Criticism of Mormonism/Anti-Mormon

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Question: What does the term "anti-Mormon" mean?

Those who are "Anti-" some thing oppose and fight against that thing

Some critics of the Church object to the use of the term "anti-Mormon." They do not like to be referred to as "anti-Mormons," and deny that their books, speeches, blogs or videos are "anti-Mormon." Such critics often insist that the term "anti-Mormon" is unfair because they are not "against" Mormons, but only write and act as they do because they "love" Mormons or Mormon investigators and want to bring them to the truth.

President Boyd K. Packer said,

There are misinterpretations and misrepresentations of us and of our history, some of it mean-spirited and certainly contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Sometimes clergy, even ministerial organizations, oppose us. They do what we would never do. We do not attack or criticize or oppose others as they do us...Strangest of all, otherwise intelligent people claim we are not Christian. This shows that they know little or nothing about us. It is a true principle that you cannot lift yourself by putting others down.[1]

Those who are "Anti-" some thing oppose and fight against that thing. Anti-Mormons spend their efforts in opposing Mormonism instead of preaching their own beliefs. The label "anti-Mormon" is thus accurate and appropriate.

Members of the Church wish only to share their own beliefs, and not attack the beliefs of others. They generally consider other believers to be well-intentioned, and hope that they can add to the truths which others already have.

FairMormon's mission is only to defend LDS doctrine, history, leaders, and practice from illegitimate attacks by critics. It does not desire to criticize the faith or beliefs of others. If readers note any violations of this policy in FairMormon's materials, they are requested to bring it to our attention.

Not everyone who disagrees with the LDS Church is "anti-Mormon"

An anti-Mormon protester at the Church's 2003 Mesa Easter Pageant expresses his view that "Mormonism is worse than child molesting homosexuals." Most anti-Mormon writers do not reach this level of vitriol, though some do. Unfortunately, a thriving anti-Mormon book and video industry spreads the misinformation that encourages such views and behavior.

FairMormon and other apologetic organizations tend to use the term "anti-Mormon" when it is an accurate description of an author and his/her tactics.

FairMormon does not believe or argue that everyone who disagrees with the LDS Church is "anti-Mormon." As one prominent scholar of anti-Mormonism put it:

The hallmark of anti-Mormonism is an agenda, whether covert or openly expressed, of combating the faith of the Latter-day Saints and opposing their church.[2]

It is somewhat strange that critics of the Church wish to somehow divest the term "anti-Mormon" of its clear meaning.[3] It is composed of two elements:

1) the prefix anti-

Noun: "A person who is opposed to something, such as a group, policy, proposal, or practice"
Adjective: Opposed
Preposition: Opposed to; against.[4]

2) ...and Mormon, as a colloquial term for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

An Anti-Mormon protester at the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant uses a megaphone and an equally unsubtle written message.

The term "anti-Mormon" is a descriptive term for those whose tactics or desires oppose or fight against the beliefs, members, or practices of the Church

"Anti-Mormon" is not a slur nor is it pejorative in its use; it is a descriptive term for those whose tactics or desires oppose or fight against the beliefs, members, or practices of the Church. Being "anti-" something may be a positive or negative thing, depending upon one's perspective. Almost everyone would be happy to be considered "anti-child abuse." Few people would want to be known as "anti-Semitic."

Characteristic of anti-Mormon tactics, aims, and behavior is their tendency to not preach their own faith, or tell Church members what they believe. Anti-Mormon authors seem to want to spend most of their time telling us that Mormons are wrong. They are, therefore, "anti-Mormon."

Anti-Mormons may have noble or base motives. They may be sincere or insincere. Their criticisms may be well-founded or baseless. The term "anti-Mormon" only describes their approach, goals, and tactics.

The stated or implicit goal of anti-Mormons is to prevent investigators from joining the Mormon Church, and to encourage Mormons to abandon their faith. They fight against the Church. Apologists would not label them anti-Mormon if they were among the many people evangelizing for their faith by encouraging people to join their faith, preaching for something rather than against something.

But, strange to say, some Christians do attack other Christians' beliefs. Of course, we know that Christians do not agree on all points—otherwise, there would be only one Christian denomination, not thousands. Anti-Mormons make up a very small proportion of Christians, but they are rather a vocal minority.

