10 Shocking Facts About The Mormon Church

10 Shocking Facts About The Mormon Church June 18, 2019

Mormons are great people. At least, the ones I’ve met are, with very few exceptions. As you might recall, I worked for a prominent Mormon businessman at one point in time, and I got to know some of his family and many of his fellow church members.

They were all, for the most part, perfectly lovely people. Not only did they seem to have huge hearts, but they were also givers, and they left their faith at the door. I never felt as though they were pushing it on me, despite my working alongside them day in and day out for nearly a year.

It’s my deep respect for many Mormons I’ve gotten to know over the years that makes me wonder if they truly understand their own religion. Would good people like this remain committed to an organization like the LDS church if they knew some of the shocking facts I know?

I’d like to hope some of these facts, at the very least, would be cause for concern.

Here are 10 shocking facts about the Mormon church:

1. The founder had up to 48 wives – while the exact number of women who married the prophet Joseph Smith is in dispute, the only people who deny he practised plural marriage are those devoted to the image of the LDS church. The church keeps sealing records, however, that suggest Smith was “sealed” to a multitude of women.

The religious literature handed out by the earnest young missionaries in Temple Square makes no mention of the fact that Joseph Smith–still the religion’s focal personage– married at least thirty-three women and probably as many as forty-eight. Nor does it mention that the youngest of these wives was just fourteen years old when Joseph explained to her that God had commanded that she marry him or face eternal damnation.
― Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

2. Prior to using seer stones to translate the Book of Mormon from golden tablets, Joseph Smith was arrested for swindling people out of their money with those same seer stones. In 1826, Smith was charged with being a disorderly person in the state of New York. From Fraser’s Magazine, a description of the court proceedings (Wikipedia) :

[Smith said] he had a certain stone which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them. That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health, especially his eyes, making them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having anything to do with this business. … And therefore the Court find the Defendant guilty.

3. Joseph Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, had 55 wives. Sealing records show that Young was indeed sealed to 54 women after he became a Latter Day Saint and legal records show marriage to one woman prior. That’s right, the namesake of one of America’s most recognizable post-secondary institutions collected wives faster than I collect hate mail.

4. The Book of Mormon states that God cursed people of colour. Oh, but it gets even crazier. Here’s the gist. Long before the Europeans arrived in the Americas, the Book suggests, there was a group of people living there called the Nephites. They were descendants of Nephi, who was the son of a prophet who had come to the Americas from Jerusalem. The Nephi were people who believed in Christ, even before he was born. Essentially, the group splintered off into two, one of which chose not to live as God commanded. The Lamanites defied God’s rule, and as a result, God cursed them with darkened skin. In anger, they destroyed all the remaining Nephites, so that when the Europeans finally did arrive on the shores of the Americas, they found only dark-skinned inhabitants. To clarify: it is written, in the Book of Mormon, that indigenous Americans are “cursed” with darker skin and are ultimately the descendants of evil, God-defying peoples who slaughtered good, Christ-fearing white folk. I honestly wish I was making this up.

5. The Mormons were once at war with the US. In the early years of the LDS church, the Saints were forced to hop from place to place and in each new town they settled, they faced extreme prejudice from the other, non-LDS residents. Of course, the Saints were not exactly saints, if you get what I’m saying. In each new town they settled in, they would ultimately take over. Their numbers were large and they were loyal to each other and so they had a tendency to change the economics and politics of the places in which they would settle. People who had been living there before the Saints came along would feel threatened and it led to tensions between the two groups. The Saints engaged in a war in Jackson, Missouri and fled to Illinois, where their prophet, Joseph Smith would be killed as a result of tension with non-Saints there. Eventually, his successor, Brigham Young, would lead the Mormons to the Salt Lake area of Utah, where they would settle on their own and face a struggle with the US government. The US wanted to control this new territory, politically and culturally, while the LDS church wanted Utah to reflect the values and politics of their Mormon beliefs. This war, called the Utah War, culminated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

