7 Things Mormons Need to Seriously Chill Out About

7 things Mormons need to seriously chill out about

Mormonism is fantastic. That said, we members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to chill out about a few things. Here are seven of those things:

1. Stop trying to be the perfect Mormon

A post shared by Mini Mission (@mini_mission) on

It’s not going to happen. Is it possible to be a 100% visiting/home teacher, magnify your calling, never yell at your kids, have a perfect marriage AND keep your covenants? Probably, but stop freaking out about it. You’re going to make mistakes. Just do your best, and let your best be enough for you.

Don’t compare yourself to other members. Just don’t. It’s great to have role models and to aspire to develop the worthy positive traits of others, but don’t be putting yourself down because you’re not as perfect as Sister Tunacasserole.

We Mormons have a knack for being too hard on ourselves. We expect perfection and rip ourselves apart when we fall short. And then we act like having to repent is something to be ashamed of. It’s not.

Try your best, make mistakes, repent, repeat.

2. Stop freaking out about sharing the gospel

For some people, talking about our beliefs is like trying to give a cat a bath. It’s terrifying, intimidating and difficult. It doesn’t have to be.

A post shared by Rachael Davis (@rachaeldavis11) on

Look at that Instagram post (above). Rachaeldavis11 has got the hang of it! Stop worrying about how your friends will react or what they’ll think of you. You don’t have to invite them to dinner with the missionaries right off the bat. Simplify. Post something on Facebook or another platform that might lead to a good conversation. When your nonmember friends ask you what you did over the weekend, talk about how great church was.

If they’re not interested in learning more, that’s fine! You planted a seed.

Sharing the gospel should come as a natural result of living it.

3. Chill out about taking offense

Church members and leaders are 100 percent human. They have weaknesses, faults, difficulties, and sins just like everyone else. Don’t be surprised if one day a member or leader says or does something that could be construed as offensive.

Maybe your bishop revoked your temple recommend due to disobedience to commandments, but he let somebody else with similar sins keep theirs. Unfair!

Maybe something very serious occurred and he didn’t handle the situation very well. Or maybe you feel like he marginalizes your concerns. Maybe he laughs directly in your face.

No matter what it is, do not let it affect your eternal salvation.

Do you remember that one time when one of the original apostles sold the son of God for a few pieces of silver?

Just because Judas committed one one of the most egregious acts in the history of everything doesn’t nullify the truthfulness of what Christ taught. The same goes for any offensive member you may happen upon.

Choose not to be offended. Find joy in living the gospel and know that that should be the reason behind your membership, not socialization (that’s just a perk).

As our Saviour taught, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you.” —Even if those people are within the Church.

4. Stop judging the tiny things so much

Judging others in general has been a problem amongst the membership for a long time, but some of us really take it a step further. Some of us go full-out Law of Moses and beyond. Let’s set the record straight:

The Elder’s Quorum President’s facial hair is not a reflection of his spiritual well-being.

Just because that sister is a Democrat does not mean she can’t be a good Mormon.

That sleeve doesn’t completely cover her shoulder? Deal with it.

He can still be an excellent guy even though he came home early from his mission.

Caffeinated beverages are not going to send you to Hell.

You’re not going to go to Hell for saying Hell.

Everybody just chill out.

If you’re going to get worked up, get worked up over the reality that Satan is a real being set on destroying you.

Get worked up over what you can do to improve your relationship with Heavenly Father. Get worked up over things that matter.

5. Chill out about revelation

Don’t get me wrong—seek it, and seek it often, but don’t seek revelation about everything. This quote from William E. Barrett, who served as a BYU and Church Education System administrator, says it better than I ever could:

Those who pray that the Spirit might give them immediate guidance in every little thing throw themselves open to false spirits that seem ever ready to answer our pleas and confuse us. … The people I have found most confused in this Church are those who seek personal revelations on everything. They want the personal assurance from the Spirit from daylight to dark on everything they do. I say they are the most confused people I know because it appears sometimes that the answer comes from the wrong source.

Those seeking continuous revelation (versus continuing revelation) also open themselves up to the danger of inaction. Sometimes God expects us to act before revelation comes. Sometimes it may not come at all (which can possibly be an answer in and of itself).

