Works critical of the Church of Jesus Christ

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Works critical of the Church of Jesus Christ


Introduction

Joseph giving harris pages barrett.jpeg
In 1828, Martin Harris lost part of the translation of the Book of Mormon. The Lord later revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that wicked people had taken the translation and altered it in an attempt to destroy the work that Joseph Smith was doing for God:

Behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands. And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written; and, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work; . . .

Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work. Yea, he saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him. . . . And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men. . . . Now, behold, they have altered these words, because Satan saith unto them: He hath deceived you—and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity.[1]

Since that time, enemies of God's work have sought to destroy it through flattery, craftiness, and deceit. Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to bring to light all these deceits:

And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—for there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—these should then be attended to with great earnestness.[2]

In an effort to follow this direction from the Prophet Joseph Smith, the following list of notable works critical of the Church are provided, with references to FAIR resources and other resources that respond (directly or indirectly) to these criticisms.

Note: Not all critical works are included here because the list of critical works is almost endless. However, if there is a notable critical work missing from this list, you may contact FAIR through the Ask a Question feature requesting to have the work considered for inclusion in this list.

Critical Works

CES Letter

Originally written in 2013, the CES Letter was written by Jeremy Runnells describing all of his concerns with Church history and doctrine. The letter uses partial quotes and insinuendo to imply that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perpetrating a fraud. However, a simple review of relevant facts shows that the letter's claims are demonstrably false.

Due to the wide impact of this critical work, an extensive list of responses is available in the FAIR wiki:

Articles about CES Letter

Top Ten Lies by Current LDS Apostles (24 February 2023)

Published on the YouTube channel "The Mormon Informant," the video "Top Ten Lies by Current LDS Apostles" describes 10 supposed lies shared by current or recent Church leaders. The video uses partial quotes and insinuendo to imply that Church leaders are intentionally deceiving Church members. However, a simple review of relevant facts shows that the video's claims are demonstrably false.

A detailed response to the video is: Rebutting Top Ten Lies by Current LDS Apostles

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

Written in 2003, the book and television series is about two individuals who commit murder in 1984, and their relationship to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The work claims that the Church's teachings corrupted these individuals and caused them to commit murder. While including some historically accurate details, the work overall is a sensationally driven attempt to incorrectly portray the Church as the cause of violence and death in the world.

Detailed responses include:

The Bible vs. Joseph Smith by Joel Kramer

In 2010 Sourceflix & Living Hope Ministries (LHM) produced a DVD entitled "The Bible vs Joseph Smith". This film compares and contrasts the prophecies found in the Bible with the prophecies found in the Book of Mormon. The format of the film is a dialogue between Joel Kramer of LHM and Greg Gifford, a Latter-day Saint. The film is shot entirely in Israel, and various scholars are interviewed for their opinions. Overall the filming is well done and leaves the sense of a solid case against Joseph Smith, when in reality the arguments are very poor and easily proven false.

Two detailed responses to the video are:



Notes

  1. Doctrine and Covenants 10:10–12, 24–25, 27, 29.
  2. Doctrine and Covenants 123:11–14.