6. Brigham Young was the leader of the Mormon church when the Saints massacred close to 140 migrants from Arkansas in 1857. Known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, a wagon train from Arkansas defended themselves from a series of attacks by the Saints. Tensions were at a boiling point after the assassination of Mormon apostle, Parley P. Pratt in Arkansas as well as the fall out from the Utah War. The Mormons ended up killing around 140 people in that wagon train. Two years after the massacre, members of the US army arrived under orders to bury the remains of those massacred. When that was complete, they erected a monument over the burial site. A large pile of stone and a cross built of cedar were left to mark the grave site. In 1861, Brigham Young, whose name is on a prominent American University to this day, ordered the dismantling of the memorial after touring the site.

7. Mormons believe the Garden of Eden was in the US. That’s right, somewhere in Jackson County, Missouri, a snake talked Eve into defying God’s commands. Later, Adam and Eve were exiled to Daviess County, Missouri. From the LDS website:

Brigham Young stated, “Joseph the Prophet told me that the garden of Eden was in Jackson Missouri.” Heber C. Kimball said: “From the Lord, Joseph learned that Adam had dwelt on the land of America, and that the Garden of Eden was located where Jackson County now is.” Other early leaders have given the same information.

8. Brigham Young believed God and Adam are one and the same. Known as the Adam-God theory, believers assert that Adam is “our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do.” According to records, it was Joseph Smith who said this first, and Brigham Young adhered to it. Today, the LDS church rejects this view because it’s easier to rewrite your core beliefs than it is to scrutinize them.

9. Joseph Smith’s Youngest wife was 14, Brigham Young’s just 15. Smith sealed his union to 14-year-old Helen Mar Kimball in May of 1843. Also in 1843, Smith took on Nancy Mariah Winchester as one of his wives when she was just 14. Fanny Alger was just 16, as was Flora Ann Woodworth. Sarah Lawrence and Lucy Walker were only 17 when they became wives of the prophet. When Brigham Young was 42, he married Clarissa Caroline Decker who was 15 years old at the time. He also had a handful of 16-, 17- and 18-year-old wives, all of whom he married in his forties.

10. Mormonism is growing. Fast. Although growth has slowed over the last few years, the LDS church continues to see an increase in membership each year. The Saints are often considered one of the most rapidly growing religions in the world.

The final fact in my list suggests to me that many still don’t understand the profoundly troubling roots of this church. It inspired me to write this post and I hope it inspires you to share it and keep talking about it.

Further Reading:

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  • Lambchopsuey

    Wrong straight out of the gate. Mormons are NOT “great people”. They’re not “good people”. They’re not even “NICE people”. I knew about a dozen through a homeschooling community, and found that they were uniformly clannish, closed-minded, unintelligent, disdainful of “outsiders”, unreliable, back-stabby, snotty, ultra-right-wing politically, misogynist (yes, the women), and thoroughly unpleasant. One of the WORST groups I’ve ever been around.

    And something else – they have too many children. Why do I say that? Because out of this very small sample of Mormon families, I knew of FIVE deaths or near deaths of small children – two drowned in pools, one was run over by a car, one was drowned but revived (and at the time I knew them too young to know whether there was lasting cognitive damage), and I can’t remember how the other one died. I knew *FAR* more non-Mormon families and children, and among them, not a single death due to parental negligence. Funny, isn’t it? Guess their “god” isn’t such a reliable babysitter. They should be more responsible and have only the number of children they can competently parent. No religious group has the right to dictate how many children a woman should bear – only a true mindless nitwit would allow that kind of overreach into something so very personal.

  • Moronism is akin to $cientology, in the sense you can’t expect too much from a religion made by a huckster.

