An audio recording of Elder Ballard’s 9/13/2015 Utah South Area Talk.

The text of this talk can be found here.

Media coverage of the talk can be found here.

Some concerns expressed about the talk can be found here.



  1. Dave September 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    “Pod-casts and internet sights that raise questions and doubt…” got call out specificity @ 17:12 Mormon Stories ;) Time to repent! :D

  2. A Happy Hubby September 15, 2015 at 6:21 am - Reply

    I expected this to be even more negative, but I could find a few positives (trying to look on the good side). He say that member need to not be snobs and we should associate with those that decided to remove themselves from associating with us.” Those are things that need to be stressed more in conference.

    But it is solidifying the patter of “if anybody does not see the church as 100% true, they are deceived and evil.”

    I do agree with Albert on the link provided, “if you have the answers that so many of us want, why don’t you share them?”

    My overriding thought was, “Why the heck to we bring screaming babies into meetings like this?”

    • EPhima Morphew September 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      My overriding thought was, “Why the heck do we bring screaming babies into meetings like this?”
      To Happy Hubby –– answer:
      It’s the only way the sisters of the tribe can display their contribution to the fruit of the loom. The tally of squalling kinder is their power for the brethren exalt. It s the female contribution to the fabric’s weft to strengthen the the warp of the covenant of Mormonism.
      Questions deserve answers and this is but one among many questions needing answers.

      Breeding is our passion

    • doubting thomas September 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      This part hit me hard. Ballard is sending conflicting messages throughout his talk. It’s as if he’s trying to cover ground with everyone and not actually delivering “epistle” from God. (That cracked me up. “Hey, maybe if we use words like “epistle” the members will think we really are apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.”)

      If you leave the church your are under Satan’s power? So you are either worshipping Lucifer, or you are simply under his influence and too spiritually ignorant to know it. Later in the “epistle” members are counseled not to disassociate themselves from ex-members. So… active believing members are supposed to continue to associate with ex-members who are being influenced by THE DEVIL? At the least every ex-member can be sure that their relationship with a true believing member is not on equal footing. The TBM has the truth and the inactive member has less than that.

      Now “honest and sincere questions” must only be those questions where the answers that are given by LDS leaders are accepted without further inquiry. Questions that arise from listening to podcasts are dishonest and insincere.

      Oh. My. God.

      Finally Mr. Ballard makes it quite clear that the Mormon Church really is the only true church of the God of the Old and New Testaments, and the only church led by Jesus Christ and it is his job to proclaim that absolute truth. Okay. I get that. Here’s an honest and sincere question for you Elder Ballard: Why don’t you and the other apostles make that claim on a daily basis around the world? If it’s appropriate for the Marriott Center then let’s start taking out ads in the WSJ, NYT, the networks and cable news show. Let’s “Hasten the Work” Melvin!
      Like all things Mormon, Utah is the center of the universe and the only venues where an “epistle” of this nature can be delivered are the small confines of Utah Mormon gatherings.

      Damn grateful for phones that record and PODCASTS that make this position by the top leaders of Mormonism available for everyone to hear.

      Don’t #@&% with my podcasts Mr. Ballard. I find them extremely valuable. Like a pearl. A pearl of great price.

  3. Utahhiker801 September 15, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

    The story about the former missionary who came to him with serious doubts or questions but then admitted to not having read the BOM for quite a while, is exactly the same story that my mission president told us 25 years ago. My mission president could have been relating Elder Ballard’s experience, but I thought it was interesting to hear this same story repeated.

    Of course when I first heard it, I had no idea of the underlying questions a person could have, and it seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to address the concerns.

    At this point in my life, additional study of the Book of Mormon would only make me hyper-focus on its anachronisms and other 19th Century influences.

  4. Jason September 15, 2015 at 7:30 am - Reply

    “Don’t listen to podcasts from the uninformed”. The irony is that I would have never heard this talk had it not been for mormonstories.

  5. Greg September 15, 2015 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Yet another talk from the Brethren that has no more substance than fear mongering along with some dumb analogies like we are all idiots that can’t understand anything. In sum anyone that questions or leaves the Church does so because they have not been righteous enough or have been deceived. And of course the only way to avoid this is to read the scriptures more and pray more. And wasn’t Joseph Smith a self declared prophet?

  6. Mike September 15, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

    He gets paid to say those things….

