Shaken Faith Syndrome

Ok, this is an email I received, and I thought it sounded quite interesting.  Zelph, I couldn’t help but think of you when I read this.  I think it sounds interesting to read myself, and I think others may find it interesting.


The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) would like to announce the publication of Shaken Faith Syndrome (www.ShakenFaithSyndrome.com) by Michael R. Ash.

This publication is really two books in one. In the first part Mike addresses the feelings and frustration that often emerge when members think they’ve discovered some new information that seems to falsify the Book of Mormon or undermine the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith.

Mike examines the emotions, confusion, and frustration that may surface when we encounter anti-Mormon literature as well as the unconscious options we sometimes choose when dealing with competing paradigms. He explores ways for believers to strengthen their testimonies by developing a more mature appreciation of the role of prophets, revelation, and scripture, as well as a greater understanding of the inherent limitations of science, history, and even the scriptures. Finally Mike points out that there is evidentiary support for the Book of Mormon. As Mike explains, LDS scholars— although disdained by many critics— are esteemed among their peers as competent scholars and continue to shed favorable light on the prophetic abilities of Joseph Smith.

The second half of the book applies the principles of the first half of the book to common anti-LDS issues. Among these issues are: the Kinderhook Plates, the Journal of Discourses, the First Vision, Book of Mormon anachronisms, the Joseph Smith Papyri, Plural Marriage, DNA, Joseph’s treasure digging years, and more.

This is a book that every LDS apologist should own and recommend to any member or investigator who has encountered anti-LDS propaganda (or who has a friend or family member who has encountered LDS-critical material). Quite frankly, if every member of the Church would read this book is seems likely that we might lose fewer members to the arguments of detractors.

The book sells for $19.95 and is available at Deseret Book stores (SKU#5011606) as well as the FAIR bookstore (http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p1893036081.html– you can click directly to FAIR’s bookstore via www.ShakenFaithSyndrome.com). You will want to have this book in your library and we hope you’ll share the announcement of this book with your friends, family, neighbors and associates, as well as on blogs, chat rooms, message boards, etc.

32 comments on “Shaken Faith Syndrome

  1. Shaken faith syndrome, I like it. Where do people come up with these terms? It sounds interesting, but I highly doubt that the book will have that great of an impact.

    I found this statement kind of annoying: “if every member of the Church would read this book is seems likely that we might lose fewer members to the arguments of detractors.”

    Uh huh.

    I think that if every member of the church learned about the Kinderhook plates, the Journal of Discourses, the First Vision, Book of Mormon anachronisms, the Joseph Smith Papyri, Plural Marriage, DNA, Joseph’s treasure digging years you would see a mass exodus from the church. O.k. maybe not a mass exodus, but there would certainly be a move away from the paradigm of “the one true church” within the members.

    The truth is that most members of the church don’t know much or anything about most of the difficult issues.

    On the other hand, I admire people that face these issues instead of burying their head in the sand and pretending that these problems don’t exist and must be lies, even though they can be easily found using strictly LDS sources.

    So what is the church to do? I think that is why it comes down to truth. Truth can withstand any degree of scrutiny. Truth is the ultimate authority on religion, not the other way around.

  2. The author says on his website, “In today’s Internet world, an increasing number of Latter-day Saints are
    encountering anti-Mormon material.” I think, in fact, the worst hurdle for most of us to get over is not “anti-Mormon” material which most of us can see through easily, but rather material from the Church itself, whether it be through manuals, statements, or books written by General Authorities. Only once we are feeling disillusioned or offended by something in one of those sources does so-called anti-Mormon propaganda have the power to take hold of us. Sometimes we feel that we’ve got nothing to go on from Church leaders, and so it takes incredible strength and endurance stay balanced. It’s a daily struggle for me.

    In any case, it sounds like an interesting book and if I can get my hands on it then I would read it.

