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An anti-Mormon political cartoon from the late 19th century

Anti-Mormonism is discrimination, persecution, hostility, or prejudice directed against the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The term is often used to describe people or literature that are critical of their adherents, institutions, or beliefs, or involve physical attacks against specific Mormons, or the Latter Day Saint movement as a whole.

Opposition to Mormonism began before the first Latter Day Saint church was established in 1830 and continues to the present day. The most vocal and strident opposition occurred during the 19th century, particularly the forceful expulsion from Missouri and Illinois in the 1830s and 1840s, during the Utah War of the 1850s, and in the second half of the century when the practice of polygamy in Utah Territory was widely considered by the U.S. Republican Party as one of the "twin relics of barbarism" along with slavery.[1]

Modern-day opposition generally takes the form of websites, podcasts, videos or other media promoting hate, negative views about Mormonism, or protest at large Latter-day Saint gatherings such as the LDS Church's semiannual general conference, outside of Latter-day Saint pageants, or at events surrounding the construction of new temples. Opponents generally believe that the church's claims are false, that it is non-Christian, or that it is a religion based on fraud or deceit on the part of its past and present leaders. The FBI began tracking anti-Mormon hate crimes in the United States in 2015 and have noted an increase in incidents over time (through 2019).[2]


The term, "anti-Mormon" first appears in the historical record in 1833 by the Louisville (Kentucky) Daily Herald in an article, "The Mormons and the Anti-Mormons" (the article was also the first known to label believers in the Book of Mormon as "Mormons").[3] In 1841, it was revealed that an Anti-Mormon Almanac would be published.

Mormonism had been strongly criticized by dozens of publications since its inception. In 1834, Eber D. Howe published his book Mormonism Unvailed. The Latter Day Saints initially labeled such publications "anti-Christian",[4] but the publication of the Almanac and the subsequent formation of an "Anti-Mormon Party" in Illinois heralded a shift in terminology. "Anti-Mormon" became a common self-designation for those opposed to the religion.[5]

Today, the term is primarily used as a descriptor for persons and publications that are active in their opposition to the LDS Church, although its precise scope has been the subject of some debate. It is used by some to describe all thought perceived as critical of the LDS Church.[6]

Siding with the latter, less-inclusive understanding of the term, Latter-day Saint scholar William O. Nelson suggests in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism that the term includes "any hostile or polemic opposition to Mormonism or to the Latter-day Saints, such as maligning Joseph Smith, his successors, or the doctrines or practices of the Church. Though sometimes well intended, anti-Mormon publications have often taken the form of invective, falsehood, demeaning caricature, prejudice, or legal harassment, leading to both verbal and physical assault."[7]


Many of those who have been labeled "anti-Mormon" object to the designation, arguing that the term implies that disagreement or criticism of Mormonism stems from some inherent "anti-Mormon" prejudice, rather than being part of a legitimate factual or religious debate.[8] Eric Johnson, for example, makes a distinction between "personal animosity and intellectual dialogue". Johnson insists that he is motivated by "love and compassion for Mormons", and that while he "[might] plead guilty to being against Mormonism", he finds the suggestion that he is anti-Mormon "both offensive and inaccurate".[9] Stephen Cannon elaborates,

It is also helpful to know that Mormons are a group of people united around a belief system. Therefore, to be "anti-Mormon" is to be against people. Christians who desire to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Mormons are never to come against people of any stripe. Yes, evangelical Christians do have strong disagreements with Mormonism, but the argument is with a belief system and not a people. The LDS people are no better or no worse than any other group of people. Any dispute is to be a disagreement with the "ism", not the "Mormon".[10]

Even some members of the church who write negatively about it have had their writings labeled anti-Mormon. Ex-Mormons who write about the church are likewise frequently labeled anti-Mormon, even when their writings are not inflammatory in nature.[11] The debate on who is "anti-Mormon" frequently arises in Mormon discussions of authors and sources.[12]

Stephen Cannon has argued that use of the label is a "campaign by Latter-day Saints to disavow the facts presented by simply labeling the source as 'anti-Mormon'".[10] Critics of the term also claim that the LDS Church frames the context of persecution in order to cultivate a persecution complex,[citation needed] or that Mormon authors promote the ideal of a promised heavenly reward for enduring persecution for one's beliefs.[13]

