Public records show that the worldwide membership growth for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has slowed. Also, many members have chosen to either drop out, become inactive, or have had their names removed from the rolls of the faith.
This is close to my heart because someone near and dear was one of them. She is a very devote Christian and very bright. She and her husband have raised a beautiful family. She served a mission for our church and married in the temple, but has chosen to reject Mormonism.
What Are Some Of The Causes of Discontent?
She recently shared with me the details of why she left the Church. I felt the sincerity of her heart as she shared how hard that decision came. I am deeply grateful she was willing to openly share these feelings with me.
She sent me the link to the book, CES Letter, by Jeremy T. Runnells that she suggested I read giving some of the reasons why she had left the Church. CES stands for the Church Education System, and he had reached out to them for answers. I downloaded the book and went through it in quite a bit of detail, as he explains why he left the Church because they couldn’t, “answer my concerns and questions.”
As I went through the book, I found many miss leading quotes and misinformation. Unfortunately, many of them were from BYU professors and Church intellectuals that I knew were wrong from my personal research. A lot of people are leaving the Church because of these confusing and contradictory statements. For example, Jeremy says there are 100,000 changes in the Book of Mormon since it was first published. This is incredibly misleading. I have a copy of the original and have read it, and was thrilled with the consistency with the current edition.
Are There Problems Within Mormonism?
Every church has it problems and Mormonism is not alone. Several years ago, I was attending a General Conference of the Church in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, when I heard President Benson, the President of our church at the time, say that the condemnation the Lord had placed on the Church had not been lifted, as he quoted from Doctrine & Covenants Section 84:
49 And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin.
50 And by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin because they come not unto me.
51 For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
52 And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me.
53 And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—
55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say but to do according to that which I have written—
58 That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
(Bold is mine)
Today we are seeing the effects of that condemnation as people fall into the clutches of unbelief, vanity, and sin, and do not know the voice of the Savior. Also, many leave the Church because of so much conflicting information, which dashes their trust in a consistent theology. Let us look deeper.
The Book of Mormon is basic to our religion. The fundamental purpose of the Book of Mormon is to bring people to Christ and help prepare for His glorious return so that we are not “under the bondage of sin…” and “know the voice of the Savior.” 51 “For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.” The Book of Mormon, as a second witness with the Bible, is designed to help us get out from under that bondage and receive His mercy and grace. This is fundamental to Mormon theology.
Two Credible Defenders of the Faith and Book of Mormon
There are many credible researchers and defenders of the Book of Mormon, both member and non-member. I share two examples that come from outside independent sources.
1. Rob Kay, is a good friend of our daughter, McKaylee, and her husband, Scott. Rob is a Jewish convert, with a strong Hebrew background who at age fifteen, by chance, picked up a copy of the Book of Mormon and immediately recognized it as a Hebrew document. “This book is written in the manner of the Jews.” Three years later he joined the Church. He let me put his remarkable conversion story on our website; the link is below. His profound understanding can be supported by his website posts, and the link is below as well.
He took the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon, which was the last one Joseph Smith was able to edit before he was martyred, and created a three-volume set, called, Voices from the Dust — showing the Hebrew structure, but in English. I have read his adaptation three times, and have greatly rejoiced in his insights and the content from this new, but old Hebrew perspective.
One of the things I learned from Rob and from another Jewish convert friend, David Doane, is that the Book of Mormon is full of Hebrew Midrash occurrences. The concept of Jewish Midrash was totally unknown to Joseph at the time he translated the Book of Mormon, yet the Book of Mormon has several profound examples, as Rob Kay has explained.
In Hebrew, there is no punctuation, and Rob has no chapters and verses in his three-volume set, “Voices from the Dust“. So, I was totally fascinated as I read his adaptation to observe that the sectioning he uses often begins with one of the 1,800 Adamic phrases that I have found in my research. I was pleased that LDS Living Magazine picked up on this work from an article I wrote. It is a unique perspective.
2. Jonathan Neville, who, in my opinion, is the best church historian because he is not attached to any church research system subject to correlation. He is “freelance” and a very brilliant researcher, retired lawyer, and has found many mistakes in the Church history books – mainly using the Joseph Smith Papers and many other dependable research resources. I recently reached out to him as a friend. He was familiar with the Runnells CES Letters book and has written a blog article addressing the question of the accusation that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, which was one of the concerns of the person mentioned above.