That being said, it should be noted that not all anti-Mormons are Christians. Anti-Mormons could (and have) come from non-Christian belief systems, or from the ranks of atheists and agnostics. Again, the determining factor is whether the individual preaches against the Mormon belief system rather than for their own belief system:

It should be noted that there is nothing unusual about the labels anti-Mormon or anti-Mormonism. Nothing in the prefix anti- implies that those individuals or agencies linked to this compound word advocate or participate in violence or are mean-spirited, unsophisticated, evil, irrational, and so forth. When an individual or agency either self-identifies or is identified by the LDS community as anti-Mormon, what is meant is merely that they oppose, dispute, or are against the well-established beliefs of the Saints. When they publish essays and books in which they clearly oppose the crucial core beliefs of the Saints, it seems odd for critics to express desires to avoid being known as "anti-Mormon."[5]

Anti-Mormon authors use the term "anti-Mormon" themselves

Jerald and Sandra Tanner, some of the most well known anti-Mormon writers, use the term "anti-Mormon" to refer to others who oppose the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In their book The Changing World of Mormonism, the Tanners use the term fourteen times.[6]

Question: Are Mormons "anti-Christian" or "anti-another faith"?

It makes no more sense for Mormons to be "anti-Christian" than it would for Pennsylvanians to be "anti-American"

Critics sometimes attempt to insist that because the LDS Church considers all other faiths to be deficient in some way, that Mormons are therefore "anti-Christian" or "anti-all other faiths." This charge reflects a clear misunderstanding (not least because the LDS are devout Christians, and so it makes no more sense for Mormons to be "anti-Christian" than it would for Pennsylvanians to be "anti-American.")

Clearly, Mormons believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has something to offer which other denominations do not. This is not news, or surprising, for otherwise they wouldn't be a separate Christian denomination. Hopefully every other denomination (Christian or not) believes that their faith system similarly has unique beliefs that set it apart from others or mark it as "true" while others may be in error.

The Church's scriptures, publications, and missionary efforts do not spend time detailing the errors or failings of other Christian faiths. Rather, they simply teach the gospel as the LDS understand it. One will not find books published by Mormons, for Mormons or others, explaining how to attack the 'false beliefs' of other faiths. One will not find films and videos explaining how "wrong" Baptists or Pentecostals or Greek Orthodox are. Mormons do not hire speakers to address their congregations on the 'dangers' or 'evils' of these faiths.

Unfortunately, all too many Christian churches engage in exactly this type of behavior against the Mormons

Unfortunately, all too many Christian churches engage in exactly this type of behavior against the Mormons, and other faiths with whom they disagree. This is 'anti' behavior; it does not build the body of Christ, but seeks to tear down the belief systems of others.

Members of the Church want only to explain what they believe, and invite others to consider it. That is the fundamental difference between their tactics and those of the anti-Mormons.

Question: What is the history and origin of the term "anti-Mormon?"

1841 Anti-Mormon Almanac for the year 1842

Containing, besides the usual astronomical calculations, a variety of interesting and important facts, showing the treasonable tendency, and the wicked imposture of that great delusion, advocated by a sect, lately risen up in the United States, calling themselves Mormons, or Latter Day Saints; with quotations from their writings and form public document no. 189, published by order of Congress, February 15, 1841, showing that Mormonism authorizes the crimes of theft, robbery, treason, and murder; together with the number of the sect, their views, character of their leaders &c., &c. (New York). Reviewed in Times and Seasons 2.20 (August 16, 1841):13-4. “We have seen a notice in one of our exchange papers of an almanac bearing the above title, published in the city of New York, for the year A. D. 1842. -- It seems that Satan and his emissaries are determined to bring the saints into notice, and raise an excitement among the people. Although we deprecate the spirit which actuates those who engage in such plans to put down the truth, yet we are assured that in the providence of God they will ultimately tend to the glory of God -- the spread of truth and the good of the church. Although the world be flooded with lies and evil reports; let the servants of God go forth, "with the pure testimony put forth by the spirit," and they will brush away the cob webs of superstition, and the refuge of lies will be swept away.”

[NOTE: see Crawley, 1. 173-4; Flake 179]

1841 Millennial Star 2. 6 (October, 1841): 93

Elder Woodruff, writes from New York, under date of August 26th. He informs us that peace and tranquility prevails among the saints at Nauvoo, and that the emigration continues with great rapidity; that the temple is fast building, and the work of God moving in majesty and power.

He also informs us, that every thing but God and the saints are combined together, and raging against the truth with one mighty struggle, as though it were their last attempt. All the presses were in continual uproar throughout New England, and all other states, bitterly opposing and lying against the saints. Anti-Mormon meetings were being continually held in New York, and other places, and prejudice great. But while all these things were going on, truth was still prevailing, and the Lord was in reality beginning to vex that nation with many sore divisions, vexations, signs, wonders, and judgments.