  3. My thoughts exactly, TFD. I was interested in this book right up until I read “anti-mormon”. A more interesting take would be to help people deal with dissonance in faith and religion (and life in general), and specifically ideas for balancing “the good, the bad, and the ugly” within the church, so to speak.

  4. You know, I think we will see more and more of these kinds of books. I think it is simply a reflection of a much larger issue facing the church as more and more members use the internet and find information about the church that they never knew before, regardless of how long they have been in the church.

    I cringe anytime I hear the term “anti-Mormon”. I think the term is used rather loosely. I think the term “anti-Mormon” is just a buzz word used to make people assured that whatever is published by the person is just “a bunch of lies by people that are trying to tear down the truth” when many times, they have the facts on their side.

    I knew someone that thought Richard Bushman was an “anti-Mormon”. It made me laugh to myself and just demonstrates how quick people can be to judge something as unauthentic by labeling it as “anti-Mormon”.

    Although, I do believe that there are self proclaimed anti-Mormons out there. When I saw “the Godmakers” even in my true believing days, I thought it was a great laugh, and still do to this day. I can see past the hyperboles and distortions, but I also see it in the institutional church. So what is one to do? I think what it comes down to is for people to do their own research, and look at and read original sources.

    I can’t comment on the book mentioned in this blog, because I haven’t read it, but I don’t believe that simply reading this book is the best way to go about approaching these issues. It is good to get different viewpoints, but as I said, what it comes down to is for people to look at all the information and make their own choices.

  5. Excellent points everyone. Yes, Adam, I agree that the term “anti-mormon” is thrown around much too loosely. But remember, this is a PR piece, and is aimed at keeping TBM’s in the fold, so I think that’s why they chose to use that word. However, I agree that dissonance is a better choice.

    Zelph, in regards to your “mass exodus” comment, I find it really interesting that many members simply don’t want to know these facts. Whenever I talk to my brother, sister, mother, wife, they all just get the heebee jeebees, and pretty much tell me to leave that stuff alone for fear that it will destroy testimony. Simply put, most members aren’t curious like you and I. I think this book is not aimed at these non-curious folks, but rather at people like you and me.

    Obviously I haven’t read it either. But I’m curious as to why you are so quick to judge that it wouldn’t have any impact on you. Did Rough Stone Rolling have an impact? Was it interesting, and somewhat helpful, to have an active “orthodox mormon” confront these issues, and still remain active?

    I guess I just don’t quite understand Zelph and Faithful Dissident’s emotional reaction to being “offended” by church materials. Yes, I won’t deny that reading RSR didn’t cause me to rethink some things like polygamy and created some cognitive dissonance, but on the other hand, I never understood why everyone was always trying to steal the golden plates from Joseph. After reading RSR, and understand the whole treasure digging thing, it made so much more sense to me, and it felt great to better understand the “follies of Joseph’s youth.”

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I can look in the Bible and see so many flawed characters: David, Joseph, Moses, Abraham, Jonah, Noah….. Really, Smith is just as flawed as them, probably less so. Even when we look at great men in the history of the US, we learn that George Washington had slaves and whiskey, Thomas Jefferson fathered children with a slave, Ben Franklin enjoyed the ladies, etc. Why do you guys get so caught up in the mythology of Joseph Smith? Can’t he be a flawed human being who still did great things?

    On the one hand, I understand the “feeling lied to”, but humans mythologize everyone. Look at George Washington and the whole Cherry Tree incident: “I cannot tell a lie.” Yet, that story is a lie. Are we to throw Washington under the bus because of his flaws? Or do we appreciate that he wasn’t perfect, and that he helped establish the country, and is a great man with flaws?

    Even though the Cherry Tree Story is a lie, isn’t it a great story to teach children? Or should we renounce the American Revolution, and go back to British rule?

  6. MH- You have a point about the book. Since I have not read the book, I can not say what kind of impact it would have. Maybe if I read it, it would completely change my outlook on the church, or maybe not. I should say that I am skeptical of the claims made by the church.

