The new era of open communications has prompted a high-ranking member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to come out admitting "mistakes" made by past leaders.
This "church" has experienced steady growth in the last two decades. World-wide membership stands now at about 15 million. Prominent members, such as U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have brought increased attention to the "church." In recent years, Mormons have been held in high regard for their stable families and high moral standards. Mormons led the fight in California against same-sex marriage related to Proposition 8.
Along with this increased attention has come exposure of some of their bizarre teachings. The practice of excommunication and "shunning" of members who leave the fold has been highlighted by defecting scholars and disillusioned laymen who have taken to the internet to tell their stories.
20,000 members gathered recently in Salt Lake City, Utah to hear President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the first presidency. He told them (and millions more by telecast): "We openly acknowledge that in nearly 200 years of church history — along with an uninterrupted line of inspired, honorable and divine events — there have been some things said and done that could cause people to question."
This seems mild, but for an organization`s leadership that normally portrays itself as infallible as the pope, it`s an extreme admission. But when a disfellowshipped member decides to go public, there are plenty of "mistakes" to expose.
It is important to note Mormonism`s subtle deception. In today`s chaotic culture, unbelievers (and disillusioned believers) live in a stew of confusion. With the legalization of sin, the campaign for freedom from religion, and schools and colleges turned into propaganda mills, many have simply fled to a false escape in entertainment, sports, drugs and alcohol, and pornography.
Along comes a warm, straight-arrow family that seems to have it all together, and the magnetism is overwhelming. Anyone lacking a strong biblical worldview will succumb to the sweet flavor of security without noticing the deadly spiritual arsenic included.
It is hard to grasp the magnitude of the "mistakes" of past Mormon leaders until you know something of the history of the movement.
Right from the beginning Joseph Smith, the founder, initiated the movement with his charismatic personality and a treasure chest full of lies. Born into a family of shady dealings, deeply involved in occult practices, he assembled a group of followers intrigued by his claim of access to a treasure of golden plates containing a message that updated the Bible. Witnesses were coerced into agreeing that they had seen the plates, but proof kept disappearing.
Smith finally claimed supernatural ability to "translate" the message of the plates and cobbled together the Book of Mormon using concepts from Freemasonry, the King James Bible, common folklore, witchcraft and personal fantasies.
After he and his accomplices were "run out of town" by several communities, Smith was shot in an attempted jail break while awaiting trial for destroying the print shop of a publication that dared expose him as a fraud.
This trail of "mistakes" eventually led to Salt Lake City, Utah, the present home of the LDS "church."
Chick Publications counters the slick deception of this burgeoning cult with a Crusaders Comic, The Enchanter, and two paperback books. Answers to My Mormon Friends details historical and doctrinal "mistakes" of the Book of Mormon and other LDS "scriptures." Secrets Mormons DON`T Want You To Know is co-authored by Cindy Benson, who grew up in a polygamous Mormon family, and highlights over a hundred unbiblical teachings of Mormonism.
Also available is the gospel tract, The Visitors, that exposes numerous unbiblical doctrines of Mormonism.