1843 “Great Meeting of Anti-Mormons!” Warsaw Message, 13 September 1843, page 1

[in The Joseph Smith Papers (2008): xxvii.]

1844 Brooklyn Eagle, July 8, 1844, page 2

“Joe and Hiram were both confined in the debtor’s room of the Carthage jail, awaiting their trial on a charge of treason. The jail was strongly guarded by soldiers and anti-mormons, who had been placed there by the Governor”

1845 NILES' NATIONAL REGISTER, Baltimore, Nov. 1, 1845

“Illinois. Termination of the Mormon War. “To the Anti-Mormon Citizens of Hancock and the Surrounding Counties”, signed by Gen. John J. Hardin, Stephen A. Douglas, and two others, Nauvoo October 1, 1845. Broadside; reprinted Millennial Star 6. 12 (December 1, 1845): 188-191 [Crawley 1. 324] [The broadside must have been reprinted in Niles National Register]


Edwin Guthrie, Lee County anti-Mormon meeting, signed October 18, 1845, by Edwin Guthrie, president of the meetings. Broadside [Flake 3767; Crawley 1. 435, note 283]


John Greenleaf Whittier, “A Mormon Conventicle”, Howitt’s Journal, reprinted in The stranger in Lowell…. (Boston: Waite, Pierce and Company 1845), chapter IV; reprinted in Littell’s Living Age 15. 186 (Boston 4 December 1847): 461-2. “The reports circulated against them [‘Latter-day Saints’] by their unprincipled enemies in the west are in the main destitute of foundations” (461) [Also printed in Among the Mormons. Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers. Edited by William Mulder and A. Russell Mortensen (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1958): 156-59]

1846 Columbian Washingtonian, Hudson, New York, July 16, 1846. Page 3

"The Anti-Mormons, in Hancock county, Illinois, says the St. Louis Reveille, of the 16th ult., are endeavoring in a lawless and shameful manner to enforce the removal of the Mormons and destroy the temple at Nauvoo. They had armed themselves, and with a force of 400 strong, were encamped near Nauvoo."

1848 Col. Thomas L. Kane, Philadelphia, 14 February 1848, to Josiah Quincy, Mayor of Boston, in Littell’s Living Age 16. 199 (Boston 4 March 1848): 470-1

“In our conversation, I had the pleasure of giving to you in full the views I derived from personal observation and experience with regard to the Mormons, during my present journey to the far west. I mentioned to you what I saw of their highly upright and excellent moral character while in the Indian territory…. Emigrating Mormons, to the number of nearly 20,000 are to be found west of the Missouri, from the country of the Platte… to that beyond the notable Bear River Valley across the Rocky Mountains…. They7 composed, originally, the refuse, lame, aged, sick, and pauper members of the church, who were found unable to attempt the great California pilgrimage of 1846. On this account, their friends who started at that date concluded, it seems, an especially treaty or armistice, for their benefit, with the anti-Mormon mob, and left them behind in Illinois under its protection. This treaty covenanted, with the most solemn formalities, that they were in no wise to be molested until another asylum could be prepared for their reception beyond the Rocky Mountains. Just so soon, how ever, as the Mormon host had made a progress of some months upon its travels, and could safely be considered out of the way, the instrument—oaths, seals, and ribbons—was broken by the anti-Mormons without ceremony or excuse, and the cripples who relied upon it, were ordered to take up their beds and walk


History of the Persecutions!! Endured by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in America. Compiled from Public Documents, and Drawn from Authentic Sources. By C. W. Wandell, Minister of the Gospel (Sydney: Albert Mason 1852). 28ff.

1853 Dover Star, Dover, New Hampshire, reprinted in New York Times August 4, 1853, page 6

Correspondent is writing from Nauvoo, Illinois.

“Boynton, who first preached in Maine as a Mormon… has, for twelve years, been an anti-Mormon….”

1853 Best anti-Mormon book title ever...

A book is published by Andrew Balfour Hepburn called:

An Exposition; The Doctrines, Rites and Ceremonies of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, Exposed; showing from their Own Books, &c., That They are, without Exception, the Most Depraved, Immoral, Blasphemous, and Ridiculous Sect that Ever Polluted this Earth. The Extracts Furnished by Mr. A. B. Hepburn, Anti-Mormon Lecturer (London: Partridge and Oakey… and the Anti-Mormon Tract Depot, 1853).

