New LDS Church PR Video: Mormon Myths and Reality

John Dehlin Mormon 43 Comments

So…what do ya’ll think? Honest? Candid? Refreshing? Duplicitous? Reactions, please.


My reactions:

  • On polygamy:
    • The don’t acknowledge that polygamy is still a doctrine of ours (see D&C 132)
    • They don’t admit that we practice polygamy in our temples (if a former spouse has died)
    • They kinda speak as if the LDS church owns the word Mormon, and don’t acknowledge that Fundamentalist Mormons consider themselves both “Mormon” and polygamists
  • The Humanitarian stuff is way cool. I had no idea that we empolyed non-LDS (including Muslims) for volunteer humanitarian efforts. The only question I have is…how much of our humanitarian stuff is motivated by missionary work and PR, vs. sincere motives? I say this because Jesus would probably advise us not to brag about/broadcast our good works (not that we’re necessarily doing that here…just a risk).
  • I like that we admitted to divorce and stuff. I don’t love the fact that emphasizing “father and mother” sometimes comes across as a bit exclusionary to non-traditional families.
  • I love Gordon B. Hickley

Comments 43

  1. “They don’t admit that we practice polygamy in our temples (if a former spouse has died)”

    Err, we seal people of both sexes to their current spouses if they have remarried following the death of a spouse and count on God to sort it out.

    If that is really polygamy, then other Churches who marry widows and widowers do the same.

    1. “If that is really polygamy, then other Churches who marry widows and widowers do the same.”  Wrong. For all other Churches, death ends marriage….”til death us do part”…and they don’t have sealing for celestial marriage in eternity. Only Mormons do that.

  2. I think that PR in and of itself spells bias..it’s crafted for the purpose of projecting a positive image.

    It should not come as any surprise that the polygamy stuff and fundamentalist nomenclature isn’t included.

  3. Stephen,

    My mother is sealed to her 3rd husband in the temple. She and my stepfather both believe that they will be polygamous in the next life. I believe that this is the common belief today for Mormons in their circumstance, and that the church supports this view. It also jibes with D&C 132:61.

    Do you not feel that this is a solid, doctrinal Mormon belief? Polygamy is still doctrinally Mormon. It feels like you are in denial about this fact. Again, please read D&C 132:61…then return and report.

    Why won’t Mormons embrace this doctrine? It feels like we’re publicly in denial. Polygamy is Mormon doctrine — we just aren’t practicing it today. And it seems honest and healthy that we own up to it.

  4. I thought the people revealing the myths were a bit cheesy. But thats just me. I don’t relate as well to the sugary-sweet kind of Mormon. It is interesting that the PR people decide to have those types of people be the “faces” of the mormons.

    I also have no problem with people calling it the Mormon Church. I think the church is getting a little too hung up on that issue. It is a name – not a definition.

    Overall, it was a good PR piece for people that just know the basics and need some clearing up.

  5. As one who is sometimes accused of only saying negative, non-constructive things about the church, I will take this chance to say that I really like this video. I don’t have a problem with the church distancing itself from the fundies. I know the argument that it is hypocritical because Mormons don’t like it when Christians exclude Mormons from the club, but I think there is a difference between the term “Mormon” and the term “Christian.” The term Christian has long been associated with a wide variety of sects and denominations, whereas I think most people don’t know that there are multiple Mormon sects. If the fundies are called Mormons, most people will erroneously conclude that the mainstream Utah church and the fundies are the same. You don’t have that problem with using the word “Christian” to describe Mormons. So, I don’t have a problem with that (although it is odd that the church at the same time has tried to distance itself from the word Mormon; I think the LDS Church ought to embrace the word Mormon).

    On the humanitarian stuff, the problem I have is one of disclosure. I think the church should let people know how much (what percentage of tithes and other offerings) goes to humanitarian causes. But the more the church does in this area, the better, whether it gets PR out of it or not. Hurricane victims don’t really care if the folks helping them clear trees from their yard are getting some publicity out of it or not–if the tree gets cleared, it’s a good thing. (I wish the church wouldn’t give its volunteers bright yellow shirts that say Mormon Helping Hands, but it’s kind of a minor thing, I admit).