6. Give church history a break

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The digital age has opened the Church up to attacks unique from anything it’s had to deal with in the past. Ex/anti-Mormons throw events from Church history in our faces all the time. Mountain Meadows Massacre, polygamy, that thing Brigham Young said that one time, the list goes on and on. Some of it is true, some of it is false, and some of it has a nasty mix of both.

Does it really matter if Joseph Smith put the seer stone in a hat to see it clearly? I was just outside looking through a cereal box to help see the solar eclipse clearly. I bet I looked pretty weird, but what works works!

Just chill.

It’s not wrong to have questions and to seek answers, but do it the right way. Accept that Church historical figures were just as human as you and I. They were not superheroes. They were imperfect instruments in God’s hands (He seems to have a habit of picking those people).

There’s only one thing you really need to know: Did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, or did he not?

One of the very purposes of the coming forth of The Book of Mormon is to counter the adversity we’ve just mentioned. It is the proof that no matter what the internet may say, this work is true.

7. Stop making the law of chastity so taboo

Many parents avoid talking about the law of chastity to avoid potential awkwardness and to ride out the wave of their child’s innocence for as long as possible. Listen carefully: That wave is getting shorter and shorter with each passing generation. If you don’t talk about it openly, candidly and respectfully, your kids are going to learn about it *elsewhere.

*elsewhere: TV, movies, commercials, magazines, social media, friends, books and internet searches. You do not want this.

You decide the timetable (definitely don’t make it an all-at-once, one-time thing), but make sure you don’t beat around the bush when it comes to the sensitive issues. Talk about sex—what it is, when it’s wrong, when it’s right, its purpose and its divine origin. Talk about pornography—what it is, what it isn’t, what to do when it shows up, how to avoid it, why to avoid it. Talk about their body. When appropriate, talk about the opposite gender’s body. It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.

These are not just topics to be checked off of a parenting “to-do” list. Your child’s thorough understanding of the law of chastity is necessary to his/her spiritual well-being.

It’s not the school’s responsibility. Don’t leave it up to the Sunday School teacher. Definitely don’t let Hollywood take the reins. As a parent, take responsibility for educating your children about the law of chastity.

If sexual sin is as serious as the scriptures and modern revelation make it out to be, then the fact that the subject is so taboo is a huge win for the adversary.

Last thoughts

Brothers and sisters, life gets crazy. Things go wrong. Adversity rears its ugly head. We would be wise to not make things more complicated than they need to be. Take a deep breath. The gospel is true. Good is stronger than evil. You’re on Good’s side. Focus on that. Chill out about everything else.

David Snell is a proud member of the LDS Church. He is a BYU graduate, the Founder of The Sunday Pews, and has experience writing for Mormon Newsroom Pacific, KBYU11, Classical 89 Radio, FamilyShare.com and plenty more. He doesn't take himself too seriously and just wants to brighten your day a bit.
  • sliceAndDice

    #5 is bad advice. Continual revelation is keeping me alive. If I stop asking I won’t know what foods are trying to kill me and which ones arent. “By the power of the holy ghost you may know the truth of all things.” I have a severe health condition that forces me ask frequently. It takes diligence to learn the rules of what you can and can’t ask for and you’ll make mistakes occasionally but receiving continual guidance is an indispensable gift of the Spirit. My wife makes a list then asks me to pray about things pertaining to our finances and her job opportunities all the time. She’ll give me a list, explain it to me and then I’ll ask about the different items. It’s actually part of our priesthood responsibility to do so.

    Also caffeine is chemical dependance. It’s using a chemical to stimulate your body as opposed to appealing to the Lord for strength.