Note also the "Anti-Mormon Tract Depot."

1854 Gov. Thomas Ford, History of Illinois (Chicago: S.C. Griggs & Co., 1854)

“In the fall of 1845, the anti-Mormons of Lima and Green Plains, held a meeting to devise means for the expulsion of the Mormons from their neighborhood …. The meeting was held, the house was fired at [by their own people], but so as to hurt no one; and the anti-Mormons suddenly breaking up their meeting, rode all over the country spreading the dire alarm, that the Mormons had commenced the work of massacre and death…. On the eleventh of the month twenty-nine houses were burned [by the anti-Mormons]”, Laura A. Cruse, American Republicanism as Shown through Mormon-Federal Conflict, 1846-1890, PhD, Northeast Missouri State University, 1994, page 11, note 9, citing B.H. Roberts, The Rise and Fall of Nauvoo (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965): 346-7)

1855 Editorial, “The Mormons in Utah”, New York Times February 2, 1855, page 4

“In many portions of Great Britain and Ireland, Anti-Mormon societies have been already organized, and this is a step in the right direction….”

1855 Another good anti-Mormon book title...

Mormonism Exploded or the Religion of the Latter-day Saints. Proved to Be a System of Imposture, Blasphemy, and Immorality; with the Autobiography and Portrait of the Author. In Two Parts. Pt. 1. By A. B. Hepburn. Anti-Mormon Lecturer. Edited by Rev. Charles Short, A.M. (London & Swansea: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1855)

1855 New York Times, July 14, 1855, page 3

Notices of New Books
[Female Life among the Mormons: A Narrative of many Years Personal Experience, By the Wife of a Mormon Elder, recently from Utah. 1 vol. New York: J. C. Derby.]…. The book is such as might readily have been manufactured—out of newspaper anti-Mormon reports and a very small degree of imagination. It strikes us being the most fiction of the season.

1857 Samuel Hawthornthwaite, Mr. Hawthornthwaite’s adventures among the Mormons (Manchester, England 1857)

“Dedicated to the Manchester Anti-Mormon Committee” (February 1857) (3-4).

1857 Judge W. W. Drummond, March 30, 1857

On his reasons for leaving his post in Utah , in New York Times April 14, 1857, page 2; number 8 reads in part:

“I charge the Mormons, and Gov. Young in particular, with imprisoning five or six young men from Missouri and Iowa, who are now in the Penitentiary of Utah, without those men having violated any criminal law in America; but they were Anti-Mormons, poor, uneducated young men, on their way for California….”

1857 President Buchanan Receives A Proposal for an Anti-Mormon Crusade, 1857

by David A. Williams

The author of the letter which is reproduced herein, Robert Tyler, was a son of John Tyler, tenth president of the United States. The Tyler family's American roots stretched back to the mid-seventeenth century when its first representatives settled in Virginia. President Tyler, first vice-president to succeed to the Presidency following the death of William H. Harrison in 1841, like his father attended William and Mary and sent his son there also. Educated in the classic manner, Robert subsequently studied law under the direction of Professor Beverly Tucker.. He acted as private secretary to his father during his years in the White House, but thereafter his career was dominated by the law and his political interests.

[note: italics are in the original]

Phila: April 27, 1857

My dear sir:

The public mind is becoming greatly excited on the subject of Mormonism. The Popular Idea is rapidly maturing that Mormonism (already felt slightly in our large Northern cities) should be put down and utterly extirpated.

I believe that we can supersede the Negro-Mania with the almost universal excitements of an Anti-Mormon Crusade. Certainly it is a subject which concerns all the Religious Bodies & reaches every man's fireside with a peculiar interest. Should you, with your accustomed grip, seize this question with a strong fearless & resolute hand, the Country I am sure will rally to you with an earnest enthusiasm & the pipings of Abolitionism will hardly be heard amidst the thunders of the storm we shall raise. Were I President I would put down & cast out this hideous imposture, equally at War with Conscience, Reason & Philosophy, at all hazards. I would take the ground that the case was anomalous & altogether exceptional--without the limits of ordinary Constitutional treatment--& that the principles of the Democratic Party in regard to Territories consequently had no application. The eyes & hearts of the Nation may be made to find so much interest in Utah as to forget Kansas.

I see (by telegraph) that Mr. Forney has purchased one fourth of the Pennsylvanian & is coming here as Editor. I am heartily glad of this provided he will come here to serve your cause faithfully & to conduct his Editorial office with strict impartiality to all. In this event he will be most welcome & will succeed--otherwise he will be certain to fail in a manner deplorable to yourself & injurious to the Party. I send an article from the Herald. Pray put not the slightest faith in Bennett, a greater or mischievous knave does not live!