    • phil beuler September 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound, having once been an advocate of the LDS Church and what it stands for, but now spending your time and effort in slandering what you once believed? I feel sorry for you, that you are so negative and determined to set the record straight and expose the truth that you don’t even realize that your position is not one of revealing truth but error. No one was ever successful in revealing error without also replacing that error with truth. So give us something TO believe in, not just something TO reject. Otherwise your voice will not only fall on deaf ears but reveal your own ill-intent. Oh but wait, all you have on your side is error and deceit, as Elder Ballard so plainly said.

      • Gary in Oregon September 21, 2015 at 10:03 pm - Reply

        Quoting: “I feel sorry for you, that you are so negative and determined to set the record straight and expose the truth that you don’t even realize that your position is not one of revealing truth but error. No one was ever successful in revealing error without also replacing that error with truth. So give us something TO believe in, not just something TO reject. Otherwise your voice will not only fall on deaf ears but reveal your own ill-intent. Oh but wait, all you have on your side is error and deceit, as Elder Ballard so plainly said.” [end quote]

        If you’ll excuse a well-deserved ad hominem attack, your brain is obviously severely wrinkled. (My brain is probably wrinkled as well, so it’s OK that I accuse you of the same disease.)

        Revealed error: Joseph Lied

        Revealed truth: Joseph Lied

        Revealing an Error is simultaneously a revelation of Truth … in this case it’s all about the Truth that Joseph Lied.

        Something TO believe in: Something other than Joseph’s Lies. Once you stop believing lies, you open yourself to the exciting adventure of discovering Truth.

        Your statements are pure nonsense. Elder Ballard’s talk was a transparent attempt to obfuscate the Truth that Joseph Lied.

  7. Noodle September 15, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Some really good advice about cell phones, imo. Our loved ones often deserve more attention than we sometimes give them. Also no texting and driving is always solid. And he didn’t try to tell us “No cell phones in church!” which was a nice change of pace.

    He said the members in Utah county are like the heart of the church, pumping light and truth out to the rest of the world. Having lived in Provo for a while, I sincerely hope they don’t pump their influence out too far! And what about the good people of Northern Utah? Idaho? We’ve got an apostle from Germany, but obviously non-Americans are out of the race. Californians, too. Nope, the church couldn’t survive without its true heart, the Provo/Orem area.

    It’s funny he’d lead his remarks with a gigantic stroking of their ego. “You are the best people. Since you know you are the best, and I told it to you, you can trust that everything else I am about to say is valid.” Mmmmmm, tasty tasty narcissism, my favorite.

    He mentioned honest questions a couple times and inferred a spectrum of question worthiness based on this “honesty.” I guess some questions are just too difficult to face, making them less honest, so we’d better focus on what confirms the church’s position. Ok, yeah, some questions have pretty unsavory answers! Let’s just face it and deal with the consequences.

    One last thing: his treatment of knowledge, specifically academic endeavor surrounding religion in general, church history, and other fields. He says not everybody needs to have a master’s degree in church history. But don’t worry, other people have master’s degrees, so you can just listen to them. Is this kind of academic rigor valuable or not? Or is it that the general public can’t be trusted to educate themselves because they might come to different conclusions than the current intellectual authorities? Knowledge is knowledge, truth is truth no matter where you happen to find it, and even if that knowledge and truth happens to conflict with your previous understanding.

    • Pom pon September 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      I agree; especially on the knowledge thing.

      The problem with TSCOAOTC is that it officially claims absolute certainty on so many truth-claims; it is not willing to go on faith. What they call “faith”, in many cases, is actually certainty. People live and die, pay tithing, raise families, and affect others on the basis of these claims. It is immoral, unethical, and downright irresponsible to take such a degree of certainty into adulthood on emotion only. If after seriously looking into the claims made by the church, both spoken and implied in things like movies and so forth, and they still go on, then it is faith.

      The church jumped into the realm of academia -who’s chief aim, albeit imperfectly, is to seek truth- not the other way around.

  8. Robert M Hodge September 15, 2015 at 10:09 am - Reply

    My principal reaction to Elder Ballard’s talk is that the Church now finds it imperative to more universally respond directly to the faithful concerning the challenges presented by unprecedented access to defamatory information available on the internet. This talk was much like the “Interventions”, but on steroids with a big apostolic gun rather than a couple of historians; a talk very big on platitudes, but devoid of substance.

    When you boil it all out, the message to the members is to hide behind the ecclesiastical safety of Mormon scripture and turn for doctrinal/historical answers to local authorities who must now become better prepared to answer hard questions.