    I am all for dispelling myths about Mormons and Mormonism. I think that individuals and groups who spread lies, innuendo, and myths about Mormonism (almost always from an evangelical Christian perspective) do a great disservice, and the church is justified in using its resources to counter those ideas. If preachers are telling their congregants that Mormons are polygamists, or that Mormons are engaging in sex acts in the temple (two things I have heard preachers say), such myths need to be countered.

    Ironically, I think the perpetuation of myths gets in the way of real reform in the church. Church members and leaders become defensive, and it becomes difficult to distinguish between legitimate criticisms and the “anti-Mormon” garbage put out by folks like Ed Decker. If the myths weren’t out there, perhaps members of the church could spend more time examining the truths (good and bad) about the church. Critics would not have to fight against being lumped in with the raging “antis” and members could drop their defensive posture.

    One thing Young said in the video I find interesting. He said, “Mormons are clearly defined by their history.” Of course, that’s a two-edged sword, as we all know.

  6. I like the video.

    About the polygamy issue, it is still a true principle, but just like in the days of the Nephites, God doesn’t permit it now, government or not. Personally, I am VERY grateful we aren’t asked to practice it now because to do so in THIS life, with all my weaknesses, would be an awful experience for me. IF I am ever called on to practice it, I hope I’d be a lot stronger than I am now.

    Do the polygamist sects that exist today use the Book of Mormon? If so, I can understand why they might use the title Mormon. I wonder if they resent being confused with US.

    I hear very little from the Church about its welfare program. At least out here (outside of Utah) we hear practically nothing about it, even though it’s happening so much. I almost wish the Church would get the word out more.

    1. It is not happening as much as you think; that is why you don’t hear of it. I served in South Africa among some of the poorest people in the world and there is no bishops storehouse to help the faithful members who struggle to have one meal a day.

      Tithes and fast offerings need to be switched around with tithing going to help the poor and needy and fast offerings to pay for church requirements.

      Humanitarian aid is different from the other two categories and there the church shines in their tee shirts showing just what a humanitarian organization looks like; how fast they can respond etc. Lots of organizations respond – many of them churches with much lower membership who give much more than LDS. This is a great opportunity for the church to ‘look’ good and they do LOOK good.

      How many of those Moslems and people from other faiths feel that they owe it to their benefactors to listen to the missionaries and/or join the church? I like to see those in the developing world receiving help to get them on their feet in their own countries and cultures.

  7. It is totaly different than what I expected it would be, before it started — my scattered thoughts while listening

    I hate the “HeartSell(tm)” look & feel. the over-produced musical score, altering volume and pace to emphasize points, and dramatic silence to calculate and direct thought.

    – there was not one mention of worshiping Joseph Smith. as far as myths go — this is at least on par with polygamy. I was surprised there was no mention of Joseph at all…possibly a conscious direction??

    – the church should never use the term “13 MILLION STRONG” unless it is willing to publish detailed membership numbers, and qualifiers. I believe anyone who looks at the membership numbers with the slightest degree of critical thought, would be challenged to come up with 5-6 million strong

    100 years ago, lets see — 1908 polygamy was alive and well – underground and hidden – but accepted by all mormons as an eternal requirment for exaltation. approved by the prophet and practiced.. I call BS

    I am way to cynical right now to continue on– what I used to be able to brush off as PR spin released to make the Church look better in the eyes of the world.. I now accept as a purposeful misrepresentation of reality and truth. obviously I need to repent 🙂

  8. KenL
    I agree with you for sure. It’s like i can see exactly what they are NOT saying in each piece!
    I found it interesting that they chose “Mormon Celebrities” to be the faces of this piece.
    I admit I would love to see a piece that shows them saying… “yes we DID practice polygamy in the early days of the church and it was believed to be required for salvation… it was discontinued but it is still taught in theory and believed to be practiced in the next life…” I would like more honesty. I admit the piece itself is more honest than others have been but it could always be better… I guess they won’t ever be able to appease everyone though, including myself.

    Steph

  9. John, perhaps your mother will be sealed to all three husbands and they will have a polyandrous relationship. I quite think that we don’t understand human relationships as the relate to people who are not fallen.

    I don’t have any problem with their beliefs and I suspect that we will have extensive networks in the hereafter, working at levels and in ways we do not understand in this life.