His Excly ever you friend

James Buchanan Ro: Tyler

Philip G. Auchampaugh, Robert Tyler, Southern Rights Champion, (Duluth, Minnesota: 1934), pp. 180-181.

(The Historians Corner Edited by James B. Allen, BYU Studies, vol. 14 (1973-1974), Number 1 - Autumn 1973 104.)

1857 The New York Times, August 21, 1857.”Anti-Mormon Riot In Birmingham” [Cf. Millennial Star 19. 34 (August 22, 1857): 531

“Anti-Mormon Riots”, taken from Birmingham Journal; cf. letter to editor of Birmingham Journal, using the phrase “anti-Mormon riots”, reprinted in MS 19.. 572]

1858 New York Times April 21, 1858, page 8

“An Anti-Mormon mission of workingmen has commenced operations in Liverpool”,

1858 “News of the Day”, New York Times September 4, 1858, page 4

“Our correspondent writes that a printing establishment is on its way to the Territory, for the purpose of establishing a large Anti-Mormon newspaper in Salt Lake City.”

1866 Catherine Waite, The Mormon Prophet and His Harem; or, An Authentic History of Brigham Young (Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside, 1866)

“Anti-Mormon” term used in letter Jan 17, 1859 by “Hon. James M. Crane to Hon. William Smith, published in 1859” : 31:

“’The Mormons and Anti-Mormons began the settlement of Western Utah in the latter part of 1854….;’ 32: “The Christians, or Anti-Mormons…. The Anti-Mormons also organized, and fortified themselves….[3 more uses that page]; 33: ‘The only remedy for this unnatural war, now raging between the Mormons and the Anti-Mormons in Utah… One thing is inevitable,--the Mormons and Anti-Mormons will never, and can never, live together in peace, under one government.’”


Life Among the Mormons, and A March to Their Zion: To which is added a chapter on the Indians of the Plains and Mountains of the West by an Officer of the United States Army [William Elkenah Waters] (New York: Moorhead, Simpson, and Bond 1868). Introduction dated Utah, 1867. “…anti-Mormons…’ (93, 95 note)….

“I will discard the extravagant and unsubstantiated stories which are constantly in mouths of anti-Mormons, who, from prejudice arising from a real or imaginary injury, can see nothing in the lives or characters of individuals holding allegiance to Brigham Young, but to despise and contemn, and are constantly traducing them.” (106)


William Douglas Knox, The anti-Mormon gazette 3rd edition (March 1, 1872). Broadside [Flake 4672]


John Hanson Beadle, The History of Mormonism: Its Rise, Progress, Present Condition and Mysteries. Being an Expose of the Secret Rites and Ceremonies of the Latter-day Saints with a Full and Authentic Account of Polygamy and the Mormon Sect from its Origin to the Present Time. (Toronto: A. H. Hovey and Co., 1873) [Cover Title reads: The Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism] “…the anti-Mormons’” (82, 87).”

1877 Daily Gazette & Bulletin (Williamsport, Penna.), Saturday, July 14, 1877

[From The Evening Edition Of Yesterday]

“Capt. John Tobin, formerly a resident of California,… undertook to guide a party of three strong outspoken anti-Mormons to California…”


“Anti-Mormon League” London since 1881; Deseret Weekly 40 (1890): 383a-c

1882 Phil. Robinson, Sinners and Saints (1882)

“Whence have the public derived their opinions about Mormonism? From anti-Mormons only. I have ransacked the literature of the subject, and yet I really could not tell anyone where to go for an impartial book about Mormonism later in date than Burton's 'City of the Saints,' published in 1862. * * * But put Burton on one side, and I think I can defy any one to name another book about the Mormons worthy of honest respect.. From that truly awful book, 'The History of the Saints,' published by one Bennett (even an anti-Mormon has styled him 'the greatest rascal that ever came to the West,') in 1842, down to Stenhouse's in 1873, there is not to my knowledge a single Gentile work before the public that is not utterly unreliable from its distortion of facts. Yet it is from these books—for there are no others—that the American public has acquired nearly all its ideas about the people of Utah." 245. [Robinson came to Utah in 1882 as a special correspondent of The New York World, and stayed in Utah some five or six months, making "Mormonism" and the Latter-day Saints a special study].