    Also, there was a clear message in Ballard’s allusion to the dead tree that had to be cut down. This part of his discourse was a nearly subliminal warning, that the Church must eventually cut off those who ask hard questions because these must eventually be presumed to be “spiritually” dead and, as such, are a “clear and present danger” to the Church and its truth claims.

    • Katie Did What? September 18, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

      You mean a clear and present danger to the church’s bank accounts? That is the crux of the matter. Anything and anyone that takes away from donations is to be considered the dead tree and must be removed.

    • Coriantumr September 22, 2015 at 11:38 am - Reply

      That makes perfect sense Brother……… He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. [Matthew 12:30]. It is hardly subliminal. You’ve been called John…..

  9. Bob Hall September 15, 2015 at 11:05 am - Reply

    “It’s hard for me to understand anyone who turns to other voices on the internet without first turning to the voices of the scriptures or to the voices of the living prophets and apostles.”

    Oh cool, so does that mean Mr Ballard will directly answer whether Joseph Smith taught that the Native Americans were all descended from people from the Middle East, and he’ll explain to us why there is no evidence of this, while there is abundant evidence against it?

    • Greg September 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      If we go by Ballard’s logic no one in the Church would know anything about the Book of Abraham issues, polygamy/polyandry, the various first visions etc… The living prophets and apostles tried to hide all that stuff by ex-communicating anyone who published on it. Not to mention the fact that the living apostles and prophets have contradicted themselves and changed doctrine. How are we supposed to rely on that exactly? Seems to me the message is to continue relying only on the Brethren in ignorance. Conform and obey. Don’t seek the truth.

    • Joe September 16, 2015 at 1:32 am - Reply

      Brilliant comment. My response to Ballard as to why we ” turn to voices on the Internet” is similar:

      Hey Ballard, you know why we don’t listen to you 15, and are forced to go to blogs and skip conference?
      Because you blind guides don’t answer any hard questions as leaders. Please feel free to publish the answers you worked so hard to collect….(you won’t). .Instead, your best attempt as an apostle is to reference weak, unsigned essays. You know what real apostles do? They speak…. You guys don’t do crap. You are like salt that has lost its savor.

      I’d like to modify your tree analogy. The tree is Analogous to The mormon church’s ability to receive guidance from God… You guys killed the tree by diverting the living waters of the gospel from nurturing this tree, and, instead feed these waters to your self agrandising and never ending building projects. Now you find yourself spiritually bankrupt, and are left to wonder why members don’t respect you.

    • Doubting Thomas September 16, 2015 at 7:37 am - Reply

      Elder Ballard,

      We’ve been turning to the scriptures and listening to “the Lord’s anointed” quote each other. For some, they have done this for close to 50 years. Some more! Some less! The point being made by hundreds of thousands, some vocally, some in hushed tones is this:

      Your scripture and your commentary leave them wanting. You said all you can say and now all you say is do what we say. Obedience. You have an obedience fetish. You should go see someone about that because more and more members are done idolizing you and your “counterparts” as you call them.

      • J. Crown September 17, 2015 at 12:03 am - Reply

        There’s some interesting stuff on this LDS “milieu control” at There, they’ve posted a video (see link below) of a sermon from a leader in the JW church that should ring familiar to Mormons, full of warnings about the internet, being sucked into things that criticize the Church on the internet, and that safety is found in reading materials that have been authorized by JW church leaders.

        This portion of Ballard’s talk was also similar to descriptions given by former members of Scientology in the documentary “Going Clear”.

        Google or paste this link into browser for JW video posted at :

      • Chad September 17, 2015 at 9:03 am - Reply


        It is due to their lack of transparency, truth seekers are compelled to look elsewhere. Ballard actually claimed transparency in that talk! I think the church has taken steps to become more transparent in some areas but they are far from transparent.

        How about those minutes on the first few Council of Fifty meetings? It has only been ~ 170 years.

  10. Rich September 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    When he mentioned the community of caring it reminded me of the “Kingdom of Caring” from the carebear videos my daughter used to watch. In every episode someone is made to care by being forced and manipulated to do so.

  11. Truth Realized September 15, 2015 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    This is the same old song and dance and places all the blame on the person with questions or concerns,”individuals who don’t stay focused?” I stayed pretty focused for 46 years and when I finally took the time to focus on the truth brought forth by the essays on I was able to conclude that the LDS church was founded by a false prophet and staying with it would be like continuing to drink from a poisoned well.