  • Michael Neville

    I spent 20 years in the Navy, most of them as a submariner. There are large numbers of Mormons in the Navy and many of them go into the submarine force. Out of the dozen or so submarine captains I served under, four of them were Mormons, including one of the best captains I had and the absolute worst captain. None of them tried to impose their beliefs on the crews and so coffee and soda were readily available.

    The reason why so many Mormons become submariners can be summed up in two words: submarine pay. Mormons tend to have large families and the extra income submariners get helps with the budget.

  • One thing you should realize is that in the 1840s, what we now call child marriage was common. There was no minimum marriagable age, and it was not unheard of for a 14-year-old widow to remarry. That’s like calling Shakespeare’s Romeo a peodphile for pursuing the 12-year-old Juliet, who was of suitably marriagable age in her place and time.

  • DogGone

    Not arguing, however, it’s not different from other religions…

  • Michael Neville

    The lists of Joseph Smith’s wives and Brigham Young’s wives show that several of them were married to other men when Smith and Young decided they needed new bed partners.

  • Jim Jones

    AFAIK they aren’t growing. That’s why they had to let girls go on ‘missions’.

  • some b*stard on the internet

    In 1838, the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, signed Missouri Executive Order 44, claiming the Mormons “must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace.”

    Due to the phrasing used by Boggs, mormons often refer to it as “The Mormon Extermination Order,” and they loooooooooove talking about it. I know, because I was raised in it.

    Hearing about this had a direct impact on how I viewed the concept of “separation of church and state,” leading me to conclude, at the age of seven, that it was extremely important to have. Combine this with being taught the ‘golden rule,’ and I would realize that the laws of the country should not be written on the basis of what religion dictates (not even my own).

    By the time I became a senior in high school, I had been considering whether or not gay-marriage should be legal. All the arguments I could find against it were, in my opinion, either abject nonsense or based solely on religion (later I would realize that was also nonsense, but that would take a couple of years). Thus, I could not in good conscience support outlawing gay-marriage, even though I believed it was a sin. After all, I had noticed that many sinful actions were legal here in Utah (mormon central), so what other position could I possibly take?

    Then, a couple of years later, I would learn that the church had spent several million dollars supporting Proposition 8 in California. This threw me for a loop, because the church didn’t seem to do that in Utah for Amendment 3 (but I would realize this was because Utah was deeply conservative and religious). How, I wondered, could people who were supposedly on speaking terms with the all-knowing God get this so obviously wrong? Talking to my church leaders didn’t help, because they could only give me the “for the Bible tells me so” argument, which I had already rejected for secular laws.

    Question after question abounded, leading me to dig deeper in church history, finding everything this article lists and then some. It buried me in a mountain of doubt from which I could not escape until finally, at age 20, I had enough, and I left.

    Anyway, I didn’t originally plan on writing out my de-conversion story. But, maybe someone who is having doubts about their religion will read my story, and realize that it’s okay to question these kinds of things.

  • Michael Bush

    The list above, except for item 10 regarding growth, is not factual. All are either half-truths, subjects taken out of context, sensationalized or outright false. For the truth of the Church’s history, please refer to reputable histories rather than those who have an agenda against a particular faith. And, that principle applies to any church.

  • These are facts, not opinions. I provided sources.

  • Sure, got some links?

  • Thank you for sharing this. You are the sort of person I am proud to have read my blog: someone who cannot help but question everything!

  • Yes, I thought that was interesting as well.

  • Agreed.

  • The difference is, Romeo wasn’t that much older than her. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were well beyond twice these girls’ ages.

  • Yes, they do tend to have lots of kids!

  • I do see many similarities.

  • Edgemont East

    Those sources fit an agenda, so they are basically opinions. Otherwise, they would provide a more complete picture. Your article is by far not a complete picture.

  • It’s not supposed to be a complete picture. It’s right there in the title: “10 facts”. I couldn’t paint a complete picture of any subject with just 10 facts.

    One of my sources was the LDS website. I’d love to know more, so maybe you could breakdown which specific sources are wrong and why?

