Mormonism and church integrity

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Mormonism and church integrity

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Accusations of lying and hypocrisy on the part of the Church

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Accusations of hypocrisy in Church practices related to the Word of Wisdom

Summary: It is claimed that the Church, as a corporate entity, controls business properties that are not consistent with its stated purposes. Examples include claims that the Church owns controlling stock in the Coca-Cola company, tobacco companies, and alcohol companies.

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"Lying for the Lord"

Summary: Some have long accused Mormons of organizationally and systematically “lying for the Lord,” equating such with a policy of using any means necessary to achieve some “good” goal. This claim is false, and a biased reading of Church history. One must not use ethically questionable tactics because one believes the “end justifies the means.”

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Joseph Smith fired a gun at Carthage Jail

Summary: It is claimed that the Church has tried to hide the fact that Joseph fired a pepperbox pistol at the mob which murdered Hyrum and was soon to kill him, despite numerous mentions of the gun in Church literature, and the fact that the very gun itself is on display at the museum of Church History in Salt Lake City.

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No paid ministry

Summary: It is claimed that Mormonism prides itself in having unpaid clergy as one proof of the Church's truthfulness. They then point to the fact that some General Authorities, mission presidents, and others do, in fact, receive a living stipend while serving the Church, and point to this as evidence of the “hypocrisy” of the Church.

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City Creek Center Mall in Salt Lake City

Summary: Members and critics have questions about the Church's involvement in the redevelopment of the city center in Salt Lake.

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Accusations of lying in the 19th-century Church

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Dealing with doubts about the Church and its integrity

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Censorship and revision of Church history

Summary: Some claim that the church has "whitewashed" some of the information about its origins to appear more palatable to members and investigators. Some feel that this is done intentionally to hide negative aspects of church history. Others feel that it is done to focus on the good, but that it causes problems for believing members when they encounter these issues outside of church curriculum.

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Has the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) "whitewashed" its history?

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Artistic depictions of the Book of Mormon translation

Summary: People are sometimes troubled when they see artists' depictions of the Prophet and Oliver sitting at a table while Joseph views the plates as they sit in plain sight. Obviously, the plates never sat exposed in plain view, and these artistic interpretations originate purely in the mind of the artist. Some accounts indicate that the plates sat on a table covered with a cloth "in plain view," with Emma indicating that she actually moved them around in order to perform her household chores.[1]

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Does the Church excommunicate scholars who publish historical information?

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Brigham Young and plural marriage

Summary: It is claimed that the Church's manual, The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, attempts to "hide history" by portraying Brigham Young (a well-known polygamist) as having only one wife.

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Hiding the facts of Church history in plain sight using Church publications

Summary: The Church is routinely accused of suppressing and hiding uncomfortable facts from its own history. Yet, the very same people quote Church sources in order to provide proof of their claims. This concern often rests on a misunderstanding. It is true that the Church's teachings are primarily doctrinal and devotional—Church lessons are neither apologetic nor historical in scope or intent. It is remarkable, however, how many of the issues which some charge the Church with "suppressing" are discussed in Church publications.

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Brigham Young's attempt to destroy all copies of Lucy Mack Smith's biography of Joseph Smith

Summary: Did Brigham Young attempt to suppress and destroy all copies of Lucy Mack Smith's Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith because it contained information which would embarrass the Church? It is claimed that Brigham Young inserted the reference to Joseph Smith's First Vision into Lucy's book. Critics also try to prove that the silence of Joseph's mother and siblings in her history prove that the First Vision did not take place, and is a later fabrication by Joseph, and not well known to the early members of the church.

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  • Interview of Emma Smith by her son Joseph Smith III, "Interview with Joseph Smith III, 1879," Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:541–542.