Those individuals and groups who challenge Mormonism, particularly those who approach the challenge from an evangelical Christian perspective, would generally sustain that they do, in fact, have the best interest of the Mormon at heart;[14] and for the most part can legitimately claim to understand what the church teaches, since many challengers of Mormonism come from an LDS background. In addition, they often declare that highly charged words such as "hatred" and "bigotry" are employed to an excessive degree to describe any challenge to a truth claim, and often cite this reactionary response as part of a Mormon "persecution complex."[citation needed]


1851 lithograph of Smith's body about to be mutilated (Library of Congress)

Mormonism, or the Latter Day Saint movement, arose in western New York, the area where its founder, Joseph Smith, was raised, during a period of religious revival in the early 19th century. Smith claimed to have several visions involving God, Jesus and angelic Native American prophets. These claims were often not received well by those in the community, as evident in the following excerpt from Smith's account of LDS Church history:

... one of the Methodist preachers ... treated my communication ... with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them. I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.[15][non-primary source needed]

Title page of one of the earliest anti-Mormon publications, E. D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, from its Rise to the Present Time (1834), which claimed that the Book of Mormon was written by Solomon Spalding

In New York and Pennsylvania, anti-Mormonism dealt mainly with issues including whether or not Smith actually had the gold plates; whether those plates belonged to the people rather than Smith; whether or not Smith ever really had had visions (at least ones of theological import); Smith's treasure-digging episodes; and alleged occult practices by Smith.[16]

In Ohio, anti-Mormons focused on the ill-fated banking efforts of the Kirtland Safety Society and other failed economic experiments including the United Order.

In Missouri, once the gathering place of the Latter Day Saints, Mormons tended to vote as a bloc, wielding "considerable political and economic influence," often unseating local political leadership and earning long-lasting enmity in the sometimes hard-drinking, hard-living frontier communities.[17] These differences culminated in hostilities and the eventual issuing of an executive order (since called the Extermination Order) by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs declaring "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State." Three days later, a renegade militia unit attacked a Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill, resulting in the death of 18 Mormons and no militiamen. The Extermination Order was not formally rescinded until 1976.

In Nauvoo, Illinois, persecutions were often based on the tendency of Mormons to "dominate community, economic, and political life wherever they resided."[18] The city of Nauvoo had become the largest in Illinois, the city council was predominantly Mormon, and the Nauvoo Legion (the Mormon militia) had grown to a quarter of the size of the U.S. Army.[citation needed] Other issues of contention included polygamy, freedom of speech, anti-slavery views during Smith's presidential campaign, and the deification of man.[19] After the destruction of the press of the Nauvoo Expositor and institution of martial law, Joseph Smith was arrested on charges of treason against the state of Illinois and incarcerated in Carthage Jail where he was killed by a mob on June 27, 1844. The persecution in Illinois became so severe that most of the residents of Nauvoo fled across the Mississippi River in February 1846.

In 1847 Mormons established a community hundreds of miles away in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. Beginning in 1849, every federally appointed official left Utah under duress.[citation needed] In 1857 President Buchanan concluded that the Mormons in the territory were rebelling against the United States. In response, President Buchanan sent one-third of the United States army to Utah in 1857 in what is known as the Utah War.

Early publications[edit]

A Mormon and his wives dancing to the Devil's tune (1850)

Much of this anti-Mormon sentiment was expressed in publications during the early part of LDS Church history. In his 2005 biography of Joseph Smith, Richard Lyman Bushman cites four 1838 pamphlets as anti-Mormon: Mormonism Exposed by Sunderland, Mormonism Exposed by Bacheler, Antidote to Mormonism by M'Chesney, and Exposure of Mormonism by Livesey.[20]

The first was the work of Origen Bacheler, who had no direct contact with the body of Mormons, and contained the contents of a debate between the author and Parley Pratt, with Pratt's side omitted. Bushman describes the author's rhetoric as indistinguishable from that uttered by "scores of other polemicists of his time," providing a glimpse into the kind of material considered anti-Mormon. The pamphlet described Joseph Smith as a "blockhead", a "juggling, money-digging, fortune-telling impostor" and, along with the Book of Mormon witnesses, as "perhaps the most infamous liars and impostors that ever breathed. ... By their deception and lies, they swindle them out of their property, disturb social order and the public peace, excite a spirit of ferocity and murder, and lead multitudes astray on the subject in which, of all others, they have the deepest interest." He voiced outrage at "the miscreants who are battening on the ignorance and credulity of those upon whom they can successfully play off this imposture." He described the Book of Mormon as, "the most gross, the most ridiculous, the most imbecile, the most contemptible concern, that was ever attempted to be palmed off upon society as a revelation." He believed the religion "can be viewed in no other light than that of monstrous public nuisances, that ought forthwith to be abated" and that the Mormons were "the most vile, the most impudent, the most impious, knot of charlatans and cheat with which any community was ever disgraced and cursed."[21] Antidote to Mormonism describes Mormons as "miserable enemies of both God and man—engines of death and hell." He described combat with them as being "desperate, the battle is one of extermination."[22] Bushman describes the characteristics of these anti-Mormon materials as sensationalizing actuality:[23]