  • Pointing to other biblical figures to prove your points is hilarious given that you’re talking to an atheist who already thinks those figures aren’t any better than the Mormons.

    I ask you why then could the Garden of Eden not have been in Missouri? Before criticizing this proposed location, provide some proof of where it really is located.

    It’s not located anywhere because it doesn’t exist?

    Everything you’ve said hinges on the belief that Mormonism is correct, but that is not a point being made in the post. You’re way off base with your reply, and do nothing to actually address the concerns raised with the Mormon church.

  • Yeah, I wondered from his reply if he got that this is an atheist blog, or if he just read it without taking notice of which Patheos channel its on.

  • Cryny


  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    Genesis refers to Eden being near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Did the rivers somehow move from Missouri to Iraq? Did Smith not know that they were real rivers?

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    Funny that you have some Mormons denying that Smith and Young had many wives, while this guy was saying there’s nothing wrong with them having multiple wives, or young ones.

  • Kiwi57

    Shocking facts or slipshod factoids?

  • Kiwi57

    Funny that you have some Mormons denying that Smith and Young had many wives


  • Kiwi57

    No religious group has the right to dictate how many children a woman should bear – only a true mindless nitwit would allow that kind of overreach into something so very personal.

    Like the kind of true mindless nitwit who generalises from tiny samples to entire population groups?

    Apart from that, I know of no religious group that dictates how many children a woman should bear. Do you?

  • Kiwi57

    And broad brush “similarities” are all that’s needed, right?

  • Kiwi57

    AFAIK they aren’t growing. That’s why they had to let girls go on ‘missions’.

    Women have been serving missions (no scare quotes necessary) for the Church of Jesus Christ since 1898.

  • Kiwi57

    The facts of Plural Marriage show that many (perhaps most) of Joseph and Brigham’s plural wives were not “bed partners.”

    But please don’t let anything as irrelevant as facts slow you down.

  • Kiwi57

    Genesis names four rivers flowing out of Eden: two in Mesopotamia and two in North Africa.

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    And none in Missouri

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    As far as I know, the other 2 rivers haven’t been identified

  • Kiwi57

    Well, one is described as encompassing the land of Ethiopia (Cush) and the other, Egypt (Mizraim.) Both of those are in Africa, and it’s hard to see how any rivers could actually flow from Western Asia to Africa.

  • Kiwi57

    The point is that Eden, with its four rivers flowing to the cardinal points of the compass, describes a symbolic geography, not a real-world one.

  • disqus_sLZR21o5yB

    These criticisms can be rationally explained at fairmormon.org

  • Jim Jones

    18 year olds?

  • Barb

    Absolutely nothing new on this list, so how can it be shocking to anybody? All true enough except for #10. They have a membership list of over 16 million names, but only a tiny fraction of those are active members. Their rate of growth has slowed, and in some US states they are starting to contract. There is rapid growth in some third world areas, but extremely low retention. See Cumorah dot com for details.

  • Most of it was new to me! And I found it shocking!

  • Except for the kids… Brigham had 59 children with 16 wives. Maybe they just made babies in the kitchen?

  • Needed for what?

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Thinking-impaired person: I ask you why then could the Garden of Eden not have been in Missouri? Before criticizing this proposed location, provide some proof of where it really is located.

    So the burden of proof is on the nonbeliever to prove the location of the garden of Eden? It seems it should be up to the believer.

    So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. – Genesis 3:24

    That should be pretty easy to find – unless the worldwide flood drowned the Cherubims and doused the flaming sword…

  • Kiwi57

    Why, to smear by association, of course.

    “Thinking” in broad brush strokes is what bigots do.

  • Kiwi57

    Oh, are 18 year olds serving now? I hadn’t noticed.

  • Kiwi57

    Thank you for supporting my position.

  • Smear by association? I mentioned nothing of Scientology in this post. My doubts in Mormonism lie in the fact that none of their core beliefs is supported by any evidence whatsoever. I don’t need to compare it to Scientology to know that, hun.

