How much does the average Mormon really know...

by brook

I've been reading this site and others like it for about 10 years. With the knowledge/truth I have learned about the Mormon church, I can't think of what it's like to not know. What do you all think the average TBM knows about their church. For example, do they even know about the BoA scandal? Or how much do they really know about polygamy, other than, it was practiced. I thought I'd ask here because a lot of you may be fresh out of the mold. How in the dark were you?

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I was BIC [born in the covenant] and spent the first 36 years of my life TBM. I knew nothing about the BofA controversy (not a clue), nothing about the genetics, nothing about polyandry, nothing about the theology of blood atonement or Adam-god. I knew nothing about blood oaths or oaths against the US. I am amazed at how sanitized my knowledge of the church was.

Friend of Mormons
Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Great question, brook! I've frequented this board on and off for about the same amount of time. We have some great friends that are Mormons. When we get together, issues of faith rarely come up, but I've definitely wondered the same thing, as I know quite a bit about Mormonism but don't have a good grasp on what they know or don't know. I definitely don't want to jeopardize our friendship by broaching this subject, either. I hope there are people out there that would be willing to answer this question.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I think most Mormons only know what they hear in talks, and what they read out of the lesson manuals. They are constantly being told what certain scriptures mean, so even if they read the BoM they have a pre conditioned idea of what it says. They don't usually stop and think about it. Most member I knew had never read the doctrine and covenants or the book of abraham. They may have heard little tid bits here and there about what others are saying, but they pretty much bury that info. and don't look into it. In fact they are warned against doing that by their leaders. They may hate every minute of going to church, but will still jump through every hoop out of fear. Fear is the great motivator IMO.

I have only been out for 3 months. I'm 58

But what about uber-TBM's who do it all?
You know the type. Never miss a 3-hour block. Fifteen hours of callings per week. Read their scriptures daily (on a yearly, rotating basis) attend the temple once a month, etc.

Seriously, if they're going through all those proxy ordinances don't they feel like stupid schmucks in the popin-fresh hats, white ties and flowing white veils that tie under the chin like an 1840's bonnet? I would feel so stupid doing that. They must hear the women "giving" themselves to their husbands in the sealing ceremony and they must know (just by casual, common knowledge of the Masons) that those handshakes are lifted straight out of a secret society, right?

How can they ignore all that. They must know.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
That's a great question. I think it varies, but most are not very engaged with the controversial aspects of the church and just accept whatever the leaders say.

In my case, I just didn't have the depth of knowledge to the point where I could say that I knew better than church authorities or FARMS. I figured they knew more.

There were many things I knew about, but my knowledge wasn't very deep. That would include the Book of Abraham, multiple first vision accounts, Mountain Meadows and polygamy. I was totally blindsided by other things once I started really investigating like the DNA controversy, the treasure hunting, the rock in the hat, blood atonement, and changes in the temple ceremony.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Mormons know about the sanitized version and even then not much. I am a convert and I was very faithful in attending and studying. I can say that I knew more than the average person in my ward, but being a ward o mostly converts that is not much anyway. =) However, I have learned more on sites like this in less than two years than I even learned at church in over 20. Why? Because you get only milk, questions are discouraged and doubts are to be kept silent. You can get an idea of this from the people who post, many don't even want to say what they have found about the church, it is ingrained. All this is backfiring now, because the inconvenient truths are all over the internet and those who find them havea choice to make.

So, how much does the average mormon know? Not much meat, just some milk.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I really do not think they do know. I know I didn't and I very fresh out. There were always things that bothered me about the church but I bought the crap line of, "somethings are just to be taken on faith."

Once I found out the real history of the church it all made sense. It was a bunch of crap. With that said, I was in a place in my life where I was ready to hear and read the true history. 10 years ago I probably would've said that anti's are making it up. You can't be too hard on the one's that don't know better. I think it's worse to know better and pretend than to not know and still believe.

