The Internet Strikes Again, Mormon Edition

Once again we see that the internet is the greatest threat to religious dogma in the modern world.

Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt
In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church. He followed his father and grandfather into church leadership and finally became an “area authority” overseeing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout Europe.

When fellow believers in Sweden first began coming to him with information from the Internet that contradicted the church’s history and teachings, he dismissed it as “anti-Mormon propaganda,” the whisperings of Lucifer. [...]

But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures were rife with historical anomalies, Mr. Mattsson said he felt that the foundation on which he had built his life began to crumble.

The things that unsettled Mattsson were basic historical details, like Joseph Smith’s use of “seer stones,” his polygamy and his fraudulent “translations” of Egyptian papyrus. These are things that would be covered in any secular history of the Church of Latter Days Saints. But if Mattsson had heard of them at all, they were probably downplayed or denied by a Mormon apologist.

The irony is that the church is well aware of these issues, and church scholars have acknowledged each problem in publications. But this knowledge has so far not made it down to the rank an file member, and Mormon hardliners will still try to deny them. So when someone like Mattsson stumbles across a site like the Recovery from Mormonism forum they have no way to deal with what they learn.

Hans Mattsson was interviewed on Mormon Stories Podcast.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist…

    What? Is this not a well-known thing to Mormons?

    • David Joseph Post

      It’s not as well known as one would think, and at best it is downplayed. None of the church standard teaching material mentions his other wives, and instead focus on his other teachings.

      If you take a look at any church publication, whether it be magazine or church teaching material, you will see Joseph Smith translating from actual plates with Oliver Cowdery sitting right next to him. The real history is that he put a rock he found in a hat and read off words which appeared before him while the plates were “hidden” somewhere.

      One of the things that lead me to stop believing was the intellectual dishonesty that is the Mormon Church. Those that should know better teach lies and deceptive half truths.

  • GubbaBumpkin
    • Greg G.

      Again? Which do we have the most of now: palaces of David, Noah’s Ark landing sites, splinters of The Cross, or skulls of John the Baptist?

      • Yoav

        In the basement of David’s palace they found Noah’s ark, and there was a piece of the cross and a skull under the kitchen sink.

        • kessy_athena

          What, no Ark of the Covenant? It’s supposed to be everywhere from the Money Pit on Oak Island to a museum’s storage shelf in Zimbabwe. Surely it should be in David’s palace, too.

          • Yoav

            Come on, everybody know the ark of the covenant is at the US military warehouse where Indian Jones left it.

    • Yoav

      It’s important to remember that arutz sheva is the Israeli equivalent of fox noise and was established by the settlers in the west bank as an ideologically pure source of information untainted by the perceived left leaning of the media (sound familiar). In interviews with the lead archeologist I’ve seen he was a lot less decisive about the attribution of the site to David, leaving it mostly as an innuendo while trying to balance his professional dignity with the hope to keep the media interested long enough for him to leverage the interest into some funding for continuing the dig, which is what scientist always think of.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        It’s also important to remember that a majority of Holy Land archaeologists are driven by their fervent belief, leading to raging confirmation bias.

        • Yoav

          I actually knew several archeologists over the years and they were on the most part scientist who were out to try and understand the history of the region rather then prove the bible. Like I said even in this case when the actual archeologist was interviewed he didn’t even want to commit that the palace was Judean, let alone attribute it to David. One major problem, that is getting worse, is that with the general cuts in funding for science, which hurt the humanities even worse then the natural sciences, it’s often almost impossible to find funding for digs from any source other then religious fundamentalist organizations which then put the archeologists in a position where they have to dance around in order to not say anything that is either untrue while not completely shutting down the notion that the site may really be Davids palace/ Jesus’ garden shed/ Noah’s grocery store.

          • kessy_athena

            Generally, the real True Believers don’t seem to be willing to put in the time and work to become real archaeologists. So while there are certainly plenty of religious archaeologists, they generally seem to put the evidence first.

            However, at least in Israel, the whole field has become extremely politicized since for reasons that I don’t begin to understand, there are many among both Israelis and Palestinians seem to think that their own versions of what happened three millennia ago somehow justifies what they’re doing to each other now.

  • threenorns

    why did he need the internet to discover all this!?? all i had to do was read the book of mormon to realize it made no sense at all.

  • Lurker111

    Mormonism is the Scientology of the 19th Century. It takes a damaged mind to believe this stuff. And minds are often damaged by simple repetitive exposure to same. Fortunately, some damaged minds heal.