  • persephone

    You have to get bodies for those souls waiting in heaven.

  • persephone

    The average Mormon is usually a pretty decent person to deal with. That’s typical with religions, especially the more culty ones. You don’t get people to join your religion by being nasty. I was dragged into the JWs as a kid, and got out as a young adult, and most of them are nice, decent people, the leadership, however, is not. Again, you don’t get converts by being jerks.

    Having worked in a school district, I didn’t notice any difference in the rate of children being neglected or abused based on religion; it was more often the result of drug use, age of parents, poverty, and mental illness.

    I knew several Mormon families growing up, and ended up living for several years in a town in Nevada that had been over 50% Mormon not long before I moved there, but was booming and the Mormons were losing their privileged position in the town hierarchy.

    Is religion often a cause of abuse? Yes, definitely. Is it the main or only cause? Seldom.

  • persephone

    There’s an even more horrifying book, privately published, called God’s Brothel. It was put out by an anti-polygamy group focused on Mormons. It lists a number of Mormon sects that are even worse than the LDS, across North America. People often don’t realize how many Mormon polygamists are in Canada and Mexico. Mitt Romney lived in Mexico for many years while growing up.

    It’s so gross, but one of the reasons the Mormons settled in Mexico was because the women were more submissive and would put up with the polygamy and abuse.

    Canada is physically large, and the population much smaller, so it’s easier for a large polygamist group to stay under the radar.

  • persephone

    The average age for women marrying then was 21. The idea that children were being married off in more than a small minority of cases is wrong. The average age for menarche in the U.S. in the 19th century was 17. The likelihood that a girl of 14 had reached puberty is extremely unlikely.

  • persephone

    Rationally explained? How?

  • persephone

    You’re lying.

  • Steve

    And Joseph?

  • persephone
  • persephone
  • Kiwi57

    People often don’t realize how many Mormon polygamists are in Canada and Mexico. Mitt Romney lived in Mexico for many years while growing up.

    Ah. Smearing by association.

    And why not? All the most unprincipled demagogues use it.

    It’s so gross, but one of the reasons the Mormons settled in Mexico was because the women were more submissive and would put up with the polygamy and abuse.

    That, of course, is another false claim. The truth is that Polygamous families moved to Mexico to escape persecution from the US authorities.

  • Kiwi57

    Mr Krakauer’s book is not highly regarded by people who know the subject matter.

  • Kiwi57

    The average age for women marrying then was 21.

    No, that’s the median age. Half of all women marrying at that time were younger.

    The average age for menarche in the U.S. in the 19th century was 17.

    Source, please?

  • Kiwi57

    You’re lying.

    You’re projecting.

  • Kiwi57

    You are the sort of person I am proud to have read my blog: someone who cannot help but question everything!

    What about those who question your view of things?

    Or is the questioning supposed to be selective?

  • Kiwi57

    There’s an even more horrifying book, privately published, called God’s Brothel. It was put out by an anti-polygamy group focused on Mormons.

    Oh well, then. A sensationalistic title and a pressure group; it’s got to be a serious bit of scholarship, right?

    Incidentally: You know those polygamist groups? They’re not us. You don’t get to smear us by association with them.


  • Kiwi57

    These are facts, not opinions.


    Let’s test that, shall we?

    From the very first of your “facts:”

    while the exact number of women who married the prophet Joseph Smith is in dispute, the only people who deny he practised plural marriage are those devoted to the image of the LDS church.

    That is simply not true. Not even slightly.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always maintained – over the denials of others, who prefer to blame Brigham Young – that Plural Marriage originated with Joseph Smith.

  • persephone

    It’s written by women who were born into polygamous Mormon sects.

    You’re welcome to buy into stupidity, per the First Amendment, but trying to claim it’s not just more patriarchal abuse in the guise of religion puts you squarely in with the ra pis t s.

