LDSFAQ (Mormon Answers) is Jeff Lindsay's attempt to deal with many common questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the "Mormon Church"). There are numerous questions, objections, allegations, and rumors about the Church, and many are legitimate issues worthy of discussion. Here I take on a number of them and offer my perspectives. Topics cover the Book of Mormon, doctrines and practices, issues from Church history, and more.
The Church has not endorsed my writings (though one early essay on DNA is on the LDS newsroom site for informational purposes). While I strive to be accurate, my writings reflect my personal understanding and are subject to human error and bias. I welcome your comments to help my information be more accurate and useful, or to suggest additional topics and resources I should inclue. This site is the sole responsibility of Jeff Lindsay. For the official LDS site, see LDS.org.
Selected Hot Topics
Book of Mormon
A list of general Mormon topics follows. Clicking on a topic takes you to a separate page giving the specific question(s) and my answers.
2016 Update: Several Related Publications from Jeff Lindsay at The Interpreter
Book of Mormon Problems #4: Bible Scholarship vs. the Book of Mormon?. This considers the issue of passages from an allegedly late, post-exilic "Deutero-Isaiah" being quoted by Nephi, and also gets into the broad issue of the Documentary Hypothesis and the accusation that allusions to the Exodus account woven into the Book of Mormon come from a late source, the Priestly text ("P") that came long after Nephi's day. A few other questions are also included. Initially prepared Sept. 2017.
Alleged Problems in the Book of Mormon #5: The Problem of the Longer Ending of Mark Quoted in the Book of Mormon - This 2016 article deals with one of the most interesting arguments against the Book of Mormon, wherein Mormon quotes words of Christ to the Nephites that closely follow words of Christ in the end of the Gospel of Mark that supposedly were a late, bogus addition to the New Testament. If Christ never spoke the words in the so-called "longer ending of Mark," it would seem unlikely that He would speak them to the Nephites. But the disputed longer ending, contrary to the alleged "consensus" of scholars, has strong evidence pointing to its antiquity and authenticity. This page explores the controversy in light of recent scholarship.
Book of Mormon Plagiarism Theories and The Late War -- exploring an interesting case of confusing random parallels for plagiarism and fraud. Could Gilbert Hunt's obscure book written in KJV language about the War of 1812 have been the inspiration for the Book of Mormon? Some critics says yes, based on poorly applied "big data" methodology and very curious parallels, like linking Lehi's Liahona (a round compass-like object Lehi providentially discovered while in the desert) to another round, metallic object in Hunt's book--why, a naval torpedo, of course!
My "Facetious Corner" of answers to facetious questions (or sometimes facetious answers to real question) has been split. There is now Facetious Corner: Part One and Facetious Corner: Part Two. Most of the material on polygamy has been moved to a separate and more clearly serious page, "Joseph Smith and Polygamy among the Mormons," where I have added additional material and questions.
My page on DNA and the Book of Mormon has been expanded into five parts. The main page (now much briefer) is still at the same URL. Then there are four additional pages: Appendix 1: What the Book of Mormon Really Claims, Appendix 2: Exploring the Scientific Evidence for DNA and the Book of Mormon, Appendix 3: Related Scientific Issues, and Appendix 4: Literature Cited and Related Resources. This also includes some updated material.
Mormons and Money: An Empire? - A page created in 2012 addressing some common allegations about the "Mormon financial empire." Don't mistake sound financial management for greed and materialism.
Questions about Science and Mormon Doctrine - An essay that deals with general issues of science and Mormonism, as well as specifics such as evolution, the Flood, DNA, etc., that tend to be of interest to Mormons and of relevance to Mormon thought. This may be a useful companion article to my essay on DNA Evidence and the Book of Mormon.
My Turn - Instead of answering frequent questions from critics of the Mormons, I've decided that it's time I ask a few infrequently answered questions of my own.
Mormon Prophets, Called of God but Fallible or, Why the Church of Jesus Christ Is and Can Be True Even Though Church Leaders Make Mistakes. An essay dealing with the Biblical concept that true prophets are still fallible mortals. I call for a spiritually mature approach to the inevitable human mistakes that God's anointed leaders may make, including Mormon leaders. Their divine calling has never been contingent on omniscience and total perfection!