  • Sid Brechin

    A big one with me is that we are according to the Articles of Faith to respect the beliefs of others. When we try to push our beliefs on them after they say they don’t want to hear about them we violate that. Also most LDS I have known ( fewer then most of you I am the only member in the town I live in and have never been stationed with while in the Army or had a co worker who was LDS. ) I find few LDS know almost anything about other faiths. I took world religions in college and have read most of the worlds major scared books. I’ve had some interesting talks about similar teaching in those with Bishops and Stake Presidents. Few others had read any other scriptures of other faiths and I find very few LDS have even read the Bible cover to cover. Something I did at nine a few years before I became LDS. I find funny how many people ( not just LDS ) get Shakespeare and the Bible mixed up when quoting. ( I also read all of Shakespeare partly as enjoyment partly as the Army encouraged it as a way to build ones vocabulary to the point you could with out swearing make a very similar point.

    How can you expect someone to listen to and respect our religion when we will not give them the same courtesy. If you counter with some trivial fact about their faith expect them to come back with something that Joesph Smith while not speaking as a Prophet. Such as when he said there mere men just like us living on Mars. ( He said it in a newspaper interview ) an example ofthe man not fully understanding the revelation he was given about the heavens in the D*C ). He fell victim to what man knew about the heavens at the time. An example of why we need a living prophet.

    I myself would like to see more revelation about the world than on how to behave etc most of which does not apply in many cases to people like myself who live miles away from another member and rarely ones ( Even home teachers average less then a visit a year. I don’t drive myself and cab fare to the ward is over a hundred dollars one way.

    • Christopher D. Cunningham

      On average Latter-day Saints know more about other faiths than almost any other tradition:


      Also, Joseph Smith never said the quote you attributed to him. 40 years after his death someone claimed someone else said Joseph Smith said people lived on the moon.

      • Sid Brechin

        My experience ( LDS for 51 years ) has to me shown LDS as less not more informed however that may be the members I have known. Mostly across Canada and meeting missionaries here. ( They seem to be the ones who know the least about other faiths. After they have returned the may learn a lot but while serving they are extremely limited on what they can read and unless they knew before leaving on their missions they won’t know ) It was at the Hill Cumorah visitors center that I was told about the Mars Comment. ( and shown a copy of a newspaper article from the time ). There are thousands of visitors go to see the show at Palmyra which runs a week or more I have only been 8 times myself. I have not been back to the states since just before 9/11 and am not likely to visit the states again as my disability makes the process of getting a passport a bit of a challenge.

        As I said I have had interesting talks with Bishops and Stake presidents but few others. They were well informed I have seen other members tell people they can’t ( against church policy but that is not uncommon ) read information on other Faiths. The B of M being translated much later then the KJV is much easier to read then the KJV. Which may explain why so many read the BofM daily yet rarely if ever unless told to read any of the bible. Remember if not for the Bible we would not have been told about the B of M.

    • David Snell

      Hey Sid, I agree that sometimes we members can get a little excited about sharing the gospel and can sometimes cross the line. It can be a bit of a sensitive subject for us! And yes, it is very important to be understanding and courteous to all faiths. Learning from others’ scripture as well as making sure we’re as familiar as possible with our own is a great goal!

      • Sid Brechin

        It also let’s us show the few scriptures that are unique to the church. Case in point ” when you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of your God”

  • Tara

    I agree withyou! However, I used to think the same thing about being offended until our old Bishop offended me and my husband. I couldn’t stand to look at him. We would go to church and sit in the foyer so we didn’t have to look at him. Thankfully he moved shortly after or I shudder to think what would have happened with us. I think people have taken Elder Bednars beautiful talk about choosing to be offended and skewed it so now it gives them license to treat people like garbage and then they can say…but they are “choosing to be offended” and it somehow releases them from responsibility for the way they treat others. It has been a huge learning experience for us. We have greater understanding and empathy for people we judged before for being too sensitive and choosing to be offended. It’s painful and difficult and feels so horrible to have someone you love and admire for their place of leadership in your ward treat you horribly. It turns out that choosing not be heartbroken and devistated by it is harder than it seems.

    • David Snell

      I totally agree, it’s definitely easier said than done. That’s for sure. But again, we can’t let people get in the way of our own salvation, as difficult as it may be. When a bishop is offensive it usually stops members from going to church every week, they miss the ordinance of the sacrament and that’s a really bad spot to be in. I commend you for continuing to attend, even in the foyer. That’s a brave thing to do.

      • James Taylor

        No offensive statement by any LDS church leader will ever get in the way of MY salvation.

