Works critical of the Church of Jesus Christ

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Works critical of the Church of Jesus Christ


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, the Church's enemies have sought to destroy it through flattery, craftiness, half-truths, and deceit. Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to bring to light such deception:

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 a crowd-sourced compilation of criticisms based on Church history and doctrine, virtually all of which had been asked and answered many times before. Like previous anti-Mormon works from which it draws, the letter uses partial quotes and innuendo 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 review of relevant facts shows that the letter's claims are demonstrably false.

Due to the wide circulation of this compilation of anti-Mormon tropes, an extensive list of responses is available in the FAIR wiki:

Articles about the CES Letter

Learn more about responses to: CES Letter
FAIR links
  • Scott Gordon, "CES Letter: Proof or Propaganda?," Proceedings of the 2019 FAIR Conference (August 2019). link
  • René Krywult, "Fear Leads to the Dark Side: How to Navigate the Shallows of (Mis)Information," Proceedings of the 2019 FAIR Conference (August 2019). link
  • Dan Peterson, "Some Reflections on That Letter to a CES Director," Proceedings of the 2014 FAIR Conference (August 2014). link
  • Kevin Christensen, "Eye of the Beholder, Law of the Harvest: Observations on the Inevitable Consequences of the Different Investigative Approaches of Jeremy Runnells and Jeff Lindsay," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 10/9 (13 June 2014). [175–238] link
  • Kevin Christensen, "Image is Everything: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 17/6 (16 October 2015). [99–150] link
  • "CES Letter," BH Roberts Foundation print-link.

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 sensationalist attempt to tar the Church as a cause of violence and death in the world.

Detailed responses are available:

Learn more about reponses to: Under the Banner of Heaven and Jon Krakauer
Key sources
Wiki links
FAIR links

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.