    What was going on in my mind when I said that it won’t have much impact was thinking about this statement once again:

    “This is a book that every LDS apologist should own and recommend to any member or investigator who has encountered anti-LDS propaganda (or who has a friend or family member who has encountered LDS-critical material). Quite frankly, if every member of the Church would read this book is seems likely that we might lose fewer members to the arguments of detractors.”

    What I meant to say is that I am highly suspect that it will have as much influence as the promoters of the book claim. It just sounds like a phony sales pitch. Maybe the author is very genuine and sincere, but it does not come across this way to me.

    I agree with MH that the REASON most members don’t know much about these topics is because they don’t want to know. That is why I wonder if this book would simply open all kinds of cans of worms for people.

    RSR did have an impact on me, as did other apologetic literature. In my case, the ultimate irony is that it was sites like http://www.fairlds.org and http://www.farms.byu.edu that had the greatest impact on my disillusionment. I found their explanations lacking and often times contradictory and most of the time only led to more questions than answers. Although, I admire Bushman’s honesty and straight forward approach and have listened to his interviews with John Dehlin.

    So what is the church to do? The more the church discourages its members from learning about what is out there, the more shocked and feeling of betrayal they feel when they do find out. On the other hand, as they try to help people understand about these things, people end up leaving the church.

    Finally, regarding church material, what I mean is that many if not most of the criticisms of the church can be laid out simply by using strictly LDS sources. For example, if someone says that I am reading anti-Mormon literature, my response would be “you are absolutely right, I have been reading such filthy anti-Mormon propaganda materials such as: The Journal of Discourses, History of the Church volumes, Ensign articles, Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet, the Original 1830 Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith’s diary, The original Book of Commandments before it was the D&C, etc.

    That is why when someone throws out the term “anti-Mormon” it makes me cringe.

    I have come to in a way embrace propaganda. I have realized that everyone shapes things to their way of thinking, if it is people critical of the church or people trying to promote the church. Most of the time, both sides have elements of truth, and I agree with MH that just because they mythologize stories does that mean we have to throw out EVERYTHING they say? Maybe they do have some elements of truth in there. Are we to disregard EVERYTHING they say? I think this goes for “anti’s” (if you want to call them that) as well.

  7. Heretic, I agree with you about how too many get caught up in the mythology about Jospeh and that we should be able to accept that he was a flawed human being who still did great things. I feel actually that I am able to do this. While the polygamy aspect (particularly the case of Fanny Alger) is deeply disturbing to me and will probably make me wrestle with my faith for the rest of my life, I still believe that Joseph was a prophet. (Notice I didn’t say that I KNOW he was a prophet.) I feel that I can still have faith in someone who isn’t a superhero, in in fact, knowing that person’s background, warts and all, can actually strengthen one’s faith. At least that was my overall experience after reading “Rough Stone Rolling.” For that reason, I wish that every member could read it, but I also understand that most are just not ready for it.

    The Cherry Tree Story is a good example. If we compare it to the Joseph Smith story, I don’t see anything wrong about teaching children about all the great things that Joseph did, with the plates and the vision, etc. Stories need to be age appropriate for children, so of course we’re not going to teach primary kids about polygamy. At the same time, once a person reaches a certain age, then they are perhaps ready to dig deeper beneath the surface. It’s necessary in order to grow! Just as in the case as American historical figures, they will discover flaws in Church historical figures. In fact, unless they are totally uninterested in their own religion, it’s inevitable that they will find out more. Today’s upcoming generation has so much information at their fingertips, they may even start to ask questions at a younger age than I did. The problem is that parents and leaders are not always equipped to answer those questions because they don’t know much themselves. So a kid is left to search on the Internet, which can be enlightening, but destructive to faith at the same time since not everything you read is true. I sometimes worry that kids today aren’t going to have a chance unless parents and Church leaders are better-equipped and prepared to do more to answer questions, discern fact from fiction, and provide resources for those who want to learn more. Of course, we will never get answers to everything — anyone who thinks they will is just fooling themselves and faith requires taking a leap of faith sometimes, otherwise it wouldn’t be faith. But I think that leaders of the Church could perhaps be doing a bit better damage control instead of leaving it to authors, like the one who wrote “Shaken Faith Syndrome” to come up with a solution themselves.