  • persephone

    You’re desperate

  • Kiwi57

    You’re welcome to buy into stupidity, per the First Amendment, but trying to claim it’s not just more patriarchal abuse in the guise of religion puts you squarely in with the ra pis t s.

    Than which rhetorical ploy, I know none more brazenly dishonest.

  • persephone

    Honey, you’re p!aying games to support a system of s3x ual abuse and ra pe. It doesn’t matter. I know what an average is. Your claims make it clear that you’re more concerned about propping up a system that abu ses women and children in all way, than facing the facts about a cult you’ve bought into.

  • persephone

    You support forced marriages, polygamy, ra pe, and child abuse. You have no moral standing.

  • Kiwi57

    You support forced marriages, polygamy, ra pe, and child abuse. You have no moral standing.

    Every word of that is false, including “and.”

  • Kiwi57

    Honey, you’re p!aying games to support a system of s3x ual abuse and ra pe.

    That’s a false accusation, dearie.

  • persephone

    That’s a lie. It’s been well-documented.

  • persephone

    You’re a liar. And a scaredy cat.

  • persephone

    Yes, you do. Start with the apostles and work down.

  • Kiwi57

    “Scaredy cat?” Oh, so you’re resorting to “Neener neener” remarks now, are you?

    What’s next? “You’re rubber and I’m glue?”

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    What are YOU questioning?

    Or are you just casting aspersions because your bunkum is regularly dismissed?

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Show me an xtian flavor that is NOT authoritarian, and that regularly PUBLICALLY decries the authoritarian power grabs of fundagelicals or STF U & G TFO

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Uh, have you ever bothered to look at Mormon doctrine?

    How can we be blamed for taking them at their word, and as their behavior indicates?

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    F**k you and your assertions.

    Bring the data or cra wl back under whatever slimy authoritarian rock from whence you emerged.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    The painting looks like Danny Kaye in his ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ role.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    I keep seeing your assertions, but no citations or links.

    It’s like you’re peddling propaganda and agitprop, and LAZY at that.

  • Kiwi57

    What are YOU questioning?

    Why, the assumptions that our hostess and her fans don’t question, of course.

    Like the intellectual superiority of unbelievers, for example.

  • Kiwi57

    Uh, have you ever bothered to look at Mormon doctrine?

    Why yes, I have.

    Thank you so much for asking.

    How can we be blamed for taking them at their word, and as their behavior indicates?

    What “word” is that? If there is a “word” that dictates how many children a woman should bear, it is presumably written down somewhere.

    So, where is it?

    Or is that just another one of those assumptions that “everyone knows” except for those who are actually informed on the subject?

  • Danny Berkabile

    Referring to the comments that Joseph Smith married at least thirty-three women and probably as many as forty-eight, taken the way it’s said sounds horrifically horrible. But that’s the problem with sites like these. The information given has so little actual truth in it, it would be impossible for anyone reading it to gain the correct idea about Joseph Smith in most everything he did including polygamy.

    If I remember my statistics correctly, during the 1800s about 4/5 of the world had no laws against having plural wives. Islam practiced it for sure, but during the later periods up until the present time, that fraction has gone down to about 1/5 which is mostly Islam today.

    Sometime ago I had the opportunity to visit Brigham Young’s Lion House in Utah. It was a real eye opener how his family was governed. I believe he had about 27 wives, but it was all so organized. It made me realize there were some real benefits to practicing polygamy, especially in Brigham Young’s day which could easily be carried over to the present day. There would always be the question of husband and wife intimacy, but when you get your mind to it, loving relationships between sister wives could be seen and realized with the intimacy familiar to a single wife relationship and it could be quite easily adjusted to and become acceptable in a plural wives relationship.

