General note about critical analyses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church; see also Mormon) does not usually respond to criticisms directly, some LDS Church members have made an effort to catalogue criticisms and have taken apologetic positions from time to time in defense of their religion. Even when supported by General Authorities of the LDS Church, however, these apologetic positions do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the Church nor the beliefs of Latter-day Saints at large.
List of controversial subjects
List of prominent critics or controversial Mormons
General categorization of criticisms and apologetics of Mormonism
In general the controversies can be categorized as follows:
- Critics charge that the doctrines or practices of Mormonism are heretical, cult-like or bizarre in contrast to mainstream Christianity (as in vicarious baptism for the dead).
- Critics consider the culture of Mormonism to be authoritarian, legalistic, deceptive, delusional or politically oppressive (as in the subjugation of women).
- Critics charge that the Church leadership has engaged in historical revisionism, cover-up or censorship.
- Critics charge that Joseph Smith and the events surrounding the founding of the Church are fraudulent.
In general, Mormon apologists respond to the attacks in the following ways:
- Mormonism is only bizarre or heretical compared to mainstream Christianity because Mormonism, they claim, is more similar to the original Christianity.
- Mormonism may not be politically correct but they claim it is no less so than original Christianity or the theocracy of the Jews.
- There is no infallibility, but they claim the Prophet will not be allowed to lead the people astray in matters of salvation.
- They claim there are many good things about Mormonism.
- They claim many evidences that the Book of Mormon is authentic.
- They claim no reason to draw an arbitrary limit on the definition of Christianity such that Mormons are excluded simply because of doctrinal uniqueness; Fundamentally, the Church believes the same basic doctrines as any other Christian church, namely, that Christ is the savior and people should strive to follow him.
- Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Exiles in Zion," Salt Lake Tribune, August 16, 2003, p. C1.
- The Refiner's Fire: The making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 by John L. Brooke, Cambridge University Press 1996.