Posts Tagged ‘anti-Mormon’


Dispatching Stock Mormon Objections

   Posted by: Rob Bowman    in apologetics, Mormonism

The website of our ministry, the Institute for Religious Research, has hundreds of articles examining the history, doctrines, claims, and religious practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The purpose of these articles is never to belittle, attack, or offend Mormons. Rather, we are seeking to provide information for people who are seeking answers to questions about the truth claims of the LDS religion. Such people may be LDS who are open to learning from outside sources, or they may be Christians (or others) who have Mormon friends or family members. If you do not fall into such categories, then our materials are not for you, at least not at the present time.

Most of the responses from “true blue” Mormons that we receive, both through email and through social media, generally do not engage the facts or reasoning presented in the articles. We see the same types of responses over and over again. For the sake of convenience, I’m going to summarize these responses here and then give very brief, direct answers to them.

  • Your article is too long. (I sympathize. Sometimes our articles are very long. But have you read LDS scholar Dan Peterson’s “chapter” on Psalm 82:6? It’s about 120 pages long!)
  • The article is on an anti-Mormon website, so I’m not going to read it. (It’s your choice. But we try hard to be objective and respectful even as we disagree with the claims of Mormonism.)
  • You Pharisee, substituting scholarship for the Spirit. (We’ll take this criticism seriously only from Mormons who are prepared to denounce BYU, FairMormon, Interpreter, etc., as affronts to the Spirit.)
  • Why are you picking on us poor Mormons? Why are you persecuting us? (Relax. We’re just disagreeing with your belief and not hurting you in the least.)
  • I have a testimony and I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. (Fine. If that’s true, then there ought to be good answers to the arguments present in our article. Let’s have them.)
  • The Bible isn’t clear on this issue, which is why we need the Book of Mormon or a living prophet. (This claim won’t work if what the Book of Mormon says is demonstrably false or if the living prophet is a false prophet.)
  • You misunderstood or misrepresented what we Mormons believe. (If so, please tell us specifically what we misunderstood and provide documentation from current authoritative LDS teaching sources such as curriculum manuals, general conference addresses, and the like that show that what we have said is incorrect. We are open to correction but we need more than your say-so in the matter.)
  • I found a non-Mormon scholar who disagrees with something you said. So there. (Assuming the non-Mormon scholar disagrees with something I said, that fact alone proves nothing. What matters is whether he provides evidence that refutes our argument.)
  • Why don’t you just preach what you believe rather than spending so much time criticizing what other people believe? (Have you read the Bible? The Old Testament is full of material criticizing idolatrous religions. The Gospels report Jesus criticizing the Pharisees at length. Paul’s epistles are often focused on answering false doctrines such as denials of the resurrection from the dead, the claim that circumcision was necessary for salvation, and the like.)
  • I don’t appreciate evangelicals claiming that we Mormons aren’t Christians. We believe in Jesus, too. (Whether Mormons are Christians or believe in Jesus is rarely the issue. For example, an article on whether the Book of Abraham is Scripture or whether there is a Heavenly Mother is addressing a specific question that deserves an answer. Our position is that Mormonism as a religion is not a sound form of Christianity, but this is not a blanket judgment on every individual in the religion.)


Please note that we welcome constructive, substantive, honest disagreement with our resources. It is the above kinds of responses that misunderstand what we are doing and that ignore what we actually say that are unhelpful.

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On Sunday, October 5, 2008, the LDS Church’s semiannual General Conference came to a close. LDS Apostle Robert D. Hales gave an address in which he called on Mormons not to respond contentiously to criticism. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Hales as saying, “More regrettable than the [LDS] Church being accused of not being Christian is when church members react to such accusations in an un-Christlike way. Surely our Heavenly Father is saddened-and the devil laughs-when we contentiously debate doctrinal differences with our Christian neighbors.” Read the rest of this entry »

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