  • Patricia A Osborn

    How does one chill out when asked “why do you have a salamander on top of your Temples? I froze because we were with a large group of people and it was meant to embarrass I am sure.

  • David Kuhns

    I just left… Utah … specifically Happy Valley, after living there for 7 years. Growing up in Wisconsin, and raising my family in Seattle, i found that the attitudes of being a church member are very different than in Utah. That said, I would have to say that most of these items are only issues for members in the Great Basin. I don’t think they’re that big of a deal for members living out in the world. At least that’s my take on it.

  • David Snell

    Sorry you had a crappy experience, Preston. It’s a bummer when the membership becomes the Church’s worst enemy. It even happened in The Book of Mormon a couple of times if I remember correctly. Good luck on your journey and I hope one day it leads you back to us!

    • Nali Mikely

      I’m a jack-mormon and I agree. I am on an off in activity in the church but it’s the refreshing attitudes of some people that are part of the reason I keep returning.

      • Kim Bailey Jump

        I’ve learned to not look at the people! I like to live the gospel the way the Lord asks me to– with integrity and with love and kindness. Ill never be perfect here–BUT I try to do my best and when I don’t, I ask for forgiveness. I know he is always there to pull me back up and it helps me to keep going. He knows my every fear, my every pain, my every feeling and it helps me to know that. Just keep going Nali…I promise you it will all be worth the trials that this life brings to each of us. Loves

  • wayne

    In regards to some so called sordid history: If you will read ‘Rough Stone Rollimng’ a history of Joseph Smith you will find that this very comprehensive book explains away all those stupid little concerns and innuendos that get passed around and whispered about. When you finally see the actual truth you will see there are no “secrets” that we don’t want to talk about.

  • wayne

    A couple of thoughts: (1) we will never be perfect here on earth. (2) The reason for the Church programs is for us to be better people and the ‘family’. I emphasized family because that is the eventual goal. Some times people get too involved in “programs” and forget the “goal”—the family. Doing this can and has resulted in the opposite effect.

  • Jamie Youngdell Dejong

    Yes yes and yes. I agree with all of these and am guilty of some of them. Something I’m working on.

  • George Foreman

    Healthy discussion!
    A unifying theme that ties the 7 points together: It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s not about what we want to do with out lives. It’s about our Lord and what He wants to do with our lives, that testimony is transformative on all these points! Christ was clear about this:
    Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:35-40
    Mark adds: there is no greater commandment. The Phrisees and scribes were fond of arguing about which was the most important commandment, not for the benefit of Gods people, but to turn attention to them and gratify their self love (that high priest on the back row in Gospel Doctriine?) The Great Commandment comes from the Shema, the daily Jewish prayer, found in Deut 6:4-5: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
    It’s not about you. It’s not about being a good Church member. Whatever that is now that we know most of our Priesthood holders have had or have the same lusts for pornography other men have, now that we know most sisters struggle privately with the same fears that maybe they aren’t good enough to raise children or have a happy marriage. Just as the myth of the perfect Mormon mom and wife has been used to focus women on themselves and each other instead of the God who made them exactly as they are and had a great purpose in mind when He did, so too the myth of the Righteous Priesthood Holder and the slavish pursuit by men of maintaining their personal status in this club have been employed by the devil with devistating results to focus men on their status, reputation and ego and producing a strict loathing and fear of admitting to any sin more serious than not having good family home evenings sometimes and dutifullly praising the “women of the Church” and those God given gender differences which magically make them so awesome at being home with the kids and actually raising them pretty much with out dad while he escapes reality at work, with the neighborhood men in tights riding bikes group, and pursuing his next priesthood merit badge.
    If we don’t want our kids to be raised under the influence of this same pseudo Gospel full of checklists, traditions, public shavings, unedifying gee golly geepers lessons about the cute hijinks of modern prophets as boys when we only have about 35 minutes to fortify each other with the words and teachings of this guy called Jesus Christ (many Mormons have heard of Him), church pew peacocking, self serving testimonies of profoundest humility and what I learned being awesome in public this week, the remedy is very simple. And not always easy.
    Raise your kids to be Christians first and members of their Church second. Yep, we don’t need any more good church members. Good church members are slowly reversing the trend of church growth and driving away younger people and not a few seasoned vets. We can blame “the world” while knodding our heads like anyone knows just what exactly that means, we can blame pornogrsphy, the devil, other people being too sensitive — not us we’re good church members, that pesky church history (who know the whole world would be able to read on the internet we believe Almighty God used to be a vulgar man and hails from a planet in the vicinity of Kolob and that we’d still be singing a song about it in 2017, personally I do not believe that and think it’s ridiculous and am not surprised when others also think it is ridiculous to offensive. Christ and what He is doing in the world and the plan he has for your life come first. His work. His will. His glory and praise. Not mine. Not yours. Not That of Dudley do right the (probably not so) righteous priesthood holder, not Supah Sister. He deserves it! Our God created souls delight to do it! When we want God’s will to be done here, now, just as it is in heaven, when we want people to know God loves them, created them with clear purpose in mind and bought them back from the world at great price and will go before us in all that we do if we just make Him Lord of our lives, families and homes, then and only then do we find peace and contentment in our lives.
    Then Supah Sister isn’t someone we resent because she IS prettier and darn it her kids ARE awesomer. We don’t have to make up alternate realities where she actually is bulimic, her husband beats her and her kids are actually all going to grow up unhappy. She probably is as fantastic as she seems. Praise God for that. We need her in the fight right next to you and me. God loves both of you, all of us. Love God and the rest doesn’t really matter. God wants a family who loves Him and loves each other.

