Starting in late 2013, the Church began to publish essays on LDS.org that confirm many of the troubling issues found in Mormonism. These essays discuss controversial events or topics that hadn’t previously been addressed by the governing body of the church, including the ban that prevented blacks from receiving the priesthood or entering the temples, the Book of Mormon translation and DNA research, and the Book of Abraham translation. The efforts to be more open with the complete history of the Church will lead to a better understanding of the founding events for both believers and investigators.
Although the essays contain information and footnotes that may be viewed as “spinning the story” in favor of the church, many view these essays as baby steps in the right direction toward transparency and truthfulness toward church members. These essays also help the church protect itself from litigation lest discouraged members ever attempt to sue to church for fraud or non-disclosure of the facts, as was the case with Stake President Tom Phillips, who filed for a hearing in 2013 after discovering troubling information about the Church that had never been disclosed to him before and which made the church’s truth claims much less believable.
Many of the essays are buried deep within LDS.org and are difficult to the find. The following resource provides links directly to the essays to make it easier for those who wish to find them:
You are viewing Part 2 of 5 of the Gentle Awakening Presentation Series, which introduces the foundational problems of the Church.
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Part 2: Introduction
Continue to Gentle Awakening Presentation Series.
“For there are many yet on the earth … who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” (D&C 123:12) The Gentle Awakening series provides a concise introduction to our church issues and is divided into five parts:
- Introduction: Is it possible that we might be mistaken?
- Foundational Problems: What are the real issues about our beginnings, about which we may not have been told the whole truth?
- Post-Foundational Problems: What are the real issues that arose after our beginnings, about which we may not have been told the whole truth?
- Theological Problems: If this is Christ’s true church, wouldn’t it follow His teachings?
- Roadmap: What should I do now?
Note: You can read the full PDF document containing all 5 parts at this link:
For optimal viewing, click the “Fullscreen” icon in the lower right corner of each presentation. If you wish to interrupt or skip any video segment and continue through the presentation, simply use the advance button at bottom of the full presentation screen.
Part 1: Introduction
See also: Four Essentials for Accepting Truth
Part 2: Foundational Problems
Part 3: Post-Foundational Problems
Part 4: Theological Problems
Part 5: Roadmap
See also: Why Have I Felt the Spirit?
Recently, I was forwarded a response received by a concerned member who wrote his BYU professor of ancient scripture regarding the Book of Abraham problem. The professor holds a PhD in the field of ancient scripture and provided the following response. I will include an open response to his explanation.
4 February 2014
Tom Phillips, former stake president in England and Area Controller for the British Isles and Africa as well as the Financial Director for the Church’s U.K. corporate entities, has allegedly issued a lawsuit against Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Each of the items included in the court summons are questions that could possibly be verified in a court of law to be either true or false (they are matters of secular rather than theological nature). These include the Church’s claims that:
In 1835, a traveling showman brought an exhibit of Egyptian mummies and papyri to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith, being fascinated by ancient things, was highly intrigued and was permitted to examine the Egyptian writings. After doing so, Joseph Smith was elated as he announced that these were the writings of the great biblical patriarch Abraham. What good fortune, what were the chances! Furthermore, he said, there were also some writings of Joseph of Egypt. Several members of the Church pooled their money and bought the papyri and mummies for $2,400 (a large sum of money especially in those days). After about seven years, Joseph finished the translation of the scroll which he called the Book of Abraham, but he died before translating the Book of Joseph scroll.