The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Tal Bachman Jul 2014

It is striking how the new essays so consistently concede what "anti-Mormons" (otherwise known as "people who tell the truth") have been saying for decades. As a close read, and a bit of thinking, will confirm, the essays essentially concede that Mormonism cannot be what it claims.

But maybe the most striking - and telling - thing of all is that they are anonymous. No authors are listed. No party, or parties, can be held accountable. They appear under the aegis of Mormonism. They're on the "official website", after all. And yet, if at any time, the church wants to change some spin again, or some leader or other realizes just what these essays concede, they can be withdrawn instantly and replaced by some new spin job "explaining" that "the essays were written by historians, and do not necessarily represent the official policies or doctrines of the church". "Providing clarity" was touted as the reason for the essays; but "maintaining deniability" and "avoiding accountability" appear to be more important considerations than clarification.

How can that be in a church which claim to be run by a "prophet, seer, and revelator" - the only man authorized to receive revelations from God for the whole world, on questions of Truth and Doctrine? Thomas Monson is supposed be someone like Moses, who came down from Mt. Sinai holding two stone tablets on which ten commanments were written. He's supposed to be someone like Samuel the Lamanite, who stood on the wall shouting his message. Or like Stephen, who was stoned to death while boldly preaching Christ's message to angry Jews.

But Monson is just another worm of a man, nothing at all like the men (fictional or otherwise) he is supposed to be like. He himself will make no clarification, in his role as "prophet", on things like "The Book of Abraham", Mormonism's legacy of racism, the Book of Mormon's mistaken identification of Native Americans as "Israelites", or a dozen other issues. Instead, he hides behind essays composed anonymously by (I presume) Church Office Building pencil pushers and Mormon historians and spin doctors.

I submit that there is simply no way to reconcile the truth and authority claims the Mormon Church makes for itself, with its actual behaviour. At some level, the leaders must already know - or are increasingly becoming aware - that those claims just don't hold water.

Just my two cents,


For reference the topics are here:

They are like...

They are like the last page editorials in the Church News. There is never a byline.
Some thought that Mark E Peterson wrote them for decades, but no one seemed to know.
Don't know who is writing them now.

Re: simply no way to reconcile the truth

They know that...And they will hang on to power as long as any faithful is willing to follow these old tyrants.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

And if the issues presented in the essays are so important (there must be significant evidence that many of the 'elect' are falling away precisely due to BoA and other essay topics), why is TSCC doing so little to get the information out to the general membership?

No mention in general conference or ensigns, nothing quickly introduced into the Sunday school curriculum or as a 5th Sunday joint PH/RS lesson, not even an official first Presdency letter to be read in every ward etc. So you have to ask why?

If the worth of souls is so great, if Jesus is guiding this church and he wants the leadership to publish responses to troubling questions, why are they not more widely proclaiming such?

On the other hand, if the church was false, if leaders had a pretty good idea of this being the case, if they knew answers were lacking and were scared for members to find out, research further and potentially recognise the church wasn't what it claimed to be...... you'd release these essays anonymously in a fairly well hidden section of a website.

Their fruits and actions condemn them as usual.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Hinckley quote from January 2007:

"Well, it's either true or false. If it's false, we're engaged in a great fraud. If it's true, it's the most important thing in the world. Now, that's the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true. And that's exactly where we stand, with a conviction in our hearts that it is true: that Joseph went into the [Sacred] Grove; that he saw the Father and the Son; that he talked with them; that Moroni came; that the Book of Mormon was translated from the plates; that the priesthood was restored by those who held it anciently. That's our claim. That's where we stand, and that's where we fall, if we fall. But we don't. We just stand secure in that faith."


"And that's where we fall" was one of my eye opening moments. Everything after was a great big uuuuuuuuuummmmmm? Did he just say that out loud?

Now that Hinckley is dead anything he said is now categorized as speaking as a man or speaking as a prophet. "As" a TBM you can now put this portion of his statement and place it on your shelf of cognitive dissonance so TSCC can be true.

