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Who are we?
In response to numerous requests, here's some frequently asked questions:
Who are the authors?
Dozens of Latter-day Saints have contributed substantially to the MormonThink website and many more interested readers continue to supply updated information. The majority of those people are active, church-going members of the LDS Church. We have held positions ranging from Gospel Doctrine teachers, CES educators, YW Presidents, Bishops and even a Stake President. Some of us have written faith-promoting articles that have been published in the Ensign and other church publications. Most of us have served missions and almost all of us have been married in the temple. We're just average everyday members that have a real interest in learning about accurate church history without all the sugarcoating that we often receive in Gospel Doctrine classes.
Where do we live?
All over, but largest percentage is in Utah.
Who is the managing editor of the site?
Current Managing editor is Tom Phillips, a former stake president. He is still on the rolls of the church as a member. Read Tom Phillip's story.
Are all of you still active members of the LDS Church?
Many of us still attend church regularly, do our home-teaching every month, and perform callings and service. Some have drifted into inactivity. Others have found the issues identified on this website to be too troubling to allow them to remain active in the church. Several have since resigned but they were active members when they wrote their various sections on this website. Members continue to join the movement and submit articles and make other contributions to the site every month. Many people have contributed substantially to this site and many, many more have made some contribution to MT. The list is growing as members and former members and even apologists continue to submit items for publishing.
Can anyone contribute to the site?
Absolutely, we publish material from believers, critics, apologists, the church or anyone that has an interest in Mormonism that has some interesting viewpoint, rebuttal or comment. We will link to any site that has a good argument, pro or con to make for the topics discussed. We have asked repeatedly for help in punching up the true-believer responses. You can do so anonymously or have your name or initials listed.
We've done our best to be error-free and we continually update the site to improve it as we have time and resources available.
If you wish to contribute a comment or essay to this site (from any viewpoint), want to correct an error, have a question or wish to strengthen an argument from on either side, please email email@example.com and someone will return your email.
We do not vouch for the information relayed on any other website to which MormonThink may link. Links from other sites change daily and may not support our views.
How do you differ from the New Order Mormons?
Very similar in beliefs, but one difference is that many New Order Mormons (NOM) remain affiliated with the church primarily for the benefit of their individual families and are not necessarily as interested in discussions to help determine the accuracy of church history. Those that follow the MormonThink philosophy are often more concerned with discussing historical aspects of the church and promoting true history over the commonly-held beliefs that are generally taught in the church.
Take in mind we don't try to educate people who would rather not know about the disturbing aspects of church history. They have to go looking for it to find it.
Both NOMs and MT followers generally enjoy being associated with the church and its members and don't wish to abandon a group that they still feel they identify with, even if they may have some religious views not in harmony with most mainstream LDS congregations.
What do you expect to accomplish?
Education and openness of our religion's unique history and heritage. If people want to learn about the true historical issues of the church, that they won't hear about in Sunday School, they can learn about them here. We aren't afraid to discuss the tough issues. We hope to make the church we grew up in a better place by making it more honest.
Our goal would be that no knowledgeable member should have to be afraid to speak the truth in church to avoid offending a naive member with the truth about polygamy, the BOM translation process, Masonry, or any other historical aspect of the Church. We want the Church leaders to be 100% open and honest with the members so we can be 100% open and honest with our children, families, friends, investigators and fellow members. Is that too much to ask?
Do any of you still believe?
Yes, some members that have contributed significantly to MormonThink still believe that the church is true, yet they have issues with how some of the history is inaccurately taught in church. For example, two current, active, believing members in particular have recently written over 100 pages for one section alone for MT. They believe the early leaders of the church made some significant errors (which is not the church's position) and they have asked MT to publish information they wrote to give other, more plausible accounts of certain events of church history as they understand it. They did this to help struggling members deal with some uncomfortable aspects of church history. They know that the church won't publish what they wrote but we will. Also, many believers write in with comments responding to the critics' claims. We appreciate and encourage that. In fact, many believers have written us to include their viewpoints on particular areas that are not in harmony with mainstream LDS teachings.