    “The church is dedicated to transparency.” What???!!!

    Thank you for the podcasts, they have helped me to realize that there is life beyond the church. And some like this pretty much make my blood boil.

    • Fraidy Cat September 26, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Hey, @Truth Realized, you have my exact same story and thoughts!! Even our ages appear to be similar. Are you sure you are not me?

  12. Randall Brower September 15, 2015 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Rich. I think is was amazing that a Prophet, Seer and REVELATOR….yes REVELATOR said… ‘When I have a question about church history or doctrine I turn to Church historians and apologists who are smart and study this stuff….basically I turn to FAIR MORMON.’ Paraphrased? yes. but totally what he said. He doesn’t have a face to face chat with Jesus or ask his fellow REVELATORS. He asks teachers and professors. We need to change the primary song….”Follow FAIR MORMON. Follow FAIR MORMON. Follow FAIR MORMON. They know the way…”

    • Jessie Wheeler September 17, 2015 at 1:35 am - Reply

      Randall, so great, love the song… unfortunately who in that crowd was thinking on this wavelength like they should have been, probably no one. Blue kool-aid shots all around the chapel…

  13. Xposit September 16, 2015 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Two things:
    First, Ballard touches on LDS “choose the right” theory but, not surprisingly and as per usual, completely omits the second part of the edict as it is actually practiced by the Saints, that is, “choose the right unless it makes the church look bad”. And make no mistake, by “the church”, they mean the Brethren downtown. Better to sacrifice a thousand in the pews than get a single spot on one of the sanctimonious boobs who sit in judgement of the flock.

    Second, Ballard proclaims, “The church is committed to transparency.” LOL! That one just about caused a full on coffee spew. Gimme a break!

  14. james September 16, 2015 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Stalwart members killed because the life science building altered the aquifer…Ha Ha, how apt! I raise my voice in the wilderness to condemn these withered Brethren as thieves and liars. Yea they are deceivers and killers of trees. Amen

    • Pom pon September 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Where is the like button on this thing?

  15. G.R September 16, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

    My thoughts,
    If you believe in the Christian God.

    Ephesians 2: 8-9 For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH and that NOT of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God not of works, lest any man should boast.

    I don’t understand the “act’s” to “get” blessings. Why is this carrot dangled to the lds members? God has blessed many simply because he id God. We do NOT control God Almighty, He cannot be bound by humans.

    The Apostle Paul changed the world good or bad .
    To hear Mr. Ballard equate himself as similar to Paul was especially arrogant. How big of a ego do you need to have to say that stuff. He knows he hasn’t seen Jesus or talked with him. I’m sure Jesus is up in heaven cheering for BYU.
    is this a religion or a business firm?

    Dedicated to being honest and open “transparency” because we got caught in our lies by withholding information critical for making a informed decision on joining this cult.

    • Pom pon September 17, 2015 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      I agree with everything you’ve said except the Paul part. To be fair, at the time Paul probably seemed crazy to go around talking about the gospel of Christ as if it was going to change the world. The movement was tiny.

      In short, and kinda of scary, it is feasible that mormonism become a BIG deal somewhere down the line. And Mormonism is well poised to do that, seeing as how it is very much about power, and like many forms of Christianity, could be helped along by those in power.

      That’s the one of the most depressing things to me about mormonism: it follows in the tradition of power that other sects and religions have.

      • G.R September 21, 2015 at 10:27 am - Reply

        I think your right.

  16. Carol R September 16, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I found it ironic that he said early in the talk that we need to stay focused on the things we need to do, and then he gave a long list from prayer to scripture reading to keeping the sabbath day, etc. Then a little later he talked about how we need to simplify our lives and spend more time with our families. So, if we have to do all the things he listed at first, AND we have to simplify, I guess that means we give up all non-church related activities. OK, I realize I’m pushing this a little further than he probably meant, but I think my point is valid. We can’t give up our temple attendance, or family history work, or visiting teaching, or callings, so what’s left?

  17. Trees? September 17, 2015 at 2:39 am - Reply

    The tree analogy gets used a lot in talks. But if that is going to be a constant comparison for nourishment and righteousness then you also have to realise that the Mormon church is bringing in all these trees and different trees don’t always grow and nourish in the one place. Environment plays a big part in growth and nourishment and if the environment is wrong for your tree then in order to live you need to pick up roots and find a better environment. Just like trees we are all different and thrive in different environments.