    The difference between humans and what is natural to them in a fallen state, vs. celestial beings, is probably a vast one. I don’t pretend to know very much about it, only a little, and that not applying to this topic.

  10. John,

    Unless you want to get all anal-retentive and put forth all the alternative definitions of terms, then you have to use the definitions of terms as used by your audience. Or else you need to completely redefine the frame-work of the question before giving the answer.

    You’re talking about _celestial_ polygamy (that we believe in). To the general public, to our questioners, polygamy means having more than one spouse in the _here-and-now_.

    We do NOT practice polygamy in the here-and-now. That is what the general public wants to know, what we do here and now. That’s the framework in which we need to answer the question.

    The question “Will there be polygamy in heaven?” is a _whole ‘nuther_ question, and can be dealt with separately than the “Do you currently practice polygamy?”

    The answer is “No, we don’t currently practice polygamy.”

    If the question is “Did you (the church) used to practice polygamy?” The answer, of course, is “yes.”

    If the question is “Do you believe you’ll practice polygamy in heaven?” Even that particular answer can not be distilled to a simple yes/no, because we have five* degrees of heaven, whereas the questioner is assuming only one heaven, and we believe only the highest degree (the exalted ones) will even remain married, let alone have the option for polygamous families.

    It’s kind of disingenuous of you to apply the polygamy parts of Section 132 to the here-and-now. The polygamous relationships described therein do NOT apply to us in our present condition in our present day. Sure, we can believe (and some may even hope) that that will apply to some in the future, in the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom.

    Whether it applied to many saints pre-1890 (and some Mexican and Canadian saints pre-1904), is not part of the original question of whether we _currently_ “believe in polygamy” in the here and now.

    But no, the polygamy doctrine in Section 132 just doesn’t apply to us in the here-and-now. Widowers who remarry in the temple to a woman who hasn’t been sealed to others receive no doctrinal guarantee.

    In fact, no one who is sealed in the temple, not even monogamists, has any guarantee until their sealing ordinance is “sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.” The sealing ordinance by itself is very much conditional, much like “the gift of” the Holy Ghost. Whether a person actually _receives_ the Holy Ghost after receiving “the gift of” the Holy Ghost is entirely up to them.

    Giving questioners, either new members or non-memgbers, too many details and nuances at once just creates more confusion. It’s best to frame the answers to the current understanding of the
    questioner.

    In the early days of the church, these doctrines were revealed piece-meal. And it may be a bit unrealistic of you to expect the church to dump all the higher-end doctrines on the public at once. Remember, even exaltation is not mentioned in the Gospel Principles manual until the final lessons.

    Some questions (such as the “Are Jesus and Satan brothers?” question) do require that you give a new frame-work or more detailed nuanced explanation.

    * Telestial, Terrestrial, plus three** degrees in the Celestial.

    ** Many people seem to forget, or at lesat they forget to mention it, that only the inhabitants of the _top_ degree in the CK are exalted and remain married for eternity.

  11. I felt like they were going to sell me Pro Active face cleanser during Miss America’s piece.
    I would fire whoever is behind these cheesy infomercials. The use of celebrities appears desperate as a church.

    As for the myths, I think they need to start with the church members before they can educate the public. The polygamy section was deceptive but I wasn’t expecting any better from the church. 100 years from now they will be denying that polygamy was ever doctrine in the church.

    What was with the 12 million STRONG? Now that was funny!

    If the church would focus on the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ, these commercials could be really powerful.

    The end of the piece with GBH sharing his testimony was well done. The rest of the piece was embarrassing and made me cringe.

  12. I can’t beleive what I am reading. I think it was a fairly innocuous piece that just tried to dispell a few ideas that non-members have about us.

    What did you expect, “We have adulterers, murderers, thieves, and child molesters, just like in your church.”

    I think you people who are critical (Equality excepted this time) want some expose’ where the Church leaders admit to any and all problems, crimes, lies, half-truths, abuses, etc. that have occured throughout the history of the Church and by its members. Then, you will turnaround and be critical that something was left out that you personally know about.

    Give them a break, for heaven’s sake!