    As far as being “offended” by Church materials, I accept that fact that it’s my choice whether I’m offended or not, so I can’t really blame the Church for offending me, per se. It’s my choice to accept something or to reject it. Some things bother me but seem more trivial in nature (i.e. old teachings about birth control, the focus on things like bikinis and 2 pairs of earrings), while others are very hard to not feel offended about (old teachings regarding blacks, interracial marriages, etc, particularly since I have both in my family) because it just leaves you with such a sick, negative feeling. I sort of feel sometimes that my heritage and religious heritage (which I feel should be intertwined) end up colliding with each other. I find it very hard to reconcile the Church of the past with the Church of the present and future. Really, it should be the same thing but in a way it’s not, and that’s actually a good thing, at least when it comes to something like race.

  8. Regarding racism in the church, in my opinion, there is no real excuse for it, but I understand why it exists. I see the church as primarily an American church. Probably the most American church out there. Even though they are becoming a much more global church, I still view the church as one that primarily has its roots tied to 19th century America and American frontierism.

    The racism still exists in the organization, but is on a very subconscious level. What did Jesus look like? He was not European. The only reason why we think Jesus is white is because that is the way early Christian Europeans depicted him to make Christianity more appealing to Europeans. That is racist, even if it is just on a subconscious level.

    The BoM is splashed with the “good whites vs the bad dark skinned Lamanites”

    The first humans came from Africa, not Missouri. If there was an Adam and Eve, they would probably look more like the dark skinned people we see in Africa today, not the Wonder bread mayonnaise eating whites that look like they are from small town U.S.A that we see in the temple video. People that white would not survive the African Sahara. It is racist to assume that Adam and Eve were white, but once again, it is on a very deep subconscious level.

  9. I remember being taught that when our bodies are perfected and not a hair on our head is missing, we would all be “fair.” I remember asking my dad when I was young whether that meant we would all be white and blonde and he seemed to think so. My dad is certainly not a racist, but I’m sure he was just echoing whatever he had read in Mormon Doctrine or heard at church.

    My mother, a “Lamanite,” was always angered by the “curse” in the Book of Mormon, describing them as “dark, filthy,” etc. She said it angered her for years. She’s since been able to see beyond that and jokes about the “curse being lifted,” that the joke’s on white folk now since they wrinkle faster and get more skin cancer. And now everyone wants a tan.

    Racism certainly still rears its ugly head, not just among the general membership, but even among leaders. I had a friend who served a mission in South Africa a few years ago, where racial tensions are of course very much a problem, and he was surprised at the white bishop’s reaction to what he labelled as “black crap” (referring to black culture). I’ve even heard stuff like this in my own extended family, from an uncle who was a bishop and not even white himself. You can easily ask yourself how people like this come to be bishops.

    LOL, Zelph, my parents never wanted us to eat Wonder Bread or white bread in general. Now I know why. 🙂

  10. It is interesting to listen to you two. If I may make some observations…..

    It seems to me that PR campaigns greatly affect you, which is why you take great exception to comments like “This is a book that every LDS apologist should own….we might lose fewer members to the arguments of detractors.”

    Look, I see this statement for what it is–PR spin. They are trying to sell a book. Of course, they’re going to make a statement like this–it’s called MARKETING. Would you rather they say, “Well, It’s a good book, but we exaggerate some claims to get you to read it.”????

    Marketing is everywhere: both inside and outside the church. Let’s try some other “truth in advertising” slogans. Here’s one for the catholics: “we’ve been around longer than any other church so we’re the best, but we do have a problem with priests molesting children, and we really ought to update our birth control ideas.”

    Or this: “We’re Microsoft. We think we have the best operating system in the world, except all the hackers are out to find all our security holes, and sometimes we engage in anti-competitive practices.”