William Jarman, Anti-Mormon tracts (London: 1882-4). 15 numbers, two pages each. In addition Jarman wrote other works, the titles of which included:

“Anti-Mormon works, by W. Jarman, ex-Mormon priest, from Salt Lake City”, 1884 [Flake 4355, 4362-4362c]

1884 T. DeWitt Talmage, “Mormonism”, in Talmage, The Brooklyn Tabernacle

A Collection of 104 Sermons (New York: Funk and Wagnall, 1884): 53-56. [Also published as ‘Talmadge on Mormonism,’ Salt Lake Tribune (8 October 1880)]

[THIS sermon was preached September 26th, 1880, in Brooklyn Tabernacle, after stopping at Salt Lake City on a trip across the continent.]

…..This summer, as well as on a previous occasion, I had the opportunity of


And of asking many questions, and having them answered by Mormons and anti-Mormons. Many of the prominent Gentiles of Salt Lake City called on me and asked me that when I got home I should present the case before the people on this coast. I solemnly promised them, and this morning I fulfil my promise…..

I call the attention of the American Congress to this evil. The hour has come. Let some Senator of the United States at the next meeting of Congress, or some member of the House of Representatives, with eloquent tongue and persistent purpose, and good morals of his own, lift the anti-Mormon standard, and then unroll the tragedy and outrages of that appalling system before the Government and before the people, and that man will gather around him all the sympathies of all the families and all the churches, and all the reformers and all the high-toned men and women of America…..


[John W. White letter to editor of Bristol Western Daly Press; part of the letter was published previously in Millennial Star (December 14, 1885); part of the letter had been suppressed by the Bristol paper; the remainder is published here, and includes:]

“…. The Anti-Mormon Association” of Bristol, of which W.H. Dowling is a member.] (1-3)

1886 Charge of Disturbing the Latter-day Saints

(Nottingham Daily Express, December 18, 1885. Reprinted in Millennial Star 48. 1 (January 4, 1886): 3-4. Article refers to “Anti-Mormon Society”;

“… well known anti-Mormon named Jarman….”; “witness is vice-resident of the Anti-Mormon Society, and was a Wesleyan” (3-4)

1886 Disturbing The Latter-Day Saints, from Nottingham Express, January 15, 1886

Reprinted in Millennial Star 48. 5 (Monday, February 1, 1886): 78-9.

“A number of witnesses, in sympathy with the anti-Mormon movement, were called for the defense…” (79) [Joseph] Wood … [said] he was a public anti-Mormon lecturer…” (79) [Concluding comment:] “It may be mentioned that [John] Taylor was formerly president of a society called the Nottingham Anti-Mormon Society” (79)

1886 Millennial Star 48 (1886)

Bristol Anti-Mormon Association 3, 266 [400 attack meeting]

Nottingham Anti-Mormon Society 78

reference to “Mr. Hardy, secretary of the anti-Mormon association of Sheffield” 282-3

1886 Editorial: Bristol Anti-Mormons’ Discomfited Millennial Star 48. 19 (May 10, 1886): 296-8

“…. A well known apostate has for a long time been engaged in the disreputable business of establishing anti-‘Mormon’ societies in many of the populous English towns, for the avowed purpose of terrorizing and breaking up our meetings and mobbing and driving our Elders from their midst, in imitation of the lawless riots that have disgraced some of the Southern States of America. Sheffield and Bristol have been the scenes of his greatest success” (296) [NOTE: apostate is William Jarman]


An Epistle of the First Presidency to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, read at the semi-Annual Conference, held at Coalville, Summit County, Utah, October, 1886. Original pamphlet in Church Historian’s Library; also in BYU Library; Messages of the First Presidency 3: 78

“…Juries are thus selected, not only for the trial of cases under the Edmunds law, which permits challenges of ‘Mormons,’ but by the open venire process strong anti-‘Mormons’ are chosen to try ‘Mormons’ accused of offenses not included in the Edmunds act”

1888 Rev. and Prof. Delavan L. Leonard, ” Mormonism Moribund”, The Missionary Review 1.6 (June, 1888): 419-22

[Oberlin, Ohio].

“…These rough delvers for gold, silver and lead regard the peculiar institutions [421] of the region with intensest hatred, and never fail to speak their minds on all occasions with the utmost of freedom and force. And through the impulse borrowed from the mines and from railroads now existing and soon to be built, it looks much as though ere long further additions to the anti-Mormon population by the ten thousand might be made..”


In The Scotsman, December 31, 1888; reprinted in Millennial Star 1. 1 (January 7, 1889): 12.