  13. Just a minor point=for LDS viewers who are not the intended audience, the non-LDS people interviewed in the beginning raise some interesting points of contention in the Church today, and the video doesn’t do anything to dispel them. Caffeinated and carbonated drinks, for instance? This is a silly issue, but I have seen active LDS families seriously argue about this! Raising the issue and not answering it makes it seem like the ban on these drinks is not a myth at all.

  14. thoughts…

    Much more about PR than clearing up “myths”

    I find it interesting that the “myths” addressed really are not…each is based on some actual element of our faith and/or history…unless I misunderstand the word “myth.”

    Polygamy and the church; My father remarried in the temple when my mother died 30 years ago. His 2nd wife passed 5 years ago. My father wears 2 wedding rings…on the same finger. Someone who accepts the answer, “No, we don’t practice polygamy…” and then finds out what we do believe about polygamy would justifiably feel they were misled.

    Here in the east, a major myth has to do with the church and blacks. Conspicuous to me by its omission in the piece.

    I don’t understand fully the LDS church’s exclusive claim to the term Mormon. The fundamentalists believe as strongly in the BoM as the LDS. They own it as much as we do in my opinion…except we’re trying to disown it, right?

  15. I agree with JH that it’s “sophisticated” but not entirely “crap” like he said. I liked the humanitarian part the most; however, would like to know what portion of tithes and offerings go to education, job skills training and relief aid for immigrants and disaster victims. As pertains to the polygamy issue it seemed to simply dispell the myth that members of The Church do not practice polygamy today. Yet it has always been my understanding that it is to be continued in the Celestial Kingdom for the “righteous few” like JD pointed out so being up front about it is a good thing (as for me tho’ no thanks.) I also agree that much of the issue, including Joseph Smith’s extensive involvement with it, was left out completely–to be expected of a short PR piece I guess. For this reason (also because of another common myth: that Mormons don’t believe in God as other Christians do) I think it IS a good idea to emphasize the name The Church of JESUS CHRIST for clarification. All in all, I think it covered topics more honestly than in the past, but still has a way to go. Also use of “common folk” explaining their beliefs and practice rather than using good-looking celebs as talking heads would seem more sincere (come to think of it kinda reminds me of the Mitt Romney’s ‘Stepford’ image–too ‘perfect’ to be real.)

  16. “Here in the east, a major myth has to do with the church and blacks. Conspicuous to me by its omission in the piece.”

    I just finished reading the chapter on Blacks and Priesthood in Greg Prince’s David O. McKay biography, and I will say emphatically that from a PR perspective that topic has no place in the video. Even if you say we treat everyone equally and blacks can hold the priesthood today, I really think the church does not want to talk about the subject because it will only get media people digging around. That topic has a very ugly history.

  17. On the humanitarian segment, I also wondered how much of this is for PR and missionary efforts rather than sincere efforts. There was a time in the church when it was well known that Mormons only looked after Mormons. Either way, the church is doing great things in the world to help with poverty and I admire all the volunteer work.

    I recall back when the Tsunami hit, my family had planned a large donation for the Red Cross. Then the Bishop asked our Ward, and IIRC it came from the First Presidency, to donate our money to the church so they could give it to the Red Cross instead. That is one example I have had first hand with the church trying to use humanitarian aid to promote missionary work.

  18. The video represents the Preparatory Gospel of Mormonism. That is, Mormonism has TWO Gospels- the Public or Preparatory Gospel and the Fulness or Internal Gospel. (see Mormon Doctrine by LDS Apostle Bruce McConkine pg 333 and D&C 84)

    So what Mormons teach in Public about itself is different from what Mormonism ultimately gives to its inside membership.

  19. As a former LDS member I liked the video and the way some familiar faces attempted to explain away some LDS misconceptions.

    I believe any approach taken by the leadership of the LDS Church to explain LDS beliefs and practices is worthwhile, especially if the goal is to engage or facilitate the non-LDS in the process of investigating its claims.

    I think it’s unreasonable to expect any media tool generated by the LDS Church to cover all that it deems essential doctrine in a short span of time; likewise, I think it’s impossible for the Church to address all areas of controversies in a favorable manner. So I see a group of PR experts ‘counting the cost’ in order to determine what would render the most positive impact.