  • Kirstin Matina

    Ok, but seriously. This article just summarized my heart and soul. Another thing that that some church members need to chill about: You can only receive revelation through the words of the prophets (BOM, general conference, whatever). False. As I read this article it helped me focus on the bigger picture, helped answer some of my prayers, reiterated things that I’ve always felt, and I have this warm feeling in my gut that I like to call the Spirit. I’d say that’s revelation. This article was a tool to receive it. Thank you!

    • David Snell

      Music to my ears, Kirstin.

  • Kirstin Matina

    Ok, but seriously. This article just summarized my heart and soul. Another thing that that some church members need to chill about: You can only receive revelation through the words of the prophets (BOM, general conference, whatever). False. As I read this article it helped me focus on the bigger picture, helped answer some of my prayers, reiterated things that I’ve always felt, and I have this warm feeling in my gut that I like to call the Spirit. I’d say that’s revelation. This article was a tool to receive it. Thank you!

  • Mike

    I have seen some posts here that talk about church historical inconsistencies, twisting, falsehoods etc. Here is what I believe to be the bottom line. You don’t have to go very far at all into untwisted history to find many church stated historical facts. Take for instance the Stone in a hat. To the non-believing person, that alone “which is a fact and the church confirms that” is so far beyond believable. My point is this. To believe something like that you must have faith and chose to believe it. No way to prove it to any human being. Heck, we can’t even prove God is real. We can pray, testify, bear witness, urge and plead for others to believe there is a God or that Joseph Smith used a rock to capture specific words for God himself but that simply isn’t proof. It comes from within, it is all Faith based. Faith is the first principle of the church for a reason. Either you have faith to believe in things that sound outrages to many or you don’t have faith and chose not to believe. I know that is a nutshell but I believe to be accurate.

  • fxlr1994

    I’ll follow the Prophet. Thanks anywy.

  • Azucena

    Wonderful article! Is this available in Spanish?

    • David Snell

      Creo que aun no, pero ojala’ sera’ pronto.

    • KC Perry

      You can use a language translator, such as Google Translate. http://www.translate.google.com

  • Ann Gardner

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a source that talks about Joseph Smith being rubbed the wrong way about polygamy? I’d love to read it.

  • Paige Chesnut

    Love this article!!!!!

  • Josh

    The issue, Andrew, is that I feel I do have the answer to those two questions, but I imagine that they differ from what you feel the answer is.

    By saying that I would be “wasting my breath” by expressing what I have learned and what I think, you are being extremely condescending. I imagine you would like to bring more people back to the church, and being condescending to those with legitimate concerns is about the worst way to go about that.