The critics' writings largely controlled the reading public's image of [Joseph Smith] for the next century, with unfortunate results for biographers. The sharp caricature of "Joe Smith" as fraud and con man blotted out the actual person. He was a combination of knave and blockhead. No one had to explain what motives drove him. He was a fixed type, the confidence man, well known in the literature of antebellum America. Americans knew all about these insidious scoundrels who undermined social order and ruined the lives of their unsuspecting victims. Joseph Smith became the worst of the type—a religious fraud who preyed upon the sacred yearnings of the human soul.

British author Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet (1887), the novel in which the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance, includes a very negative depiction of the early Mormon community in Utah after its migration westwards and the foundation of Salt Lake City. Mormons are presented as violent, rigidly intolerant and corrupt, systematically terrorizing both members of the church and non-Mormon neighbors as well as forcing polygamous marriage on Mormon girls against their will.

Later in his career, Conan Doyle apologized to the Mormons for his depiction of their religion. During a 1923 tour of the United States, Doyle was invited to speak at the LDS Church's Salt Lake Tabernacle; while some individual Mormons remained deeply upset over the negative depiction, in general the Mormons present received him warmly.[24]


Vehement opposition to the LDS Church comes from individuals or groups associated with the Christian countercult movement, which is mostly an evangelical Christian phenomenon. In the 21st century opposition to Mormonism has become frequent among Secular or New Atheist groups.

Religious anti-Mormonism[edit]

Among those with religious motives, Daniel C. Peterson has identified two major streams of modern anti-Mormon thought. The first is "traditional anti-Mormonism", typified by Rev. Wesley Walters, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, and Walter Martin. Anti-Mormons in this category generally try to explain Mormonism in naturalistic terms. They appeal to "Joseph Smith's environment and his (wicked or pathological) character, perhaps assisted by a co-conspirator or two", as a sufficient explanation for Mormon origins.[25]

"New Age anti-Mormonism", according to Peterson, "is quite different. It admits the presence of supernatural events in the founding events of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is quite willing to acknowledge continuous supernatural influence in the life of the Church today." However, "unlike faithful Latter-day Saints, New Age anti-Mormons see the supernatural agents involved in the founding and progress of the Church as demonic, occultic, diabolical, luciferian."[26]

This "New Age anti-Mormon" grouping includes Ed Decker, Loftes Tryk, James R. Spencer and many others. According to Introvigne, New Age anti-Mormonism emerged in the 1980s largely as a result of the rise of Third-wave Pentecostalism and its emphasis on spiritual warfare.[27]

Traditional anti-Mormons, according to Peterson, are those who "are content to argue that Mormonism is untrue" and "incompatible with the Bible."[28] While some may believe that Satan was indirectly involved in the founding of the LDS Church, they place little emphasis on his role. For them, naturalistic and historical explanations are always preferable to supernatural ones.[29]

Among the most prominent of the traditional anti-Mormons are Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Both former members of the LDS Church, the Tanners converted to evangelical Protestantism and in 1964 founded the Modern Microfilm Company to "document problems with the claims of Mormonism and to compare LDS doctrines with Christianity." In 1983 they turned their company into a non-profit organization and renamed it the Utah Lighthouse Ministry.[30] The Tanners' work has included "publishing [reprints of] many hard-to-find Mormon historical documents" and "[debating] virtually every significant topic in Mormonism".[31] During their prolific career they have published more than two hundred items on a variety of social, doctrinal, and historical issues. Despite the high caliber of some of their work,[32] the Tanners have been criticized on a number of points: notably for the vitriolic tone of some of their more polemical pieces, their resistance to change, and their unauthorized publication of several copyrighted documents.[31][33] In recent years, however, the apologists' antagonism toward the Tanners has somewhat subsided. In their study of anti-Mormon "word games", for example, Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks have nothing negative to say about them. Instead, they enlist them as allies against New Age anti-Mormons like Ed Decker, whose fabrications the Tanners have denounced on more than one occasion.[34]

Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, was another traditional anti-Mormon. Martin was more controversial and contemptuous than others noted here. He portrayed Mormons as deceivers who "pose as Christians," calling them "anti-Christian" and "a cult infiltration." Martin also claimed that Mormons secretly harbor a "deep contempt for Christians," and accused them of being egomaniacs and "cultists".[35]

New Age anti-Mormons have generated considerably more controversy than traditional anti-Mormons. The most prominent of their number, Ed Decker, produced The God Makers and The God Makers II, and wrote books by the same name. The God Makers has attracted criticism not only from Latter-day Saints,[36] but from traditional anti-Mormons as well.[37] The film is generally considered acerbic and misleading, and has provoked bomb threats against LDS meetinghouses and death threats against members.[38] In other publications, Decker has asserted that the literal source of Mormonism is Satan, that its religious symbolism is satanic in nature, and that it is a political conspiracy by nature.[39][40]


Protesters outside the site of the LDS general conference in 2006

Protesters have been visible as "street preachers" at LDS General Conferences, outside of LDS pageants, and temples. At the Sacramento temple, for example, protesters dispersed pamphlets to visitors who came to take a guided tour. They also held up signs directing people to websites critical of the LDS Church.[41] Notably, protesters also made an appearance at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.[42] One group that actively organizes peaceful protests, a non-profit organization called Mormonism Research Ministry, insists that its activities are not "anti-Mormon".

Our goal at MRM is not to be antagonistic. In fact, whenever a representative of MRM speaks publicly on this subject, we often emphasize how Christians should reflect a Christ-like attitude when sharing their faith. We must be firm in our convictions but compassionate and patient as well. ... It is true that, just as some Mormons want nothing more than to ridicule and insult those with whom they disagree, some Christians have done the same. This is wrong and always will be wrong.[9]

Some other individuals have been seen throwing copies of the Book of Mormon on the ground, stepping on them, and portray using temple garments, which LDS hold sacred, as toilet tissue, and other similarly offensive actions.[43][non-primary source needed] However, nearly every evangelical ministry, including those that actively challenge truth claims of Mormonism, vehemently condemns this sort of offensive and belligerent behavior, and further object to being placed in the same category as those few who engage in such behavior.[14]

As a result of organized protests at Mormon events, a number of Latter-day Saints, and even non-Mormons, have begun to counter-demonstrate at events (by singing hymns, for example).[44][non-primary source needed]

Secular anti-Mormonism[edit]

Opposition to Mormonism has been more prominent in the 21st century from New Atheism perspectives. Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and John Dehlin are among those who more prominent individuals who have used media appearances or podcasts to oppose the Institutional LDS Church and its doctrines and policies.[citation needed]


In March 2014, a court case was brought against LDS Church president Thomas S. Monson in the United Kingdom. Monson was accused by disaffected member Tom Phillips of breaching the Fraud Act 2006. The summons alleged that two men were induced to pay tithes to the LDS Church by church teachings which are objectively untrue. The allegedly untrue teachings included that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from ancient gold plates and it is historically accurate, and that Native Americans are descended from Israelites who left Jerusalem in 600 BC. The court case was tossed out before trial. A court judge called it an "abuse" of court process.[45]


Tangible acts of violence against Latter-day Saints are considerably less common in the United States today than they were in the 19th century. The first significant violent persecution occurred in the early 1830s in Missouri. Mormons tended to vote as a bloc there, wielding "considerable political and economic influence," often unseating local political leadership and earning long-lasting enmity in the frontier communities.[46] These differences culminated in the Missouri Mormon War and the eventual issuing of an executive order (since called the extermination order within the LDS community) by Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs, which declared that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State." Three days later, a renegade militia unit attacked a Mormon settlement at Haun's Mill, resulting in the death of 18 Mormons and no militiamen. The extermination order was not formally rescinded until 1976.

After the destruction of the press of the Nauvoo Expositor in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith was arrested and incarcerated in Carthage Jail where he was killed by a mob on June 27, 1844. The persecution in Illinois became so severe that most of the residents of Nauvoo fled across the Mississippi River in February 1846.