    It seems to me that the LDS PR experts have decided to move toward a social acceptance approach and save theological proclamations, justifications, or comparisons for another time.

  20. In response to this comment above:
    “That is, Mormonism has TWO Gospels- the Public or Preparatory Gospel and the Fullness or Internal Gospel. (see Mormon Doctrine by LDS Apostle Bruce McConkine pg 333 and D&C 84)”

    In addition to the TWO Gospels I believe there is a third factor:
    1. The Milk (info for prospective Mormons)
    2. The Meat (info for existing Mormons)
    3. Many Historical Facts (not intended for any Mormon)

    Theory:
    I suggest people’s personalities can be generalized into two categories:
    1. Dominant Trait: Feeling and Emotion (Feelers)
    2. Dominant Trait: Thinking and Analytical (Thinkers)

    (One isn’t superior to the other)

    I think that Feelers have a much easier time with the Milk, Meat and the “Many Historical Facts” (if they stumble upon them)

    Thinkers on the other hand do alright with the Milk and Meat but if they come upon the “Many Historical Facts” that contradict the Milk and the Meat they can have extreme trouble, if not an impossible reconciliation.

    I believe that this has to do with the way they are biologically wired up. For them facts, evidence, analysis and science trump feeling and emotion.

    So how does this relate to the PR video? I would say it’s important to be forthright and honest.

  21. I have met only a handful of people in my life, feelers or thinkers, who I thought were able to properly digest the meat of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Also, regarding the “Two Gospels” mentioned above, it seems to me that there is only one true gospel and everything else that has been revealed to teach us to live it is preparatory. The church organization doesnt choose what is preparatory conciously, but we do choose it. The children of Moses were given a preparatory gospel. Jesus came and showed the way. He taught his disciples to live the law, and be rid of the preparatory law. In the latter days it seems it was necessary to restore a preparatory law again. Until we begin to live as the Christ, we are living a preparatory law.

  22. I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other about the video presentation. The church has done and will continue to promote the positives of our doctrines and downplay the negatives. I think they get in trouble when they tell a half truth to make their point.
    As an example, Ms. Wells gives the definite impression that Mormons have stronger family ties due to Eternal Marriage vows. I don’t have any data to back this up, but I believe the divorce rate among all 13M Mormons is at least on par with the national average. It may be true for the 4M or so active members, although I’ve read some articles in the Salt Lake Tribune which would seem to say that even temple marriages are failing at about the national average.
    Devout members of most religious organizations probably enjoy a better than average marriage success rate for very predictable reasons, i.e. common goals, fidelity, disciplined life styles, service oriented etc…
    One more point, “Good Mood” wrote about “thinkers” and “feelers” in the church. I completely agree with his analysis of these personality types. However, I think the only hope anyone has of coming to the truth about faith issues is a nice balance between the two, despite how people are wired. In other words, the mind and the heart need to be in full agreement. If one is sacrificed then truth will be the first casualty of the war. Unfortunately for my faith journey, I spent many years in the church refusing to learn about our history and origins of our beliefs and therefore doomed myself to be blindly led by those I empowered to do so.

  23. Regarding the divorce percentages, I have heard many times that the we are close to the national average. Of one my grandparent’s descendent, there are about 34 marriages. There have been 4 divorces or about 12%. On the other mother’s side, there are 22 marriages and no divorces. In my small rural community, there are about 600 people, 85% LDS and a 15%-20% divorce rate. Does anyone have real data on divorce in the LDS church?

    Also, some snide comments have been made about activity rates without comparative data. I have done some work with an Arizona mega church who bends over backwards to meet every conceivable need of its members (schools, coffee shop, day care, etc), of 11,000 members, they indicated that about 3,000 attend.

  24. Charles,

    Although the church is very well aware of how many of us attend each month, they don’t seem to publish it anywhere. In the Mormon Stories interview (MS#101-103) with Dr. Lyon, he indicated that it was around 4 million or so.