One Day in the Life of Joseph Smith, Translator Extraordinaire of the Book of Mormon - my satirical script for a skit dealing with allegations that Joseph Smith plagiarized from numerous sources in preparing the Book of Mormon. Related to this is a new non-satirical page: "The Book of Mormon and the Writings of Alexander von Humboldt," dealing with the common assertion that von Humboldt's writings somehow could have been a source for information about ancient Americans in the Book of Mormon.
Latter-day Saints and the Covenant Framework of the Gospel: An Ancient Perspective Restored - a "Mormon Answers" page that compares the solid covenant-based theology of the restored Church of Jesus Christ with that of early Christianity and Judaism.
Mercy and Justice in the Book of Mormon: Ancient or Modern Concepts? - Is the Book of Mormon's profound discourse about mercy, justice, and the Atonement of Christ evidence of modern derivation, or evidence of ancient truth restored? Critics have charged that Book of Mormon theology is too modern. This page seeks to show that Book of Mormon concepts can plausibly fit into the fabric of ancient revealed truths known to Jewish prophets and early Christians - truths which were muddled for centuries and restored beautifully in the Book of Mormon.
Ancient Records Offer New Support for the Book of Abraham - A brief survey of the vast body of ancient documents that confirm numerous details in the Book of Abraham that are not found in the Bible, and could not have been known to Joseph Smith or other early Mormons.
Is the Book of Mormon too Wordy to Be True? - A response to attacks alleging that the apparent wordiness of the Book of Mormon shows that the text was not taken from a record engraved on metal plates, where a terse writing style might be expected. In fact, the "offending" aspects of the Book of Mormon are what one would expect from sacred writings from a Hebraic people. Created Aug. 3, 2002.
Was the Book of Mormon Plagiarized from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass? - a satirical "anti-Mormon" page I wrote that illustrates the pitfalls of efforts to show "plagiarism" by finding stray parallels. I've also made significant additions to my page, Was the Book of Mormon Plagiarized From Modern Works? The new material includes a treatment of claims that Alma 13 was derived from Hebrews 7, and treats claims of plagiarism from James Adair.
DNA Evidence and the Book of Mormon. Dives into the hot issue of DNA evidence and the attacks that are now being made on the Book of Mormon. The critics are leaving out some important details! Possible DNA links between Native Americans and the Middle East do exist and challenge the arguments made by critics. The Nov. 16, 2003 version of that essay in PDF format was posted on the LDS.org newsroom website for a while as part of their early resources on the Book of Mormon and DNA controversy. The current version has been split up and refined in several ways, with 4 additional appendices: Appendix 1: What the Book of Mormon Really Claims, Appendix 2: Exploring the Scientific Evidence for DNA and the Book of Mormon, Appendix 3: Related Scientific Issues, and Appendix 4: Literature Cited and Related Resources.
2 Nephi 12 and the Septuagint: Evidence for Fraud or Authenticity in the Book of Mormon? This page deals with interesting internal evidence for authenticity of the Book of Mormon found in 2 Nephi 12, which quotes Isaiah 2. I respond to a critic's attempt to dismiss an interesting passage that brings together Isaiah variants from the Septuagint and Masoretic texts. In researching this issue, I came away with an even deeper respect for the Hebraic roots of the Book of Mormon - something Joseph Smith could not have fabricated or reproduced through his "intuition." In my research, I found some interesting (but still tentative) examples of what appear to be an authentic Hebrew poetical form in the Book of Mormon known to scholars as "paired tricola" - a form unrecognized in Joseph Smith's day. Take a look and let me know your thoughts.
Questions about the Oneness of God. Deals mostly with inquiries about the Trinity, "plurality of gods," how God can be One if Christ and the Father are distinct Beings, etc. Contains interesting material from early Christianity and modern scholarship. (Please note how strong the evidence is becoming that Latter-day Saint doctrine really is a restoration, not an innovation from Joseph Smith.)
Questions about the Dead. Do they live as spirit beings or are they just unconscious (or nonexistent)? This LDSFAQ page is actually a Q&A by Raymond Woodworth, used with his kind permission.
Love, Dating, Marriage, and Morality - a new page answering common questions about dating, marrying in or out of the Church, morality, and so forth. These topics have resulted in many questions recently - often from non-LDS people dating Mormons. I hope this page will help.
Mormanity is a leading LDS blog that gives emphasis to the LDS experience while also discussing and promoting the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel.
Don't miss my information about Book of Mormon Evidences. Not proof - but potential evidence for the plausibility of the Book of Mormon as an ancient text. Why not order your free copy of the Book of Mormon today?
