“Finding Faith in the Midst of Doubt”: A Brief Response to a Recent “New York Times” Article



Light amidst darkness


A few days ago, the New York Times published an article focusing on Hans Mattsson, a former high Church leader in Sweden who is currently experiencing (now very public) doubts about Joseph Smith and Mormonism.  The article has attracted considerable attention in some circles, and members of the editorial board of The Interpreter Foundation decided that it would be advisable to make a brief comment in response.  That comment has now been posted:




We will, very likely, have more to say on the subjects raised in the article over the next few weeks and, surely, in the long term.


Posted from Phoenix, Arizona



Sad news out of England
Today is Hugh Nibley’s birthday
“Why I don’t call myself a Mormon feminist”
“Top NBC Foreign Correspondent: US Strategy in the Middle East Leaving Region ‘Confused’”
  • paizlea

    The NYT article left me with the impression that doubt itself was not the sole cause of Matttson’s departure from the Church; it was how that doubt was handled. An Apostle apparently lied about having a manuscript that would address the concerns of doubters – that’s huge. As a former LDS myself, I was also surprised to learn that a high ranking leader of the Church was unaware of Joseph Smith’s polygamy, and he’s not alone – many Mormons don’t know it! This downplaying of Church teachings to suit the current zeitgeist seems much worse than having to answer uncomfortable questions.

    As you continue to write about this topic, I’m hoping that you will address the Church’s handling of awkward facts and how that affects the doubting faithful.

    • DanielPeterson

      I know Elder Perry, and the idea that he was lying strikes me as extraordinarily implausible.

      I’m very much in favor of being open, though, and I think that this article may prove beneficial in the long term.

    • utex

      As a former non-LDS person, I attended BYU over 40 years ago. I was explicitly taught about polygamy in my religion classes. I joined the church because I liked the people and I believed, even in my limited vision at the time, that the institution couldn’t be all bad if it produced such good people.

      Any misgivings I had about polygamy have evaporated. That was then and this is now. That was Joseph Smith in his time, and I am me in my time. Who wants to focus on something that happened over 100 years ago when there is home and visiting teaching and other volunteer humanitarian service to be done today? I guess the difference is that my faith has never rested on Joseph Smith, the man.

      Show me something better today (in terms of promoting service to one’s fellow man and woman) and I will be more than happy to take a look. I just haven’t seen it and, frankly, the Church keeps getting more attractive all the time.

      Bob Lavender

  • Eric Ringger

    The situation with the Apostle sounds like a possible misunderstanding, perhaps due to subtle (and unavoidable) language barriers.