    My information is slightly dated, but it used to be (and perhaps still is) that a Stake had to be 26% tithing faithful to get funding for another meeting house. That seems like a low number…

    My own families divorce rate is similar to what you indicated so in my limited view, it would seem that temple marriages do better than the average. Having said that, the divorce rate in Utah is http://health.utah.gov/vitalrecords/pub_vs/ia05/05md.pdf) somewhere around 3.9 per 1000 in population. The National average is 3.6 per 1000 for 2005. As the state is still predominately LDS, I believe the rate suggests we are not any better at keeping families together.

  25. Thanks for the data Doug. I would be interested in understanding whether there are additional factors that influence that conclusion. Higher marriage rates or other factors that might skew the results. I have lived in Georgia, Alaska, Utah and Wyoming and haven’t observed high divorce rates in any of the wards I have attended. I am a poor statistician, but the data and my experience don’t match. Perhaps the following, older study provides some insite. The vast majority of the marriages I observe are temple marriages.

    “A 1993 study published in Demography [magazine] showed that Mormons marrying within their church are least likely of all Americans to become divorced. Only 13 percent of LDS couples have divorced after five years of marriage, compared with 20 percent for religiously homogamist unions among Catholics and Protestants and 27 percent among Jews. However, when a Mormon marries outside his or her denomination, the divorce rate soars to 40 percent — second only to mixed-faith marriages involving a Jewish spouse (42 percent).” 7

  26. Charles,

    In post #25 I expressed the same observation and have always believed that religious couples with strong commitment patterns are more likely to stay married. I believe a study of say Catholic marriages performed in their church by regularly attending members would enjoy the same success rate.

    As for the number of marriages performed each year, I think you’ll find that data in the link I provided above. It doesn’t seem to suggest that Utah has a significantly larger number of marriages performed each year as compared to the national average. There were more, but then again, there were more divorces as well.

    For the point of this discussion, I believe it is disingenuous to the other religions to suggest that we as Mormons have some special ability to keep families together better than say a devout Lutheran family. The data just isn’t there to back up that kind of claim despite what Sherlene Wells Hawks said in the presentation.

    If the church is going to make PR videos, it’s imperative that they check all the facts and carefully avoid statements that can’t be backed up. This is all the more important given our reputation in the media of not telling the whole truth when asked. (See several of John Dehlin’s podcasts of late…)

  27. Doug & Charles… With regards to the following statement by Doug with regards to the divorce rate…

    “As the state is still predominately LDS, I believe the rate suggests we are not any better at keeping families together.”

    When I grew up in Utah this was a true statement where approximately 85% of the population belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1950s – 1960s). Today however, less than 50% of the population belongs to the Church, so applying the statewide divorce figures to the Church as a whole is inaccurate.

    By the way, no one is trying to disavow the word “Mormon” we’re just trying to clarify whose church it is. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, not the Church of Mormon. Referring to it as the “Mormon Church” only tends to confuse the public and I believe is disrespectful to the Savior.

  28. So ploygamy ended a hundred years ago?

    But wait? Heber J. Grant was the president of the Church until the 1930’s, wasn’t he? And Heber J. Grant (along with many of the older general authorities of his time–and the older members of the Church in general) WERE polygamist.

    Polygamist members of the Church survived until the mid-20th century.

    So in reality, there has been no polygamy in the Church for only about 60 years or so.

    As for the LDS Church having soul claim to the name “Mormon”–well, that’s a crock. I’m a Reform Mormon. The RLDS (Community if Christ) have just as much claim to the title as the LDS (especially since legally the US courts decided decades ago that the RLDS is in fact the same legal entity as the church organized in New York state in April of 1830.)

    To say that those outside the LDS organization are not Mormons, is like saying those outside the Catholic church are not Christians.

    One more thing:
    LDS Mormons insist they are Christian despite the fact that they reject the basic doctrines of Christianity: the Bible as the final scriptural authority;the doctrine of the Trinty; Original Sin; Heaven and Hell; Salvation by Faith, not works.

    The LDS Church can reject ALL these doctrines and still be Christians…?

    …But…

    Fundamentalists are NOT Mormons EVEN THOUGH they accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, “The Book of Mormon” and the D&C are scripture, plural marriage,etc.

    In the convaluted, departmentalized reasoning of many LDS, this might fly–but to any rational person out there “in the world” who knows anything about the facts of Mormon history, it is all a crock.