    The LDS church is no different. I’m not sure why, but it seems to me that these PR campaigns by the church just kind of roll off of me, but for some reason, you guys complain, “hey, I’m all wet, and it bothers me.” Why can’t you just accept the PR and not get all bothered by it?

    Look I have some real problems with polygamy, and am greatly troubled by it. It’s not just Joseph’s polygamy that bothers me though. Look in the Bible. In every instance of polygamy, there’s a problem. Abraham preferred Sarai, and sent Hagar to die. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, and there’s all sorts of bad blood between these sisters, and their children. David killed Uriah to get Bath-Sheba. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Are you trying to tell me that polygamy is a good thing? I can’t think of a single instance where it worked out well. I’ve got a problem with all of polygamy. Let me say that I think it is all wrong, but I’m not going to lose sleep or waste frustration regarding this topic. It was wrong, and I feel no need to defend it.

    Anyway, I don’t understand why you cling to the frustration. Does it make you feel better to know that others agree with you? Why can’t you simply state that it is wrong, and “get over it”?

    Dissident, racism is a different thing altogether, and I certainly don’t expect you to let that roll off your back. I went on my mission to South Carolina and Georgia, and understand how hurtful racism can be. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “The Untold Story of Black Mormons”, but it is excellent. I agree that our church really needs major enlightenment and sensitivity training in regards to race. I liked some of President Hinckley’s recent comments on racism, but think that the whole “Curse of Cain” myth should be confronted when taught in Sunday School. It is a ridiculous notion, that really has roots in 19th century protestantism, which unfortunately has gained a strong foothold in the LDS church. The blond-haired, blue-eyed thing is pretty ridiculous too.

    As for the Lamanite curse, I believe that is another example of racism, no different than anti-semitism, the holocaust, or even the racism exhibited by Joshua when he killed everyone in the city of Jericho. While it is probably not politically correct to call Nephi a racist, I think that the shoe fits. Once again, it shows me that Nephi was a product of his time, and had flaws. He was no different than Washington, Jefferson, Smith, or Thomas Monson.

  11. They are talking about this book on the NOM board, and I thought you might want to see some of the comments.


    I found this the most interesting:
    “In the sample chapter they give online, on not confusing doctrine with tradition, they start out by quoting a talk from Ronald E. Poelman, First Quorum of the 70 (October 7, 1984 Conference). The irony of this is that Polman gave a very good talk, but the “brethren” did not like it, and made him change it before it was published in the Ensign. They even went so far as to have him go back to the tabernacle and re-read his “new” talk for the cameras, then the church added this to the VHS tape of the conference, complete with a fake cough track. ( I have original version if anybody wants it to compare with what’s on lds.org, PM me)

    And FAIR wonders why our faith is shaken………………..”

  12. Here is a site with the comparison of the actual talk that was given at the conference and the one that was recorded in the Ensign and videotaped for the VHS library


    I think I remember seeing this a few years back, but it is interesting to compare the two none the less.

  13. Zelph, Thanks for the links. That’s my first time on a NOM message board, so it was interesting to see the reactions. I also enjoyed the side-by-side link on Poelman’s talk. It is interesting that the book used the original quote, not the edited quote by Poelman.

    I guess what is interesting to me is to see the NOM’s comments are aimed more at advancing their agenda to not follow the prophet, rather than embracing the book’s unorthodox, but more “progressive” ideas. I must say I have some sympathy for the NOM’s, especially in light of the apparent censorship of Poelman’s talk, but I find it ironic that when someone like Ash writes a book which is more sympathetic to their views, they attack it as just another piece of FARMS or FAIR propaganda.

    So Zelph, do you consider yourself a NOM?

  14. MH- Glad you liked the link. I remember seeing the censored article a few years ago, but I completely forgot about it until it was brought up again.