    In fact, after I obtained sufficient knowledge of this type of relationship, I began to think why would anybody want to change it with all its benefits. I learned when the Edmunds-Tucker Bill was being enacted to make polygamy unlawful in the United States, it was the women who marched against it in Washington and in the streets of Utah opposing it. A normal discussion with children raised in a polygamous home was the question, “What husband would want just one wife?” This is the perspective children had of it.

    Opportunities were provided to women in a polygamous home were totally unavailable to a single wife. The single wife had to do all the washing, cooking, cleaning, sewing, teaching, baby sitting and on and on and do it all alone. In contrast, with sister wives available to assist in all these areas it allowed any wife to have a part time job, to get an education, to go shopping and do many things for herself and have personal enjoyment. In other words, the sister wives would work together to balance all the responsibilities of motherhood, household chores, teaching and everything else needed to run a family. This left time for their own personal enjoyment and ambitions. In this way mothers would become more educated and trained with different skill sets useful in a home not to mention how happy and far more encouraged it made them because of having such opportunities available to them.

    As my mind scanned all these possibilities for polygamous wives I was more and more convinced of how effective it all was. The idea that the ill-informed have of it being some kind of prostitution ring with its perversion and corruption is so off the mark it’s laughable to even think of it that way. Although prostitution was being practiced like in any day, just a cursory look would convince anyone it was not part of Mormon polygamy. In fact, a man had to hold a temple recommend before he could enter into any polygamous marriage. In fact, less than 5 percent of the entire male church even practiced polygamy.

    There is so much knowledge to be gained to correctly understand the practice of polygamy. One concept I initially wondered about was the women themselves practicing it. I thought, “Why doesn’t the Lord give them an angel the same as He did to Joseph telling them to practice it?” A little looking into the journals of that day is very telling. People don’t lie in their journal writing and, because of this, it’s an extremely good source of information. So, reading the journals of polygamous wives confirms they did indeed receive angels telling them Joseph Smith was only being obedient to the Lord by practicing it.

    There are hundreds, if not, thousands of journal writings that confirm in my opinion one of the main reasons for the practice of polygamy in these latter days like it was in Moses and Abraham’s day is this is the time for the restoration of all things which had been prophesied by many prophets in the past. That’s all things including having plural wives or celestial marriage. The greatness of this day was an envy to many ancient prophets who stated they would have chosen to live in this day if it had been the Lord’s will. So basically, polygamy is the fulfillment of prophesy and given to us at a time when the Lord needed it to begin His restoration. Doing the numbers, without polygamy practiced until the end of the 1800’s, the strength of the church would have been far less than it is today. The Lord can be mysterious in His works and who are we to question how He performs it. We need to be careful when relying on broken pieces of information to form our opinions.

  • Steve

    I have now posted this response twice, the first time was 7 months ago. It waited for approval from Godless Mom both times, and then it never appeared. Interesting. I will try submitting it without any links so it doesn’t appear as spam. Instead, I’ll tell you to “Google” all my references.

    It’s unfortunate your 10 “facts” were intended to “shock” and “cause concern.” If you had judiciously, impartially, and logically researched and then reported the actual facts of Mormonism, you might have appeared as though you genuinely respected and cared about your Mormon friends. Instead you assumed these 10 “facts” you dug up somewhere represent the true doctrine and beliefs of all Mormons, and you let some website tell you what to think about your Mormon friends, instead of sticking with your personal impression that they are “perfectly lovely…givers” with “huge hearts” (i.e., some of the most genuine followers of Jesus Christ’s Biblical teachings to love others). Perhaps I should find 10 shocking facts about atheists and rely on them to inform me about the history and beliefs of all modern atheists.

    Allow me to respond to your 10 “facts.”

    1. Personally, I don’t believe Joseph Smith ever practiced polygamy, despite what the Church and most of its members say today. You don’t have to toe the party line on polygamy to be a card-carrying Mormon. Google “why-im-abandoning-polygamy by Rock Waterson” (who was excommunicated for things other than his beliefs about polygamy but still believes in the restored gospel).