  29. Brent,

    Now your scaring me, you mean to say that the church is lying to me again about its success? Why don’t you take a look at the churches website claiming Utah as a whole is 72% Mormon and then let me know about that screwed up divorce rate again… http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/utah-membership

    By the way, thanks for commenting and please don’t be offended by my tone. It’s just been a rough week with church leaders making comments without checking their facts. My bishop informed me yesterday that he didn’t know where I got the idea that Joseph Smith ever claimed to only have seen one personage in the first vision because he has read the 1832 account and it didn’t say that. I guess the page I read was from some Mark Hoffman forgery or something like that…

  30. As a PR piece, I thought it was fine. This is Introduction to the LDS Church 101, not a graduate course in Mormon theology. It presented the church in a good, and accurate, light. It did not cover everything about the church, but I don’t think it tried to hide anything either, unlike some statements that have been issued.

  31. Divorce rate for LDS:

    “A 1993 study published in Demography showed that Mormons marrying within their church are least likely of all Americans to become divorced. Only 13 percent of LDS couples have divorced after five years of marriage, compared with 20 percent for religiously homogamist unions among Catholics and Protestants and 27 percent among Jews.”

    “The divorce rates for Latter-day Saints who marry in the temple are 5.4 percent for men and 6.5 percent for women.”

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/lds_dem.html

  32. Great video. Accurate and to the point. As to finding fault with failing to acknowledge that polygamy is “still a doctrine of ours,” who cares? We don’t practice it. It has no place or relevance in the Church or to its members.

  33. Paul,

    I have some personal experience with polygamy in our church. to say ” Who cares? We don’t practice it. It has no place or relevance in the Church or to its members” is untrue. My father and mother were divorced when I was 6. He has since re-married and was sealed to his current wife. My Mother was never re-married in the temple and as such the church never canceled their cealing. So my father is sealed to both my step mother and my mother. Who do I get to be with, and how is my family going to work? I would say that I do care a lot and it has great relevance to me.

  34. Ben

    I am in the same boat with you, I hope you come back to read this message. My mother and father were divorced, and my mother never married in the temple. My Dad had been sealed three times. Considering both of his exs, including my mother, hate his guts, only his current wife will reside with him in the next life. God is not going to force women to a man that they do not want to be with.

    As to who you get to be with…. When church leader say you’ll be with your family forever, it means EVERY person will be in the celestial kingdom together. All families. There isn’t just one person you’ll be with, you’ll be with your eternal family, which is every faithful member of the church. Your family is going to work just fine.

  35. As to Rob Lauer’s comments regarding the age old question, Are Mormons Christians, it seems to me that the better, or more applicable, question really should be, What is a Christian?

    History has shown that a “Christian” is defined by mainstream Christianity. Unfortunately, the mainstream hasn’t always got the definition right. Galileo and Martin Luther were put on house arrest or excommunicated as heretics, or not teaching mainstream Christian doctrine, but who have since been “proven” correct in many instances. Arius is another tragic example of an enlightened, apparently well-meaning seeker of truth who was considered NON-CHRISTIAN (he, in fact, taught as did many of the early fathers, the current Mormon theology of a separateness of the Godhead.)

    In science, hypotheses must be tested against previously validated measures or definitions (e.g. we must define DIABETES before we can say who has it.) The definition of Christianity has historically, and is today, ONLY validated by the the whims of the mainstream. But that mainstream has changed through the years.

    So, the answer to the inappropriate initial question, Are Mormons Christians?, is NO, Mormons are not Christians (in the way that the current mainstream of Christian-believing churches defines them.)

    But by what all-knowing Websters are we measuring the validity of mainstream’s definition? Will such a definition change in the future as it has so frequently in the past? Of course. I anticipate, as do the scriptures, that many will be surprised at that great and terrible bar at who Christ claims as His own, both Mormons and mainstream alike.

  36. I agree with you on the polygamy part. Acting upset about those who still practice polygamy was a bit unnerving for me personally (especially since Steve Yong’s great great great grandfather was married to 55 women over the course of his life). Also, I don’t feel we own the ‘Mormon’ title just as other Christian churches don’t own the ‘Christian’ title. I feel we have as much right to call ourselves Christians as fundamentalists have the right to refer to themselves as Mormons.

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