    I consider myself a NOM, but the term has a much more broad meaning to me. “New Order Mormon” means to put your ideas of Mormonism in a new order, or in other words a paradigm shift from what you might have grown up to believe. I post pretty regularly on the NOM board mostly for support and see it as more of a transitional place as I move away from the church. Many NOMs don’t believe any of the church’s doctrines and only stay for family reasons.

  15. MH

    Sorry for walking into this conversation late. Feel free to shoo me away.

    Scholars already have a term for “Shaken Faith Syndrom,” It’s called Cognitive Dissonance. Apologetics is an effort to “reduce” cognitive dissonance.

    Example: Joseph Fielding Smith in his book Man His Origin and Destiny explains that he believes the biblical standard that the world is 6,000 years old. That’s his orthodox belief. Along come dinosaur bones. He can’t fit the fossil record into his paradigm that the world is 6K and this causes cognitive dissonance or shaken faith Syndrom or fuzz or doubt…whatever you want to call it. In order to “reduce” his CG he invented a new myth. He claimed that fossils come from another planet and the material from that planet was used to form our planet.

    So a quick definition of terms:

    Apologetics: is a defense of something, such as a position or system or institution.
    Scholarship: Knowledge resulting from study and research in a particular field.

    These are opposing concepts. One defends an orthodox belief, system or institution that was often established long before the defender was born. Scholarship is the knowledge that is formed by research and accepting where the research takes the scholar despite existing orthodox views.

    Oddly, Mormon apologists think that apologetics and scholarship are related. When I type in these two terms (Apologetics, Scholarship) into google, six of the top ten sites that come up are Mormon sites. They include, FARMS, FAIR and Mike Ash’s site, Mormon Fortress. The other four were kooky evangelical Christian sites.

    A book that attempts to reduce cognitive dissonance is normal and for someone who is at a certain level of maturity. But at some point in ones maturation process it’s also healthy to cast away the apologetics and attempt to live in the scary world of doubt and scholarship.

    I would like to see a book for me. I’m agnostic. I accept the scholarship that points out that Joseph used his religious position to hid his adultery, he probably didn’t talk to God or angels, the Book of Mormon is not a history of any real or tangible place other than Joseph’s imagination. And yet I’m raising my children as Mormons, I’m active in my ward, I sing in our ward choir, for ten years I’ve ran a successful 11 year old scout troop and I’ve been ask, despite my doubts to teach my Elder’s Quorum and I love the members of my ward and for the most part have forgiven them for perpetuating issues of misogyny, homophobia and racism to myself and my children.

    I seriously doubt that Mike Ash has spent a moment in my shoes. Nor does he care to understand that he may just be playing a role in the reason why hundreds of thousands of my people are walking away from my tradition.

  16. Book1830,

    So which is a catchier title “Shaken Faith Sydrome”, or “Cognitive Dissonance.” I’ll vote for the former. 🙂

    I plan to blog on early Christian history, coming up, especially in regards to Gnosticism, Marcionism, and Montanism, three early Christian heresies that helped define Christian Orthodoxy. It seems that some of the early church fathers approach the problem of orthodoxy in much the same way as Michael Ash. The difference is that they didn’t just have to contend with other Christians, but with Jews and “pagans” too.

    I’m sure you’re right that Ash hasn’t walked in your shoes, but nobody has really walked in anybody else’s shoes either, or we’d all have the same opinions about everything.

    I liked your comment about the book being for someone at a certain level of spiritual maturity. I think that’s right on target. Using the analogy of Lehi’s dream, this book is for those who are wandering about in the mists of darkness. Some will make it to the tree at the end, while others will probably find other routes. The BoM says these people will perish, and I’m sure some will, but sometimes I wonder if they might just be taking the “scenic route” to the tree.

  17. MH

    Two things:

    When I said that I doubt Ash has walked in my shoes, I guess what I ment was, I doubt that he as walked the shoes of someone who doesn’t believe anymore. It’s like a quote I like from Paul Edwards:

    “What I’m talking about is knowledge. Knowledge is lived, not forgiven. … It’s an old Druid idea but an interesting one. Knowledge can’t be forgiven. We can be forgiven for our deeds, maybe for our thoughts. But once you know something, there’s no forgiveness because there’s no unknowing.”