  • Jacqueline Frost

    I love this! Thanks for sharing 😘

  • Rob Jacobs

    An I the only one smelling the hypocrisy here? “Stop judging the little things so much?” Yet here is David Snell, judging and preaching to a group that consists of millions, of what they are and aren’t doing right. When in reality he has met, at most, a small percentage of them and could not possibly know where they need improvement.

    When was David Snell made prophet? Telling the church how to conduct itself? To ignore church history? Maybe his BYU experience has jaded his view of church members. Has David really experienced the totality of the church members to know where they are lacking? Or are his life experiences and views just one small facet of reality?When was he ordained to instruct the church as a whole? Or did he appoint himself.

    • David Snell

      Love you, man.

    • Fern Martin

      He didn’t say anything I haven’t heard before — some of it from General Authorities. He just wrapped it all into one very succinct article that is very refreshing and thought-provoking.

  • David Snell

    Thanks, Ben!

  • Beth

    Excellant! As a fairly new member… and being married to a non-conventional person who is also a member I am always trying to be the “perfect Mormon” So glad I dont have to keep striving for that. I fail all the time

  • johnrpack

    Great article. I loved all your points. The only one I’d refine is, “Stop trying to be the perfect Mormon.” No, please, go ahead and try. Just understand that you’ll need lots of repentance, mistakes, prayers, apologies, and use of the atonement for a process that will last longer than your life.

    When you leave church ruminating on one point and feeling, “I should do x” then recognize that it’s the Holy Spirit and try to do x. You’ll be a better person for the attempt.

    So I’d re-write this point as “Stop believing that others are perfect Mormons any more than you are.” That awesome pinterest dessert Sister Clark made? It’s probably the only thing that went well that day for her. Compliment her, but don’t think you need to do that too. That amazing family activity the Smiths did on Facebook? Yeah, that was the highlight of their summer — even though the kids kept asking “are we there yet over and over and over. Like it!

    I have 532 friends on Facebook. One of them is doing something awesome every single day. It’d be shocking if they weren’t. But I would be a fool to compare myself to their collective activities and accomplishments! So I forgive myself for not being as awesome as all 532 of them combined. Whew!

    • David Snell

      Agreed. I tried to capture that in, “Try your best, make mistakes, repent, repeat” but your refinement says it very well and adds some important points. We would do well to learn how to acknowledge others’ accomplishments without choosing to let them make us feel inadequate.

  • Josh

    I think a lot of us are able to be “chill” about a lot of church history stuff, but there is a lot that is hard to turn a blind eye towards, especially when the church doesn’t a dress it in a straightforward manner. The very racist policies and revelations of past prophets. Joseph Smith being sneaky about his first new wives. Changes to the way the temple ceremonies are performed (something you think God would have revealed correctly the first time).

    I could go on, but that’s not the point of my post. My point is, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about the church’s history. It’s not all seer stones and mountain meadow or silly opinions given in an official capacity (which can be understandable). There are real, serious concerns. Until faithful members can understand and acknowledge that the concerns are not petty, but real and serious, they will have no chance of reaching or persuading members who have lost that faith due to real concerns found in the history of the church. Saying to “chill out” about it is about the worst thing you could do to bring us back.

    • David Snell

      Josh, you actually bring up a really good point and I’m glad you did. I suppose that when I say “Chill out about Church history” part of what I mean is that when we do come face to face with serious concerns we would do well to meet them calmly, with patience and faith instead of panic and a sense of “my world is crumbling down.” but you’re right, I really don’t express that sentiment in the article as well as I should have.