"Mormon Answers" is the work of Jeff Lindsay of Appleton, Wisconsin. Writing about LDS topics is simply a hobby and passion. Jeff served an LDS mission in the Switzerland Zurich mission and has served in a variety of Church callings. A recent survey also rated Jeff as one of the top two best grandfathers in the world (yes, the sampling did include my granddaughter--why do you ask?). Not that it matters, but Jeff has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from BYU, is a registered U.S. patent agent, is a former professor, is the former Corporate Patent Strategist at a Fortune 500 company, and used to be a consultant doing IP strategy, management consulting, new product development, and technology scouting. He now lives in Shanghai, China helping a large Asian company do IP strategy and innovation. What a wonderful city! Jeff is also the lead author of a book on innovation, entrepreneurship and strategy from John Wiley & Sons: Conquering Innovation Fatigue by Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins, and Mukund Karanjikar.
The Book of Abraham is Joseph Smith's translation of an ancient Egyptian writing from Thebes. The original manuscript may have had a Christian or Jewish source, and could have been brought to Egypt by refugees from Israel. My long, detailed documents are intended primarily for LDS people with a serious interest in this minor work. If you just want to know the bottom line from my perspective, it's this: there is no need to reject Joseph Smith as a prophet on the basis of the Book of Abraham. In fact, there is much recent evidence which offers plausibility to his work. If you wish to criticize my views, I hope you'll first look at what I've written:
(And don't forget to look at my new page, Questions about the LDS View of the Bible.)
For more information, see the Official LDS Web Site or my list of LDS Resources, including many external links and other pages of mine. You may also wish to examine the index to most of my pages on various topics.
The Interpreter (MormonInterpreter.com) -- a peer-reviewed publication dealing with LDS scriptures, Mormonism, and defense of the faith, building upon the apologetics tradition that once was the focus of the Maxwell Institute. Kudos to Daniel Peterson and a great team of volunteers who make this possible.
The Maxwell Institute (formerly FARMS, the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) in Provo, Utah, is the leading organization for scholarly understanding of LDS issues, especially the scriptures. They are a tremendous source of valuable research and publications. I also enjoy their collection of free online booksand their book reviews, such as Daniel Peterson's review of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism. Chances are you've encountered some of the literature that is reviewed there. Reading the FARMS reviews is helpful in understanding the deceitful tactics of some anti-Mormons, and in learning the rich extent of evidence in favor of the Restored Gospel.
Latter-day Saint Christianity: Ten Basic Issues is an excellent online booklet that deals with some common questions and controversies about Latter-day Saint beliefs.
FAIRMormon.org - The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research is a new group dedicated to providing an intelligent defense of the truth. Many serious and well written papers can be accessed at their site.
Barry Bickmore's Early Christianity and Mormonism is one of my favorites (archived at Archive.org). What a great way to understand the Restoration and the Apostasy! Further, Barry's book, Restoring the Ancient Church: Joseph Smith and Early Christianity (Ben Lomond, CA: The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, 1999), is available on Amazon. It is a useful resource exploring the evidence that key aspects of the Restored Gospel have significant connections to early Christianity.
Also be sure to visit Russell Anderson's Response Page which responds to many attacks of anti-Mormon critics.
Valuable work is also found at SHIELDS, dealing with LDS historical and intellectual issues, including good answers to some common anti-Mormon questions.
And please don't miss Mike Ash's Mormon Fortress, a rich site loaded with great material.
For basics about LDS belief, it's hard to beat Gospel Principles - a book published by the Church to teach basics of LDS belief and practice, available free online at the LDS Web site. But also see the Encyclopedia of Mormonism with extensive information on LDS history, perspectives, issues, the arts, etc.
Brant Gardner's massive and scholarly Multidimensional Commentary of the Book of Mormon (archived) is one of the best resources for digging into the text and better appreciating the power of this book. Also a great resource for preparing lessons. You can also buy the books at Amazon, starting with Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, First Nephi.
Another great resource for Mormons and those interested in Mormon beliefs is About Latter-day Saints at About.com. Updated weekly, this site contains articles, resources for talks and lessons, movie reviews, Mormon forums, Mormon news, etc.
Latter-day Saints and the Covenant Framework of the Gospel: An Ancient Perspective Restored - one of my new pages.
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Last updated: Sept. 22, 2017