Also, we continue to receive many emails from faithful LDS that appreciate what we've done. They state that they don't like the fact that the church omits and often misrepresents some of its history. They still believe in the truthfulness of the church, yet they hope that the church will stop being so secretive about its past. Websites like this may be helping to push the church to be more open with its history.
Why don't you identify yourselves?
The current managing editor is Tom Phillips. However, most of the compilers of the website remain anonymous. The reason for that is obvious. The LDS Church sometimes unfairly punishes those who publish true things about the history of the LDS Church that may be unflattering, yet completely and verifiably true. The September Six is an example of this. Many who contribute to MT go to the LDS Church regularly and they don’t want to stop attending and providing service even if they don’t believe the church is the one, true church. As stated on MT, some contributing members have since decided that they can no longer remain a member of the church and some of them have identified themselves and their names can be found on the site. The remaining members are mostly still active members of the LDS church. Two MT editors were threatened with excommunication by LDS leadership when the church found out they were participating in the site. When the LDS church ceases to punish its members for telling the complete truth, more MT contributors may consider publishing their names.
The 'Editor's Comments' sections usually sides with the critics. Why include them at all?
Initially we didn't have the 'editor's comments' section but readers kept writing in and asking what we believe so we just started adding them to each section. It is also only fair to show our bias in each section. There's many people involved with this and we don't always agree on everything but we try to put in points that are common to what most of us think about each section. But frankly, most of us simply gravitate to the evidence that seems to have the strongest arguments. Take in mind that we don't always agree with the critics e.g. we don't agree with the critics that insist the plates were made of solid gold and therefore must have weighed 200 pounds. Also, we don't give credence to many critics' arguments against Mormonism on other websites and don't bother even discussing them on this site e.g. the use of the word 'adieu' in the BOM or using the Bible as evidence against the BOM. Also, the editors of each section spent a great deal of time compiling this data, so it's only fair to let them give their opinion as well. Readers should of course look at all viewpoints - critics, faithful, apologetic, etc. before coming to a definitive conclusion as to what they think is most credible.
Sunstone magazine published an article on one of the founders of this site. The thoughts relayed in the article represent the embodiment of many of the current members of the MormonThink movement. It's in the 150th Anniversary issue of the magazine released in August 2008. Link to article: http://www.mormonthink.com/files/sunstone.pdf
Why don't you include a section on the church and homosexuality and women's issues?
No one has volunteered to write them. However, they will likely be addressed in the future.
By far, this is the most common question we receive. So we’ll try to give a comprehensive answer here. We’ll break this down into the main groups that have contributed significantly to making this website:
New Order Mormons
Most NOMs are quite active in the Church, hold callings, do service, etc. but keep their beliefs to themselves for the most part out of fear of being rejected by their brothers and sisters in the ward for not conforming 100% to the will of the Church. Many grew up Mormon and still strongly identify with the culture and core values without believing in the absolute divinity of the restoration.
NOMs in general still like being in the Church and some hope to reform it towards being a more honest organization. They realize they cannot hope to possibly affect change unless they are still members of the Church.
Some NOMs continue their fellowship in the Church for family reasons – their spouse still believes, they think their children need the Church, do not wish to try other religions but think their family should have religion in their life, have a philosophy of accepting the good and rejecting the bad, don’t want to be excluded from family church activities, etc. Some remain active out of fear. One contributor’s wife said she would leave him if he didn’t remain active in the church. Others work in LDS-influenced companies and fear reprisals if they weren’t perceived as believing members. Others have their own reasons.
Most NOMs generally enjoy being associated with the Church and its members and don't wish to abandon a group that they still feel they identify with, even if they have some religious views not in harmony with the LDS Church.
It can be very painful for the people when they first discover that many of the things they were taught in church have another more disturbing side to it. We are there to support them and show them they are not alone and tell them what resources are available (online groups, locals in the area that have also come to the same realizations, etc) to help people cope with this as the Church generally provides no comfort at all to these people.
Inactive members and those that have left the Church