One could define a faithful perspective as supporting the church’s truth claims at all costs. Anything that is outside of that faith-promoting mindset could be argued to be anti-mormon, because it doesn’t align with promoting faith in the church at all costs. We aren’t willing to sacrifice everything (as Elder Oaks says is his Apostolic Duty) to defend the church. We have ideals and morals after all.
Is wasmormon.org Anti-Mormon?
Is this site an anti-Mormon website? That’s not really the focus of the site, it is more a pro-truth website. Are these two things mutually exclusive? That’s a matter of opinion, or preference, or perspective. It can’t be an opinion, because truth is not an opinion. It’s not a preference, because no matter how much some prefer that something is true doesn’t change the truth. It’s more of a perspective than a matter of opinion.
But if you have a perspective or honor the idea that telling the truth and being honest is more important than promoting an organization, then you’d see this site as allowing individuals a platform to tell their truth. This site digs in and investigates the often hushed facts and pieces of the narrative that are uncomfortable. The things the church would rather not discuss. The things that are perhaps not faith-promoting. We see value in these things because they tell a more complete story. Elder Packer wanted anything uncomfortable to be ignored, he even said that “not everything that is true is useful” to the church and that “the truth is not uplifting”.
Would you rather be anti-truth, or anti-Mormon? Is that the real choice we must make? It seems in many cases the church leaders are setting this choice up for us, and showing that they value those who stay in the boat over those who seek truth.
As Lyndon Lamborn states there is a certain tipping point many reach. He describes it as when “the desire to know the truth at whatever cost finally outweighed the desire and need to believe and belong” in the church. Once we decide to value the truth (and are willing to sacrifice anything for it), then we are able to look objectively at things and can understand that the truth may be more valuable than membership to an organization with a track record or obscuring truth (at all costs) for the name of the organization.
Looking at it objectively, from the perspective of a non-member or even a non-believing member of the church, the truth is literally anti-Mormon. This helps explain how so many members are currently leaving the church. The church released the Gospel Topic Essays, which included details that historians had previously been excommunicated for publishing! The Gospel Topic Essays contain truth and somewhat honest historical references, and thus they challenge the faith-promoting narrative of the church. By this definition, many would consider them to be anti-mormon, yet they are published by the church and available on the church website and in the church-provided study apps!
Some members and even local bishops believed that the essays were anti-Mormon propaganda.For Mormons in a faith crisis, the Gospel Topics essays try to answer the hard questions, Jana Riess
These sentiments have been clearly evident for a long time, but Jeremy Runnells stated it superbly both during his correspondence with his Stake President:
Again, it is not me or the CES Letter itself that causes people to leave, if they do, but rather the facts and information verified by the church’s own essays and other LDS approved sources that test and challenge testimonies. It is not only the disturbing facts that trouble members, it is the betrayal that many members feel learning these troubling facts for the first time after a lifetime of discipleship and faithful study of correlated church history.
The church’s essays are shaking many, many members’ testimonies. In fact, there are members who see the essays themselves as acting in opposition to the church and its foundational truth claims.
The great irony is that yesterday’s “anti-Mormon lies” are now today’s church essay facts.
Yesterday’s historians and members with questions have been disciplined and excommunicated on accusations that they were “acting in opposition to the church” simply by publishing and discussing the very same information and facts verified today publicly by the church’s own essays. Many wonder if the church will ever reverse those excommunications and apologize to those historians and individuals for being ahead of their time by speaking and writing the truth.Jeremy Runnells’ letter to Stake President Ivins, March 6, 2016
He restates this later during his disciplinary council (Kangaroo Court) too:
This is the church’s own essay, “Race and the Priesthood” it’s discrediting the church. It’s discrediting the Book of Mormon. It’s discrediting every prophet from Brigham Young all the way to Harold B. Lee. So, it’s not me that’s discrediting the church. It’s the church’s own essay! Its own facts.
Mormon history is discrediting the church. Joseph Smith’s actions and conduct of marrying other men’s wives and 14 year old girls behind Emma’s back is discrediting Joseph Smith. It’s not me that’s discrediting him. Its facts. These are not anti-Mormon lies! It’s amazing to me what was yesterday’s anti-Mormon lies are now today’s Mormon essays!Jeremy Runnells, Church Disciplinary Council/Excommunication trial
We have so much information at our fingertips that we’re able to make our own conclusions rather than simply take their word for it when the leaders state they aren’t hiding anything, and “Just trust us.” Who benefits if we just trust them and don’t rely on our own thinking skills and judgments? This is the definition of blind faith.
There is a lot of evidence for this. It comes down to a choice of which perspective you choose to follow. We can’t simply choose to believe something that we know is not true, but we can choose a perspective that is more comfortable and reconcile a new truth into our world view. We may be required to adjust our worldview though. This is called growth!
The wasmormon.org website hosts stories of Mormon faith transitions told by those who have left the church. The site also spotlights a Mormon deconstruction story every week. This is in order to destigmatize those who leave and validate the doubt and questioning many members find themselves dealing with at crisis levels. These are stories of real experiences and in most cases, real growth. Is it Anti-Mormon to discuss the authentic struggles and triumphs of a faith transition? They only feel anti-Mormon to TBM Mormons and church leaders, to everyone else they are simply human stories. There is a real psychological struggle when dealing with the deconstruction of one’s faith or the collapse of one’s shelf.
These stories are seen as scary or “anti” by orthodox Mormons because they are examples of questioning things, and hence encourage or validate such questioning in others. They give authority to individuals to ask questions, to leave the boat, or to follow their own conscience and think for themselves!
The church does not want people to do their own thinking. They more enjoy the sentiment that church leaders can do the thinking and members should just follow the leaders. Just as the Mormon mantra goes, “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done.” But members really need to investigate the truth claims of their church. If it is true, that’s potentially the most important thing to learn in this life, but perhaps the inverse is also true: If the church is not true, that’s a very important conclusion to discover.
Share about your own experience discovering the truth and if it felt like the truth and facts of history were anti-Mormon. Members are often counseled to avoid reading material that makes them feel dark or an absence of the spirit. The trick is these feelings will come up with our faith-promoting worldview is challenged and we must consider the potential that the church is not what it has taught us that it is. What was it like for you? Have you reconciled the truth with your own testimony? Are you still in the struggle now? Many suggest it feels like a dark night of the soul or a faith crisis, but really the Mormon church is suffering from it’s own self-inflicted crisis. A truth crisis rather than a faith crisis. The faith was misplaced in false narratives, and when the truth comes out, this misplaced faith can no longer hold. Once we discover and admit that fact, then it becomes our choice. Do we proceed in life as anti-truth, or as accepting the things we previously considered anti-mormon to be true? Once an honest person discovers they are mistaken, they will either cease being mistaken or cease being honest. The choice is ours. Share about your own wrestle with the Mormon truth crisis with an “I was a Mormon” profile at wasmormon.org.
- Jeremy Runnells
- What is the CES Letter? Is it True/Safe to Read?
- Yesterday’s Anti-Mormon “Lies” Are Today’s Church Essays
- Questioning The Infallible Thinking of Mormon Leaders
- When Church Leaders Speak, Has Any Thinking Been Done
- Elder Packer’s Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect
- Some things that are true are not very useful to the Mormon church
- Would You Want to Know If The Church Isn’t True?