“The persecution of the Church in America, and the publication of Mrs. Stenhouse’s anti-Mormon romance in a British religious weekly, had awakened an intelligent spirit of inquiry, and 1,000 copies of the Book of Mormon had been sold in three months. All the meetings were well attended.” (12)


“The Anti-Mormon Show at Eccles”, Eccles Advertiser, July 27, 1889. Reprinted in Millennial Star 51.33 (August 19, 1889): 517-8. “…. The ‘anti-Mormon’ impostor” (518).


Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Utah 1540-1886 (San Francisco: The History Company 1889): 466, note 54

“It [Mackay, The Mormons (1851)] is written with marked ability, and in a spirit of exceeding fairness, though taking decidedly an anti-Mormon view.”

1890 Rev. D. L. Leonard, Bellevue, Ohio, “Babylon Is Falling”, The Missionary Review (New York) (April 1890): 266-69

“….But, fortunately, a few years ago, through mining activity, the advent of new railroads, and other causes, a business boom struck the territory, hitherto so forlorn in its business condition and so medieval in its business methods, and in particular into a few of the chief cities a large anti-Mormon element began to pour. As a result, at an election held last spring, Ogden, with a population of 15,000, was lost to the church, and every office was filled with such as know not Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon. “

1899 League for Social Service. Anti-Mormon leaflets (New York, 1899) 7 numbers

[Wm. R. Campbell, Methods of Mormon missionaries; R.G. McNiece, Present aspects of Mormonism; D.J. McMillan, Historical sketch of Mormonism; J.D. Nutting, Articles of Faith of the Latter-day Saints with Mormon explanation; J. Strong, Political aspects of Mormonism; Ten reasons why Christians cannot fellowship with the Mormon Church; Reasons why Brigham H. Roberts should be expelled from the U.S. Congress]


Robert B. Neal, Anti-Mormon tracts (Cincinnati, 1899-1906) 9 numbers. [Flake 5738]

1899 Lamoni Call. The anti-Mormon

Points out fallacies in the arguments used by the Mormon Church. Quotes especially what the church considers authentic publications. Designed for the use of those who may need to contend with Mormon missionaries (Bountiful, Utah, 1899-1902). 4 numbers, totally 110 pages. [Flake 1090]

1900 Lamoni Call. Anti-Mormon queries (Bountiful, Utah, ca. 1900). 4 pages.

1900 The American Anti-Mormon Association. Appeal (Grayson, Kentucky. R. B. Neal). Broadside [appeal for money to continue the activities of the association: Flake 2nd # 60]

1900 Inter-denominational Council of Women for Christian and Patriotic Service. Anti-Mormon work at home and abroad (New York?, n.d.) 2 pages. [Flake 4260]

1905 Richard Wake, Anti-Mormon tracts and leaflets. Issued by the Gentile Bureau of Information, Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake City, ca. 1905) Broadside [Flake 9513a: includes list of anti-Mormon pamphlets published between 1898-1901]

1910 “Mormons”, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, edited by Samuel Macauley Jackson (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1910): 9-21. [Divided into four sections: “Official (Mormon) Statement; Critical (Non-Mormon) Statement; The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Anti-Mormon Movements” (9)]. [J.R. Van Pelt, Critical approach] “… the majority of anti-Mormon critics have accepted the so-called Spaulding-Rigdon theory of the origin [of the Book of Mormon] (13) [Anti-Mormon section written by Rev. D. J. McMillan, Presbyterian (20). Bibliography divided into two parts “From the Mormon standpoint”. “From the historical, critical, or anti-Mormon point of view” (20-1).

1911 V.S. Peet, editor, “Methodist and Mormon Persecution in England”, Utah Independent (Salt Lake City, 1911). Reprinted in Millennial Star 73. 24 (June 15, 1911): 369-72. “Many of these books and pamphlets [published hundred years ago against the Methodists] correspond with the Anti-Mormon tracts and pamphlets that are being distributed now by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions, ‘Mormonism Exposed. The Life of a Mormon Girl. Mormonism in the Public Schools. Mission Day Schools among the Mormons and the Devil Fish Map pamphlets are parallel to the pamphlets issued in England by the preachers of that day” (371). [Flake 6730a, 6732]

1911 Rudger Clawson, The anti-‘Mormon’ moving pictures and play 4 pages.. [Flake 2406] [NOTE: Its use is referred to in Millennial Star 74 (1912): 124-5]