And here is the rub, place any item on the shelf, according to Hinckley's "no middle ground theory" makes the church a fraud.

The essays are the attempt to pull the Bull Sh*t off the shelf. But that's where they fall...because it still smells like Bull Sh*t

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Tal...That is the best point anyone has made in the whole truthfulness of LDS.Inc discussion. If the church is based on the primitive Christian Church and has restored prophets to the earth, then why don't these prophets act like prophets?

For years they said nothing about the mountains of evidence disproving Mormonism. Now instead of a addressing the problems head on, they hide behind an anonymous essay writer and FAIR. Excellent point!

To put it even more simply it's just so "1984"

It's faceless, nameless Big Brother. Everywhere yet nowhere.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Ahh... the Hinckley quote. Those claims are well visualized in South Park's "All About Mormons," and I always challenge testimony-bearing mormons to watch it... so they can see how non-mormons perceive the stories/quote as dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

And being a fraud? Yes. A great fraud? Not really... mormonism is insignificant from a world point of view. He flatters himself.

Stray Mutt

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Because the brethren don't want to point out problems to members who don't know they exist. The essays are intended only for that tiny segment of Mormons who are already aware of the problems and who need some sort of bullsh!t answer that will let them keep on believing. It's the same purpose mopologists have always served.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

The prophets do not prophesy, the seers do not see and the revelators have abdicated their responsibility to an unknown, faceless entity.

If they were honest men, they would let their light shine instead of sticking it under the digital equivalent of a bushel.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Excellent post, Tal. Thanks! Glad you're here!

And I love this!
"They know that...And they will hang on to power as long as any faithful is willing to follow these old tyrants."

Essays ARE approved by "presiding quorums"

Hurry and copy then save Snow's explanation of the essays, still up on He says specifically the first presidency and quorum of 12 "approve" the essays. Of course there is nothing in writing, and it's only his words, and he could be put out to pasture if the 15 change their minds, but it's still there (for now).

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

It is striking they concede so much anti-Mormon propaganda. If only I could transport myself back to the 80's with the essays. I might have been able to convince my Mormon fiancé and family and friends I didn't have horns.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

And unfortunately the essays barely dip their toes in the issues they are are addressing. They only acknowledge the main issue but don't delve into ALL the facts of the issue at hand. Its VERY deceptive because TBM's can go away thinking they "know all about that" problem when in fact they don't.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

I agree, what they do, and don't do gives it away.

While still TBM I used to watch conference year after year hoping for some prophecy or revelation. 30+ years of that, and nothing...

The history is bad, but they don't deliver on the claim that they are in direct contact with God.

I could (almost) forgive the great many historical issues IF they were acting like prophets and apostles of old -- Actually prophecying and bringing people to Jesus (not just into a "Church").

Instead, they appear as successful businessmen, who run a huge corporation, who stick Christ in wherever they can to help with their slick product branding and promotional material.

Prophets of old stood for something. They DIED for what they believed in. Instead ours hide behind anonymous essay writers. Pathetic.

Been there, too
Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Common structure/themes of the essays:

-Discuss some (but not all) controversies about the topic
-Concede several important points previously denied by TSCC
-Misstate other opposing arguments and then refute in detail
-Say the overall evidence is inconclusive no matter the reality
-State that the Mormon Church is true based on faith

The essays are dishonest, illogical, and lack academic credibility. But would would you really expect from the Mormon Church?

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

But they have caused lots of people to leave the church. Because of that, I support the essays, and I'm glad the church is publishing them.

Re: The Most Striking Thing about All the New Essays...

Yes, lots of crazy stuff for sure.

But the point I was trying to make is that in ancient times they actually stood for something (right or wrong, made sense or not). I don't see anyone standing for church doctrine in a meaningful way here now. Probably because they know it's all made up.

Brigham's Johnson
Screen Shot Those Essays!
We need to archive these essays NOW! Because the church will likely (yes, I say likely) make subtle alterations over time as circustance dictates. (Book of Mormon Intro, anyone?)

"Recovery from Mormonism -"