Re: But what about uber-TBM's who do it all?
the hard-core types are often the ones that know the least

they keep themselves so busy DOING mormonism that they don't have time to THINK about mormonism

i think an interesting research project would be to do interviews of mormons at random wards and compare who (by calling) knows the most/least about church history - i'd bet the average guy sitting in the hallway to avoid talks/lessons knows more than the average bishop...

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I've been out officially for seven years. I think most Mormons are decent individuals. I also believe that vast numbers of them would join us here if they felt free to investigate "the only true church". In other words, it is hard for me to imagine that most Mormons, including many in Mormon heirarchy, would support the spiritual prison they guard so faithfully.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I was BIC and for 30 years I knew nothing about the BoA, nothing about polyandry, nothing about blood atonement, nothing about multiple first vision stories, nothing about the extent of Smith's polygamy (numbers, ages etc). Nothing about changing revelations, nothing about 4000 changes to "the most correct book" etc.

I believed that polygamy was a necessary practice during times of hardship on the plains, and only practiced by a small number of the most righteous brethren, and not for the purposes of procreation. I understood that polygamy was a part of God's eternal plan, but that it was optional in the afterlife and one could still achieve exaltation with a single wife.

I had heard that some of the early brethren broke the word of wisdom while it was optional, but never assumed Smith to be one of them.

Mind you, I never cared much for seminary or institute, and hardly ever read the scriptures, so I never thought I knew much anyway.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
The 'average' mormon in my experience knows the doctrine (better than the LDS PR department seems to), but they know almost nothing about the history or controversy of thier faith.

For example, the average mormon knows that polygamy was practiced... they likely don't know of Joe's 30 'official' wives (including 14 y.o. Helen Mar Kimball) or the rumors about the countless other 'spiritual wives'.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I'm a nevermo, though I can report that of the 6 missionaries I had discussions with, none knew anything about the Adam-God doctrine or blood atonement or the multiple versions of the First Vision.

Polygamy only came up in discussions with 4 of the misshies, and they all were sure that it was a past practice abandonned in 1890 and that the FLDS polygamists are all apostates (when I mentioned that D&C 132 remains an 'everlasting doctrine' while the two prophetial manifestos by Woodruff and JF Smith only say that the church won't or don't practice it because the government doesn't like it, they all recited the same excuse that they follow the living prophet rather than the past ones :oP ). And man, one of the misshies (they were all sister missionaries) got pretty touchy when that subject turned up...

I got the impression that the missionaries in particular are more susceptible to the 'obedience ueber Alle' thingy because of their unnaturally church-centric environment. Being monitored 24/7 is a dehumanizing thing, I'm afraid. :o( They don't know what the 'anti-' materials say, and they don't want to know because wanting to know is somehow disobedient. Uggh.

Ignorance is the sea in which Mormon fish swim.
Take the fish out of the sea and if it can't adapt it will die.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Virtually nothing and that's why there are so many believing Mormons. The Mormons I knew had virtually no knowledge of the problems.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Nothing. We are just leaving the church and in the last two days we have told 10 people (family & friends) about our decision. None of them knew anything. My dad had heard of somethings but of course he heard the sugar coated Mormon version.

Most members are in blissful ignorance..
I just recently taught a photography workshop; a combination of classroom and field work on location in northern AZ. All except 1 couple were active LDS. That particular area is rich (?) in LDS history; Lee's Ferry, Honeymoon Trail, etc. Discussion occasionally moved to LDS historical themes, and I was appalled at how much they did not know. I had to explain who John D. Lee really was, MMM, and why he was at Lee's Ferry. I also had to politely correct one who said JS was murdered and had no weapons with him.

Overall it was a fun week, but I could not believe how little LDS history they actually knew.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
One of the reasons I love coming to RfM is all the new things I learn about mormonism. I was vaguely aware of some issues as a member (BoA, MMM, etc.) But nothing like I know now. I think as a member I was either too busy to look deeply into things, or more likely, too afraid of what I'd find out.