1995 R. Douglas Brackenridge, “Presbyterians and Latter-day Saints in Utah: A Century of Conflict and Compromise, 1830-1930”, Journal of Presbyterian History 80.4 (Winter 2002): 205-224, at 211-212; in more detail: Brackenridge, “The Evolution of an Anti-Mormon Story’, Journal of Mormon History 21 (Spring 1995): 80-115]

1980 The Tanners use the term "anti-Mormon" fourteen times in their book; Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Changing World of Mormonism (Chicago, Moody Press: 1980): 38 Contrary to Apostle Widtsoe's statement, anti-Mormon writers have not been afraid to discuss the Doctrine and Covenants. 49, 52 This explanation would also make Joseph Smith irresponsible, to say the least, because he did not put in "the little dots which indicate that one is making deletions" (a failure for which Mormons have faulted anti-Mormon writers). 83 In early Utah the anti-Mormon paper Valley Tan, accused the Mormons of using peep stones to "see cattle beyond mountains twenty or a hundred miles, or even a greater distance off" 126 Because of this similarity anti-Mormon writers have suggested that Joseph Smith borrowed his idea concerning the origin of the Indians from the thinking of his time. 131 Although this is certainly incorrect, some anti-Mormons have gone to the other extreme and tried to make it appear that the Book of Mormon has been completely rewritten. 132 Anti-Mormon writers criticized the grammar of the Book of Mormon stating that God could not make the many grammatical mistakes found in the Book of Mormon. 141 The anti-Mormon writer M. T. Lamb makes some observations concerning the idea of Hebrews writing in Egyptian: 164 Anti-Mormon writers have pointed out that after Joseph Smith's death the Mormon leaders made some very confusing statements concerning the first vision. 166 Dr. Hugh Nibley once criticized anti-Mormon writers for omitting the "all-important" words, "This is my beloved Son," when giving Joseph Smith's story. 209 The anti-Mormon writer Gordon H. Fraser claims that the "skin color" of the Indians converted to Mormonism "has not been altered in the least because of their adherence to the Mormon doctrines" 246 The anti-Mormon writer Joseph H. Jackson charged that Joseph Smith "feigned a revelation to have Mrs. Milligan, his own sister, married to him spiritually" 455 On July 21, 1841, the anti-Mormon paper, Warsaw Signal reported: "How military these people are becoming!" 461 Anti-Mormons accused Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum of mixing politics and revelation. 479 One anti-Mormon writer claimed that the witnesses to the Book of Mormon were drunk at the time they received their vision concerning the plates.

1973 Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows my History. The Life of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet. 2nd edition, revised and Enlarged (New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1973) “These sworn testimonies, which were published in 1834 by Eber D. Howe in a vitriolic anti-Mormon book called Mormonism Unvailed, may have been colored by the bias of the man who collected them, but they corroborated and supplemented the court record and Dogberry’s editorials” (17)

1974 Jan Shipps referred to “Nineteenth and early twentieth century anti-Mormon literature, especially that portion of it published in religious periodicals, is shot through with similar charges that the Book of Mormon is made up of wholesale borrowings from other religions” Shipps, “The Prophet Puzzle: Suggestions Leading Toward a More Comprehensive Interpretation of Joseph Smith”, Journal of Mormon History 1 (1974): 3-20 [first article in first issue]

2003 Stephen Prothero, American Jesus.. How the Son of God Became a National Icon (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003): 193 “Soon Mormons and evangelicals were squaring off, in part because it had become difficult to tell them apart. As each group attempted to proselytize the other, evangelicals began to describe Mormonism as a non-Christian ‘cult.’ Southern Baptists led the anti-Mormon offensive, decrying Mormon views of God, Jesus, and salvation as unbiblical and unchristian…. In the summer of 1998, Southern Baptists took their annual convention to Salt Lake City. In addition to handing out anti-Mormon tracts, they distributed videos, including The Mormon Puzzle, which underscored the differences between Mormonism and Christianity.”

To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here


  1. Boyd K. Packer, "A Defense and a Refuge," Ensign (November 2006), 85–88.
  2. Daniel C. Peterson, "Editor's Introduction," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): ix–lxii. off-site
  3. For an extensive analysis of the term "anti-Mormon," and critics' attempts to discourage its use, see Louis Midgley, "The Signature Books Saga," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 361–406. off-site
  4. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, s.v. "anti-". Retrieved 9 December 2006, from website.
  5. Louis Midgley, "The Signature Books Saga," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 361–406. off-site
  6. Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Moody Press, 1979), 38, 49, 83, 126, 131, 132, 141, 164, 166, 209, 246, 455, 461 and 479.( Index of claims )