Jonathan shared with me:
“I started a blog responding a while back” This is a blog written in response to Jeremy Runnells’s letter to the CES director.
Jonathan said: “Recently I responded to FairLDS’ attempt at a response to the CES letter.”
In his usual fair and insightful way, he deals with plagiarization, misinformation, and relevant questions that have caused members to question their membership in the Church and the Book of Mormon.
Science Vs. Faith
For me, the bigger world problem is all who are turning away from God and assuming science will save them. In a recent survey, 93% of the leading American scientists believe the Bible is a myth. In the Book of Mormon, both Nephi (1 Nephi 13:38-41) and Joseph in Egypt (2 Nephi 3:11) prophesied this would happen, and that the Book of Mormon would come forth and validate the Bible. It is doing that in a major way in fulfillment of those prophecies, which also validates the Book of Mormon because these prophecies are coming about as we speak, and Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15-20)
We know religion is a matter of faith, but I believe the following article gives undeniably validation of the scriptures including the Bible, and showing the fingerprint of God and evidence of the Adamic language. I used the scientific method to validate these findings.
I pray for all our Christian Missionaries who are using the Bible to bring people to Christ and His great gospel plan of happiness and peace in the midst of the storms. All who believe that gospel will make it into the millennium. I also pray for our missionaries who are bringing the fullness of the gospel as contained in the Book of Mormon to as many as will. We know the gospel will go to all before He comes. Let us join arm-in-arm to get the good news out there – live it and share it. (John 15:8)
My Own Research, Findings, and Testimony
As to Joseph Smith, it is as Jeremy Runnells says, he is either a modern-day prophet or he is the greatest fraud ever. This reminds me of C. S. Lewis’s comment about the Savior: he said, “There can be only one of two conclusions: 1) He is the greatest deceiver of all time, or 2) He is exactly what and who He said He is: the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind.”
Again, Jesus gives us how to know, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) The information in the following link is adapted from a book about 100 people who knew Joseph intimately. I would much rather rely on their testimonies than on the many others who did not know him and chose to denigrate him not knowing the facts. Both the translation of the Book of Mormon as well as the printing were major miracles for anyone who is willing to look at the history with a desire to know the truth.
Another fascinating fingerprint from the Lord came to me. At 4:28 (MST) on 20 March 2017) was the moment of the Vernal Equinox. Spring sprung upon us! The early morning hours are my best time for meditating. I had the impression that morning that the ratio of the height to width of the first printing of the Book of Mormon was in the divine ratio or the Golden mean. The divine ratio is ever-present in nature. Dr. Hugh Nibley, Brigham Young University said, “Measurement is the very essence of creation.” The Lord has said, “Behold, all things are created and made to bear record of me.” (Moses 6:63) When I got up – having a replica of one of the 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon first printed – I measured it, and found it to be exactly as the Spirit had taught me. (190 mm high x 117 mm wide; 190/117 = 1.62. The golden mean is 1.618033989…, an irrational number) We have more than two thousand books in our library, and I have not found another with the divine ratio. I thank the Lord for this insight.
I believe we should let each person follow their hearts in terms of their religious beliefs and be happy therein. As I see it, the confusing teachings that are causing many to leave the Mormon religion are based on misinformation that Satan has put out there. Unfortunately, many have “thrown the baby out with the bathwater” and no longer believe in Christ. Interestingly, the Lord gave Joseph Smith the name of His Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Indeed, we who follow the teachings of the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ coming through the Prophet Joseph Smith count ourselves among true Christians, as we come unto Him with full purpose of heart, and hearken to His voice.
My life has grown in light and truth spiritually and temporally mainly because of internalizing the beautiful truths of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not only the “good news;” it is for me the BEST NEWS! I believe the success the Lord has given me scientifically is because He knew how I love to share this most important message, and I am so pleased that we have over 70 thousand visits a year to my book’s website www.ItsAboutTimeBook.com from across the globe and increasing.
David W. Allan
Rob Kay’s website: The Mormon Yeshiva
Rob Kay’s conversion story: “Voices from the Dust.“