Does anyone remember Paul Harvey and "The Rest of the Story?" In some ways that's what RfM does for me. For instance I grew up hearing the story of how Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered in Kirtland by the enemies of the restoration. It was on RfM that I first learned that he was tarred and feathered by church members who were convinced he got their sister pregnant. Same with Joseph Smith's "martyrdom." It was on RfM that I learned that he wasn't wearing his garments, was drinking and smoking cigars the night before, and essentially died while reloading. (He'd emptied one gun and was picking up his second one when he was killed.)

Mormon history makes so much more sense when you have all the facts!

(By the way, when I'm around mormons who talk about how garments will protect you I mention that the idea comes from Joseph and Hyram getting killed at Carthage without them, and John Taylor and Willard Richars surviving with them. Don't know if that's where the idea actually came from or not, but it makes mormons think.)

Friend of a Mo
Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
My Mo friend knows some of it, but refuses to look further into it. One phone conversation we had, I kept bringing up stuff I had learned here. I worded it in non confrontational manner. A lot of it was about BY and the bats(*t crazy stuff he said. He ended up getting really mad and said everything I was talking about was a lie. I asked him to clairfy what parts were wrong because I was reading the JofD on line (thanks for the link RFM). He got even more mad. Said I can't believe everything I read on-line (yeah, that made a lot of sense) I told him I was just trying to understand his faith. (he was trying to get me to talk to the missionaries). I asked him how he knew when the prophet was speaking as a man or as a prophet. That question pushed him over the edge and he starting yelling. I told him I wasn't going to continue this conversation if he was going to yell at me for just asking questions about what I read in his own church books and he could call me back when he calmed down. I thought his head was going to explode.
Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Funny, I shared a BoA video (can't remember the name, but it clearly explained how the BoA could not be true) with a TBM friend and all he could say was, "yeah but, what good does this do... What good does this say?" I guess you can't even reason with that...
Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Grant Palmer said it best in the introduction to his book 'Insider's View of Mormon Origins':

The average Mormon's knowledge of Mormon history is a mile-wide and an inch deep.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
If I mention any detail about church history to my sister, she either says that she heard that, or that the source is questionable.

When I tell her the source, she changes the subject. I think her shelf is getting really heavy. She is trying to prove to me that nothing can shake her testimony. I know different. If she knew what I know she would be pissed at being lied to all her life. I don't push it though. She needs to find out for herself when she's ready. She has a lot of family relationships that I don't have. That makes her situation a lot heavier than mine.

She did tell me that her husband questions the church more than she does. That surprised me. I would like to see them come out of the church together. Church has been their life. They currently have a son on a mission, and 5 other kids that are temple married rm byu educated. Maybe i'm too optimistic, but I think they will all leave eventually.

Glad to get the scoop! Thanks

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Hahaha! Shallow as a kiddie pool!

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
I've been trying for years to share the truth with the remaining Mormons in my family. It's quite shocking that otherwise intelligent people will choose to completely ignore so much fact and real evidence and carry on believing the delusion.
The warm fuzzy feeling inside beats reality every time.

Not much, but what should we expect of people who are kept in the dark and fed lies all their life?
Sad but I think the Internet is educating countless mo's and non-mo's every day on the lies of the Mormon cult.

Re: How much does the average Mormon really know...
Even cult members who study the scriptures every day, study cult history, & go to seminary & institute, & even are aware of old rejected doctrine, don't know much either, because the cult controls all the information. So if you present information on the Internet to them, or of they find it themselves, they freak out.
Re: But what about uber-TBM's who do it all?
Agreed. For me personally there is no time to think running on that hampster wheel of Mormon life. I think that is done purposely - keep the members busy with all these useless asinine tasks and maybe they'll be too distracted to realize wtf is going on.

Once I stopped and had a chance to breathe was when I finally was able to SEE.

"Recovery from Mormonism -"