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 Scott Carles. Read more about him here.

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.

Contact Information

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 mormonthink@hotmail.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.

Magazine Article

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.

Why do you stay in the Church?

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:

The Believers
This is probably the smallest group of people that have made major contributions to the website. There are those that truly believe that the LDS gospel is the one, true church but also know of its historical problems and they wish to discuss them in such a manner as to help struggling members. They seek to provide a way for members to accept the truth of events that may harm the church by giving explanations for why things happened. Their ideas are not in harmony with the LDS Church’s teachings but are the result of very careful research and study. In the words of one such believing MT contributor:

Inevitably, the question arises about testimony. I defend my mortal testimony of Christ,
His patient work for His restored Church in this “last dispensation,” and of Joseph Smith’s
contributions to heaven’s vast plan. While this study could be feared as undermining testimony,
it ultimately unravels mere folklore and misunderstandings—providing doubt where faith
shouldn’t exist. We have solemn obligations to gather, separate, and throw away (Matt. 13:47-
48). We each function from our own conscience in our duty to not misunderstand Joseph Smith,
one another, or the truth. And “the Holy Ghost not only helps us to recognize plain truth but also
plain nonsense!”—Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1993, 78.

New Order Mormons
Many MT contributors are basically New Order Mormons (NOMs). These people for the most part do not believe that the LDS Church is the one, true church nor is the Book of Mormon a historically accurate book. Beliefs vary on whether Joseph Smith was a good-intentioned but flawed man that was inspired to produce the BOM or whether some form of deception or delusion was involved.

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.

The Helpers
Some MT contributors stay in for truly altruistic reasons. They stay to help others just discovering the truth. If everyone, that discovered that the Church may not be exactly all that they thought it was, left the church, then who would be there to help those just discovering this information for the first time? The Church has no resources to help them and is usually far more concerned with keeping the testimonies of the 99 members of the flock intact and ignores or even threatens the one struggling member who has valid concerns and questions about the Church and has nowhere to go. MT contributors & readers are usually far more educated on the troubling issues of the Church than the vast majority of bishops and stake presidents and can therefore be more helpful to those just finding out about the disturbing issues in Church history.

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.

The Educators
Some MT contributors simply believe that every member has a right to know about issues that they know about but the vast majority of members don’t know about. They don’t like to see the history of the Church taught incorrectly. Some apologists claim to share this same goal. They support calling out faith promoting stories that are not true. They seek to correct things that are taught in error in church either by stating incorrect facts or omission. They want the Church to be 100% open and honest with its history and don’t mind talking about any historical or doctrinal issue of the Church in detail and also think it’s only fair that the valid critics’ arguments are known about significant Mormon issues so that members have all the facts, from all sides so they can be well-educated and make informed decisions. Most of these contributors stay in simply for truth’s sake. They want to share the truth. It’s simply the right thing to do. To quote from a LDS common theme – “if you have the truth, wouldn’t you want to share it?”

Inactive members and those that have left the Church
Some MT contributors 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.  Except for information taken directly from critics’ websites and books, at least 90% of everything on MT’s site was written by people that were LDS Church members in good standing and mostly still active when they made their contributions. Some contributors elected to resign their membership after the Church threatened to excommunicate them for their involvement with the website, even though the Church refused to provide any evidence at all that refuted the accuracy of the information on MT’s website.

Other
Members continue to join the movement and submit articles and make other contributions to the site every month. Many people make contributions asking to remain anonymous as they are still active in the Church. Mormon scholars (both members and former members) often provide feedback used in the site. Even LDS apologists will write asking MT to include their information. The list is growing as Latter-day Saints interested in Mormon history and doctrine continue to submit items for publishing.