      • Josh

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply David. I largely agree with your sentiment. And I did enjoy the rest of your article 🙂

    • Sarah L

      Josh, thank you! You’ve said just what I’ve always felt. As a convert, it bothers me that my in laws refuse to even believe that some of the church’s history isn’t all kosher, like Joseph Smith with his early wives. It isn’t petty, I don’t think, for some members to have concerns, and when those concerns are brushed off with a generic, “read the scriptures, then you’ll know the truth”, (And by scriptures, they mean only the Book of Mormon) I’m not sure if that’s any better than just pretending none of that ever happened. I agree that until there’s a little more transparency, and acknowledgment that even church leaders are imperfect humans and can make mistakes, (and the Bible has several stories about that, and no one thinks badly of those men, they admit that they were imperfect, and were punished by God, so why can’t anything be said about Mormon early leaders? Even just a simple, they were men, they made mistakes, and they themselves will have to atone for any transgressions, would go a long way I think) there will always be many who feel uneasy with some of the past history, and current decisions. Faith is important, but blind faith is a little too cultish. “Test everything, hold onto the good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    • highpriestinaspeedo

      I know a lot of folks are leaving over the historical problems, but that isn’t necessarily the case for all of us. In my case, my concerns are primarily over doctrine and things the church is doing in the here-and-now. Whenever I’ve shared these concerns with local leaders and others, inevitably I get a shoulder shrug and “This is who we are. Take it or leave it.” So I left it. I don’t bear any ill will towards anyone who wants to stay. The church just stopped working for me.

  • Ken Grover

    Quoted part of this on my homepage. I gave credit to you too so don’t worry there LOL. Only thing I have to say is that there may be a minor typo toward the end. You wrote, “You’re on Good’s side.” Not sure if you meant “Good” or “God”, but other than that, fantastic piece! I loved and agreed with all of it.

  • Sarah

    Interesting points! I disagree with the history point. The church does have a lot of dirty history, because someone looks at all the history and decides they don’t believe in the church doesn’t mean they were jumping to conclusions or unfairly judging someone for “being human”. I’ve personally read a lot about the history of Joseph smith and it can be very disturbing and eye opening. ive spent hours reading from church history books and reading the essays because I was not taught a LOT of what I had learned so it intrigued me. I think the church is taking a step in the right direction coming out with the essays and hope they continue to be transparent. I was taught a very different narriative growing up vs what the history actually is. Joseph smith was human, yes, but it’s a matter of deciding to learn about the history and choosing a healthy way to take it in, wherever that decision may lead someone. In short, telling someone to “just chill” with reading history is kind of an unfair statement.

    • sylvia

      I think you should not believe everything you read and so therefore you should chill out. I think that you will find good answers on fairmormon.org. I read Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman. It actually showed me that there are a lot of evil men that were hell bent on destroying Joseph Smith. I am not going to believe all the accusations against Joseph. I am going to believe the testimony of the people that loved and admired him. I am going to believe my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I am going to stand up for him.

      • Josh

        The other sie of the coin, though, is that not everything that presents the church or Joseph Smith in a bad light is false.

        Choosing to ignore all of the uncomfortable stuff is no better a position than choosing to ignore all of the good stuff. They are both based on wilful ignorance, which is never a healthy thing.

        • sylvia

          I’m saying that some of the “uncomfortable” stuff is not reliable information. Joseph is not here to defend himself, someday he will be able to. I’m ok with the fact that he was a man capable of error, it gives me hope.

          • Kim Bailey Jump

            Agree— Joseph does not need to defend himself! He lived the best way he knew how–Just as we are today in our own lives. Joseph was called of God to do a great work. He completed that work with honor not perfection.

        • mariethomson

          He read Rough Stone Rolling by Bushman and there is plenty of the harsher side of information there and also some very confirming information to support that Joseph was a man with foibles but also with great character and leadership ability.

      • C.J. Pacheco Agosto

        how do you even know what those people “testimonies” are saying is true? let me
        guess praying. 👌🏽

        I believe that if you have doubts don’t chill out until you’ve done everything to find the answers (everything means doing more than just kneeling and waiting for a fuzzy feeling that ultimately will definitely come from your brain)

        let me tell you, there were people who admire and loved Hitler (and still do) and that doesn’t make him a good man.

        • David Snell

          C.J., it appears your main gripe on this thread is that you don’t believe prayer is a viable source of information/communication/revelation/whatever you’d like to call it.
          That’s fine. You’re allowed to believe as you will. However, we believe prayer is real. It’s obviously not the only source of knowledge, but an important one to us. This article might give you some insight into an important aspect of searching for answers to tough questions:

    • Paul Havig

      I would keep in mind that a lot of the sources for the “dirty history” that critics of the church love to dwell on are dubious. Many of the narratives about Joseph Smith were written down 2nd and 3rd-hand years, even decades, after the events occurred by people with personal agendas. Historians are extra skeptical of these types of sources. Just because someone says or writes something doesn’t make it true.