    2. You copied a paragraph from Wikipedia without mentioning the five sentences and four source links immediately below it. The information you left out immediately discredits the paragraph you copied. Let’s hear both sides, shall we?

    3. Yes, Brigham Young had multiple wives. So did King David and many other people in history. And my modern political sensibilities cause me to cringe when I think about it. However, is there an atheist/scientific/evolutionary reason why this practice should be mocked or shamed and monogamy upheld as the standard? Can you show that Brigham Young mistreated or abused his wives or his children? Do you know people today who have had multiple girlfriends or have fathered children with multiple women and then have failed to pay alimony or child support? What do you think of that modern practice–is it better or worse than Brigham Young marrying and providing a good life for 55 different women? Anyway, polygamy has little to do with the current Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which abandoned the practice over 100 years ago. I’m not sure why mentioning it would cause a believing Mormon to rethink their faith in God.

    4. According to its title page, The Book of Mormon is literally addressed to the “people of colour” that you reference, and the Book’s stated purpose is to let them know “that they are not cast off forever.” In other words, the Book’s central message is that God loves all His children, “black and white, bond and free, male and female…all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). God prepared the Book of Mormon to invite them, His precious (“colored”) children, back to His care and His love. If you missed that central message the last time you read the Book of Mormon, you should read it again. And if you haven’t read it, and you let some website explain it to you by lifting a few sentences out of context, and then you passed those sentences on out of context to convince people that the message of the Book is racist…shame on you!

    5. Your summary of the Utah War is weak and one-sided, at best. I’m beginning to think you might be disingenuous in your care and respect for Latter-day Saints. Look it up on Wikipedia for a much better treatment.

    6. Harry S. Truman was the leader of the USA when the Americans massacred 129,000-226,000 Japanese living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 over the course of four days. Joseph Stalin was the leader of an atheist government when his Soviet Socialist practices massacred about 20 million people. I assume you included this paragraph about some Mormons (in the middle of the Utah war) tragically killing 140 innocent people because you hope Mormons today will feel as bad about being Mormon as you feel about being an atheist and an American.

    7. Yes, some Mormons believe the Garden of Eden was in Missouri. Other Mormons believe the Big Bang was in Missouri…and everywhere else. Other Mormons believe both, and some Mormons believe neither. A few Christians believe the mother of Jesus was a virgin, and a couple atheists believe the world is flat. What’s your point? That people believe weird things? Yup.

    8. You call the “Adam-God theory” a “core belief” of Mormonism. Citation please? Just because Brigham Young believed it doesn’t mean it was ever a core belief. I’ve already mentioned my disbelief of other things he taught. Not everything he said was a core belief.

    9. See my thoughts on your #1 and #3. And I recommend Googling “Fair Mormon Polygamy book age of wives” to find an apologetic article for people who care to hear the other side of this argument. (Although, as I’ve already made it clear, I don’t believe Joseph Smith practiced polygamy the way the article claims.)

    10. Maybe you should write another article on 10 Surprising Things about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that you think cause it to grow so fast and to be filled with so many lovely, big-hearted, selfless, family-oriented, hard-working, intelligent people.

    You sound like Charles Dickens, the famous author who had heard all the “horror stories” of the “Mormon kingdom” in the American west, and he couldn’t reconcile them with the wonderful Mormons he saw leaving his homeland. Instead, what he saw was the “pick and flower of England.” Patheos itself has an article on Charles Dickens calling Mormons the pick and flower of England. Google it.

    You and Dickens should stop treating malicious rumors and lies as “facts.” Just because you haven’t heard or don’t understand an explanation doesn’t mean there isn’t one or that it’s wrong. How about a little open-mindedness?

  • Jim Jones
  • Steve

    Yes. All people named Jim Jones know how to rebut an argument that was never made while ignoring 10 arguments that were.

  • Jim Jones

    Those weren’t arguments.

  • Steve