    Once you know that Mormonism is unreconcilable with your personal integrity. I don’t think you can go back. That doesn’t mean you can’t be Mormon. But without addressing cognitive problems that I’m not qualified to address, there is no way you can never be an orthodox Mormon again.

    Second: Doubt is considered by several traditions to be a very healthy process in spiritual development. Just not ours.

  18. Interesting points book1830. I heard a non-mormon scholar ask the question, “if a person doesn’t believe in Joseph Smith, does that mean they can’t join the mormon church?”

    When I served on my mission, I remember that “do you believe Joseph Smith was a prophet?” was a question. A “no” answer would definitely mean that one couldn’t be baptized. So your comment that “knowledge can’t be forgiven” is quite interesting.

    Thanks for your insights. I think doubt can be a good thing too, but it definitely causes consternation among believers.

  19. Yeah, I doubt we would have let someone join the church when I was a Missionary if they didn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith. In hindsight, it is odd that we would withhold the saving ordinances of Jesus Christ based on skepticism about gold plates or plural marriage.

    If you get a chance, you should check out the “Do you have a testimony of…” session from last years Salt Lake Sunstone symposium. It’s really for skeptical Mormon’s who wonder if they can ever go back to the temple. But I think the discussion is similar enough. Just what can a doubter do within Mormonism without having to lie. It was also one of the loudest crowds at a Sunstone session I’ve attended.


  20. Book1830. I can understand your point about saving ordinances, but wouldn’t it also be odd to baptize someone who didn’t have a foundational belief in Joseph Smith. The foundation of the church rests on this claim, and it would be difficult for an organization to maintain orthodoxy if it allowed someone to join, who didn’t accept the foundational underpinnings, don’t you think?

    I’ll have to check that out. I believe John Dehlin published a podcast by Elbert Peck. Is this what you were referring to, or something else?

  21. i’m really disappointed to be frank. i am only 20 yrs old. i was married in the temple when i was 18. i married an RM and we were “true believers” or “faithful members”. we have now left the church because we know it is not true, and that is all it comes down to. at a time when people have access to so much info that could actually free them from their delusions on reality, silly members of the church bring out books like this that cowards are ready to soak up because they desperately want the church to be true. they are worriedly waiting to believe anything someone says who projects them self as a learned man who is ‘faithful’. they desperately want people to feed their delusions and i’m just so annoyed that people can’t see what is happening here. i’m so young and i can see it. there is no devil involved, ensnaring the people that leave the church. it is logic that makes them leave. evidence. the church doesn’t match up with observable reality, as no religion matches with it. it’s childish. searching for the most implausible answer to fight for the church. it doesn’t have a leg to stand on, and the fact that people actually think it does goes to show how brain-washed it’s members truly are. they’ll believe anything given to them by a pretended intellectual or ‘apostle’. and yes, i’m bitter and angry and fustrated, but wouldn’t you be if your family was being fed trash, that blinds them from reality and truth, and then you are named as having a ‘syndrome’? sick. sorry folks. you need to let go of your childish need for failry tale. it doesn’t happen. the world isn’t fair and it doesn’t always work out. people don’t get an equal shot at life and maybe if you woke up and smelt the suffering that won’t be rewarded in ‘the worlds to come’ the world would be a better place because people would see the urgency needed to make a difference now. gosh people, all you need to know is that evolution is real! and it does not fit with mormon theology no matter what anyone tries to tell you! it has been denounced by apostles and if you want to say ‘they are fallible’ you can because they are but you cannot say that they are still prophets of god, because ‘i am a god of order and not of confusion’ something like that. evolution is enough to tell you the church isn’t true, on loads of levels, take adam and eve for example, if evolution is real, there could be no adam and eve story because there was no death before the fall, and evolution requires death to occur. the church says in the bible dictionary that adam and eve story is a literal thing. there are loads more incriminating things you could find out about the church but that is the stuff the church will chat crap about but they can’t touch the evolution stuff. if they deny it, they’re stupid, if they embrace it, they’re stupid, because it doesn’t fit. i would love to say more but to be honest i don’t know what else would be helpful right now. excuse my email address, it’s an old one 🙂