      • Ann Gardner

        This is an interesting comment. Many of the narratives WERE written down 2nd and 3rd hand years and decades after. That includes our faith affirming narratives. If we are making the point that Historians are skeptical of these sources, then we need to make sure we use that standard for ALL sources, not just the ones that we want to believe. You are absolutely correct when you state that just because someone says or writes something, it doesn’t make it true. Which tenants of religion, accounts of miraculous happenings, and doctrinal principles do we also apply this to?

        • David Snell

          This is a fair statement. Reminds me of the incredible missionary story Elder Holland recently talked about. It was from a secondary source and had been tweaked a little through word of mouth. Luckily the primary source was still around and could correct Elder Holland, who then publicly corrected the story. Just a modern example that came to mind.

      • C.J. Pacheco Agosto

        the problem with your argument is that a HUGE chunk of those resources actually came from the church documents themselves and I guess they have credibility since the “prophets, seers and revelators” thought it so as well

      • highpriestinaspeedo

        I agree with what you’re saying about the quality of sources. But there is a diverse and growing body of excellent peer-reviewed scholarship that has come out of university presses in the last 10-15 years that casts doubt on many of the church’s truth claims. My advice to anyone struggling with doubt is to read everything one can get their hands on: sources that support the church’s truth claims, sources that don’t, and especially neutral sources. After a while, it becomes easier to weed out the sketchy sources and focus on the ones that provide the best evidence.

        Unlike many religions, Mormonism makes many claims that are falsifiable, such as the notion that two separate groups of ancient Hebrews sailed to the American continent and begat great civilizations. There’s a diverse and growing body of Mesoamerican scholarship that doesn’t mention Mormonism at all. One could easily research those sources to see whether or not these groups could have been Nephites or Jaredites. And that’s just one example.

        And I should stress that doing so won’t necessarily lead someone out of the church. I firmly believe that reasonable people can examine the same evidence and come to different conclusions. Ultimately, we all look through the same glass darkly.

    • David Snell

      Hey Sarah, you bring up an important point that Josh (below) I think also brought up. I suppose that when I say “Chill out about Church history” part of what I mean is that when we do come face to face with serious concerns we would do well to meet them calmly, with patience and faith instead of panic and a sense of “my world is crumbling down.” But you’re right, I really don’t express that sentiment in the article as well as I should have.

      • Sarah

        I appreciate the reply and I think you make a good point! This thread has been good to read and I appreciate the mostly positives answers that were given.

    • Adam Gale

      If you had bothered to read the actual article, it said to seek history answers in good places, using the right spirit. Our history isn’t as “dirty” as you’d like to proclaim it to be. You’re just another bitter anti-Mormon that left the Church and now can’t leave it alone. There is no road to apostasy, there is just apostasy, and you’re sitting smack dab in it.

      • Ben

        I mean it’s pretty dirty… but Ll history of great things has horrifying things scattered between it to some extent. However I will concede that there is a phenomenal amount of straight-up garbage that is printed about our church. No need to defend it either way.

    • Camille Alexander

      Regarding church history, I keep thinking, “how do members not know these things?” I started learning in Seminary (before the internet). I read, pondered, searched, and prayed to know for myself. Isn’t that what we always have been taught? I place responsibility to know on members. Unfortunately, a lot of what is on the interent conveniently leaves out important historical understanding, as well as takes information out of context. Partnering with Heavenly Father, we can find the truth of all things. It is really that simple.

  • Wendy Massey Farr

    This is awesome! I have been found to quote this subject many a time! “Just calm down, will ya?” It seems I am always the one in a ward council to inject some common sense. Thank you for this fun & yet, serious look at something our faithful LDS members need to hear more often. Take a breath! If the gospel is true, why do we walk around like we’re miserable? Thanks, David!

  • Paul Soderquist

    Great article!

    • David Snell

      Thanks, Paul!