lost 116 Pages of the Book of Mormon"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon?"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Witnesses"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Moroni's Visitation"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The First Vision"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Book of Abraham"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Kinderhook Plates"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Joseph's Translation of the Bible"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Running with Gold Plates"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Polygamy"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Blacks and the Priesthood"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Greek Psalter Incident"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Conflicts with Science"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Tithing"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "The Temple"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Lying for the Lord"

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Response to claims made on MormonThink page "Doctrine & Covenants"

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The "Spin Free" Section

The following articles extract all of the primary and secondary source quotes from the critical site, places them within their original context when possible, and provides links to the original sources online. This allows you to read the critics' articles free of critical or apologetic "spin." You read the quotes and decide for yourself what to think, without any help from FairMormon or from the critics at MormonThink. If you want to check the sources, we make it easy to go back and look at the originals whenever possible. We won't tell you what to think, and neither will the critics.

A FairMormon Analysis of MormonThink page "Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd, Cumorah And Moroni"

Summary: Grant Palmer published a paper called "Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd, Cumorah And Moroni" in the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal in 2014. Palmer asserts that Joseph Smith acquired the names "Cumorah" and "Moroni" by reading stories of Captain Kidd in his youth. Palmer concludes that it is "reasonable to assert that Joseph Smith's hill in the "land of Camorah" [Comorah/Cumorah], "city of Moroni," and "land of Moroni" [2] We respond to these claims in this article.

A FairMormon Analysis of MormonThink page "Kirtland Temple Dedication"

Summary: (http://mormonthink.com/glossary/kirtlandtemplededication.htm)Regarding the heavenly manifestations that accompanied the Kirtland Temple dedication, Mormonthink concludes that "It's likely that Joseph said he was seeing something angelic and told the congregation what he claimed to be seeing. Those in attendance relayed what Joseph said he saw. Everyone was so excited for this grand event, that they likely got caught up in the moment and imagined some extraordinary things."

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Overview of the MormonThink website

Summary: The web site MormonThink.com claims to be operated by active members of the Church with an interest in objectively presenting the "truth" about Mormonism. In general, the conclusions reached by the site reflect negatively on the Church. The best explanation of the purpose of the website is offered the words of its own webmaster, and by the testimonials of ex-Mormons who claim that the site caused them to lose belief and leave the Church.

Response to MormonThink's list of 25 items that would allegedly "make the Church true"

Summary: (http://www.mormonthink.com/endpage.htm) According to MormonThink.com, if the Church actually contained God's truth and authority, "we would expect the following things to have happened in this way." The following is a list of issues presented by the website followed by FairMormon's response. Most items on the list are standard anti-Mormon fare, issues FairMormon believes have been "asked and answered" many times. Nearly all points appeal to some type of intellectual or religious fundamentalism.

The FairMormon Blog responds to these questions

SteveDensleyJr,"A Yankee Lawyer’s Guide to the “Mormon Apocalypse”", FairMormon Blog, (February 17, 2014)


A British man named Tom Philips has filed a fraud action in England against President Thomas Monson and is claiming that it will bring on the “Mormon Apocalypse.” However, rather than inciting fear and panic among the faithful, if they know about the case at all, the most common response is one of bewilderment among Mormons and non-Mormons alike. That is due partly to the fact that it seems quite odd that someone would pursue a case for fraud that is based on faith claims and personal opinions. But, at least for Americans, the odd nature by which the claim has arisen procedurally is equally puzzling.


As an American civil defense lawyer, I think I have been as befuddled by this case as anyone. So I’ve consulted British lawyers and legal sources and come up with the following guide to what Phillips has called, the “Mormon Apocalypse.”

Click here to view the complete article

Notes

  1. Comment by MormonThink's founding editor, posting as "SpongeBob SquareGarments" on the ex-Mormon message board Recovery from Mormonism, Feb. 21, 2012 at 12:50PM. After FairMormon posted this quote, the original was deleted from the RFM board. The original thread in which it appeared, however, still exists here: Thread Anyone Fantasize About a Showdown with SP or Bishop?, Recovery from Mormonism, posted Feb. 20, 2012.
  2. Grant Palmer, John Whitmer Historical Association vol. 34 no. 1 Spring/Summer 2014