  22. Humanbeing,

    Thanks for commenting. It seems your comments would be better placed in my post called “Science and Religion: Are they always opposing?” and is found at http://www.mormonheretic.org/2008/06/29/science-and-religion-are-they-always-opposing/

    Most of the comments here are just speculations about the book. I’d be curious to hear from someone who has actually read this book.

  23. my mum has read it and she’s told me about it and is a believer. you may not think i’m in any position to know but believe me, i already know what the book is like. and it’s not cool.

  24. it’s convincing no doubt.

  25. I’d really be curious to hear what your mom has to say about the book.

  26. Money would be much better spent on the writings of Blaise Pascal, a Christian Apologetic, mathmatician, philospher and scientist, who lived long before the LDS Church began.

    At FAIRS and Neal A. Maxwell Institute you can find that what Joseph Smith said is not important, he was only a translator. Others will say that there is nothing in the Book of Mormon about the United States constitution. Also that writings of Joseph Fielding Smith do not matter. Mark E. Peterson and Marion G. Romney do not count either.

    Michael Ash would have you believe that what these groups tell you will give all of the answers. Such nonsense destroys more faith than his book can fix.

    Pascal’s works are historical classics, and non-LDS.

  27. What is it about Blaise Pascal that you find so interesting?

    Are you saying that FAIR, Maxwell Institute, etc are complete garbage?

  28. Christianity faced the reality that the earth moved around the sun. It could not be denied. Apologetics such as Pascal provided a way to find meaning again.

    The LDS played with Central America, and Thomas S. Ferguson realized that it was not the place. He lost his faith.

    FAIR, Maxwell Institute, etc continue to try to convince others of a false location for Book of Mormon Lands, and in the process, some have become apostate to previous teachings. It is absurd.

    There are classic writings outside of the LDS circles, Pascal is only one example. Faith cannot be built on ideas such as that the horse was really a tapir. Garbage only harms everyone.

  29. I’d definitely like to learn more about Pascal. I see some huge similarities between Galileo and BoM geography theories.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen my other posts about BoM geography. I am greatly curious about the Malay Theory–that the BoM occurred in what is part of Malaysia. Scientifically, it seems to be a much better fit than the Americas (DNA, elephants, silks, etc). Of course, it doesn’t jive real well with many things Joseph Smith said…. Check it out here.

  30. […] 8.       shaken faith syndrome […]

  31. @humanbeing
    You sound very bitter and hateful. You condemn people for supposedly wanting to believe and having their logic bent. How do we know that YOUR logic is not bent in favor of not wanting to believe. There is extraordinary amounts of evidence favoring the claims of Joseph Smith that critics of the church (possibly including yourself) have taken great pains to ignore. Don’t act so high and mighty and pretend that You have a monopoly on reality and logic.

  32. At the end of the day LDS as well as other religions believe and worship our heavenly father. It makes no difference who did what in the past, the church today does much good and our fellow brothers and sisters are pushing forward gods work. If prophets and leaders have lied or acted unsavoury that’s between them and god.

    We look at our church and our fellow saints and see their good works. We follow church council regarding morals, ethics and word of wisdom and we are blessed because of it. One only has to look at the state of the world today to see proof of this. I am open minded but also a skeptical person by nature and after many years of entertaining anti Mormon literature I can honestly say its down to your personal testimony and faith in god as to what you want to believe. It really makes no difference, god will judge us on what we understood to be the truth and our actions towards our fellow man.

    Every church has a “colorful” past as do all matters when man is involved. Our politicians lie, our scientists lie….I put my faith in god., amen.

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