  18. Pom pon September 17, 2015 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Wait, transparency?!

    I want to see where my tithes went. Financial statements, please.

    I thought the category Internet and podcasts where put into was awkward: entertaintment and recreation that keep out the goodness of the gospel, prideful wealth, keeping the sabbath day holy, and, oh yeah, listening to podcasts that do not represent “the Lord’s perspective.” It’s, like, three of those have been around, and will be around, forever. It almost denigrates the Internet and podcasts as a source of knowledge. They’re not perfect, but just as you on the pulpit, they often come with a spirit of sincerety in what they have found out.

    I think the correct term “seek information that might contradict what we believe has happened”.

    I don’t think either that the gospel is simple. The gospel comes along with many claims, and the church has painted it’s history in a particular light. When one claims that they hold eternal truths and principles, then others have no choice but to look at those claims, by their fruits, if you will.

    When I am taught from childhood that this organization is the way that God is going to save the world, and then tell me that its leaders were part of easily one of the great ideological evils of the past millenium, namely, racism; all the while instilling in me that I might miss out on my exaltation because I drink tea, which rules many of those leaders did not follow… THAT is complex.

    • Bryan September 24, 2015 at 8:47 am - Reply

      “The Lord’s perspective.” Now that, my friends, is rich, very rich indeed.

      • nominal September 25, 2015 at 8:48 am - Reply

        It’s not a surprise at all when one who only criticizes has little ability to see the Lord’s perspective. I’m glad someone posted the link to Elder Ballard’s talk.

        • Xposit September 25, 2015 at 9:29 am - Reply

          Neither is it a surprise, nominal, when one who always looks to authority for their truth see’s the Lord’s perspective in that authority regardless of what they say. I’m also glad someone posted the link; it reminds me of why I left over 40 years ago.

        • Gary in Oregon September 25, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

          The Lord is omnipotent and quite capable of delivering His perspective personally. If he decided to delivery His perspective to us, would he charge 10% of your gross as his speaker fee?

          Human History is littered with hundreds of thousands of talking suits who are totally happy to provide us with “the Lord’s perspective” in exchange for money and influence.

          The MIND CONTROL CULT has lots of otherwise intelligent people believing that a select few speak for God, even though none of them have announced ANY “thus saith the Lord” revelations since Joseph Smith did it on a daily basis. Gotta hand it to Joseph, though. He fully understood that if you’re gonna tell a Lie you expect people to believe, make it a Big Lie.

    • KP October 1, 2015 at 2:41 am - Reply

      Thanks for the link! I just read this “epistle”. I ate it all up and feel edified. I do not attend church currently, as I struggle with stuff, but this talk was good. I really wanna get my head straight and go back to church. Thanks for the link!

  19. Bryan September 23, 2015 at 11:31 am - Reply

    “When I have a question that I cannot answer, I turn to those who can help me. The Church is blessed with trained scholars and those who have devoted a lifetime of study, who have come to know our history and the scriptures. These thoughtful men and women provide context and background so we can better understand our sacred past and our current practices.”

    As someone else pointed out, this really is amazing. “Trained scholars” are the real guides to understanding our sacred past and current practices. Doesn’t this pretty much sum up what’s going on with SLC Mormonism? What more needs to be said?

  20. mominthetrenches September 26, 2015 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Wow, first time visit to check out the Mormon Stories site-every place to comment is so completely negative and borderline hostile. I’m sorry that so many have had awful experiences at Church or on missions, etc, which is a huge generalization to place on an entire Church. I don’t agree with any of the points that are shown here to try to de-bunk many of the basic doctrines of the LDS faith, either. I thought this was supposedly an objective, helpful site, for those who struggle with their questions. I feel sorry for so many who have so much bitterness towards the LDS Church, and I’m outta here!

  21. Fraidy Cat September 26, 2015 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    “If you think you may have been brainwashed by a cult, you just need to do more of the things that brainwashed you in the first place. That will cure you of your suspicions and everything will be A-OK.”

    • RLeeG September 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

      Exactly. Well said.

  22. RLeeG September 28, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    I love this quote by Ballard,

    “Like the dead sequoia, these Church members once received their spiritual nourishment from the “well of living water” offered by Jesus Christ, but having been disconnected for one reason or another from that source, their spirit was dulled, and they eventually died spiritually.”

    Basically, your spiritual health is what Ballard says it is. If you leave the church, you are dead spiritually. Even if you still believe and follow Christ. No matter. Dead.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.