Even after Mormons established a community hundreds of miles away in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, anti-Mormon activists in Utah Territory convinced U.S. President James Buchanan that the Mormons in the territory were rebelling against the United States[citation needed]; critics pointed to plural marriage as a sign of the rebellion. In response, President Buchanan sent one-third of the American standing army in 1857 to Utah in what is known as the Utah War.

More recent persecution against Mormons in the U.S. has occasionally taken the shape of acts of vandalism against church property.[47] At an LDS Church building in Orangevale, Sacramento County, vandals spray painted "No on 8" and "No on Prop 8" on the front sign and sidewalk.[48] An affiliate group of the radical Trans/Queer organization Bash Back!, claims credit for pouring glue into the locks of an LDS Church building and spray painting on its walls. An internet posting signed by Bash Back!'s Olympia chapter said: "The Mormon church ... needs to be confronted, attacked, subverted and destroyed."[49] According to the Chicago Tribune, the acts of vandalism against the LDS Church appear to be in retaliation for support of Proposition 8.[49] Police reported that nine church buildings were also damaged in Utah that month.[50][51] The Anti-Defamation League released a statement condemning the "defacement and destruction of property."[52]

In November 2008, the United States Postal Service delivered envelopes containing white powder to two LDS Church temples—the Los Angeles California Temple and the Salt Lake Temple—and to the Knights of Columbus' national headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut, prompting a hazardous materials response and a federal domestic terrorism investigation.[53][54][55] The LDS Church blamed opponents of the marriage ban for sending the hoax mailings, while a group that also supported the measure condemned "acts of domestic terrorism against our supporters."[56] LGBT rights groups, such as Equality Utah and Equality California, have spoken out against the use of violence in protests, and note that the source of the "white powder" mailings has not been determined.[56][57]

In Latin America, however, oppostion to Mormonism has taken a deadlier form. In May 1989, members of a terrorist organization called the Zarate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation murdered two Mormon missionaries in La Paz, Bolivia. Another Bolivian terrorist group, the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, claimed responsibility for two attacks against Mormon chapels. The Lautaro Youth Movement in Chile conducted 27 small-scale bombings against LDS meetinghouses in 1992.[58] The MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base lists 149 individual attacks that have been carried out against Mormon targets in Latin America since 1983.[59] It also lists a 2001 chapel-bombing in Croatia.[60]



Although a position on anti-Mormonism is not part of the official doctrine of the LDS Church, it has been mentioned specifically in a number of general conference talks made by church general authorities.

Marvin J. Ashton, speaking as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, began a fall 1982 conference by relating an experience he had with a protester outside Temple Square. He went on to declare "[t]o the world, and especially to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" that "there is no time for contention," and encouraged "all our members to refuse to become anti-anti-Mormon. In the wise words of old, can we 'live and let live'?"[61]

Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy spoke in the fall 1981 conference concerning opposition to the LDS Church. He describes "Lucifer" as the source of at least some anti-Mormon and apostate groups, relates an experience of a Mormon convert being excommunicated and encourages the avoidance of "those who would tear down your faith.”[62]

A passage from an early Mormon epistle addresses a claimed tendency of ex-Mormons to criticize the church of which they are no longer a part:

[A]postates after turning from the faith of Christ ... have sooner or later fallen into the snares of the wicked one, and have been left destitute of the Spirit of God, to manifest their wickedness in the eyes of multitudes. From apostates the faithful have received the severest persecutions ... "When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened, and then, no marvel, if all their power should be enlisted against the truth," and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors.[63]

In 1985, Vaughn J. Featherstone, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church, addressed students at the church-owned Brigham Young University, calling anti-Mormon material "theological pornography that is damaging to the spirit."[64]


Mormon apologetics and members vary both in their perception of criticism and opposition, as well as what they see as falling under the umbrella of anti-Mormonism. According to Hugh Nibley, a noted Mormon apologist, some of those who leave the LDS Church "become sometimes feverishly active, determined to prove to the world and themselves that it is a fraud after all," while others "hold no rancor and even retain a sentimental affection for the Church—they just don't believe the gospel." However, neither group, Nibley affirms, can ever "leave it alone. ... It haunts them all the days of their life. No one who has ever had a testimony ever forgets or denies that he once did have it—that it was something that really happened to him."[65][66]

Although some Mormons avoid anti-Mormon material, others analyze and criticize it, such as William J. Hamblin, who addresses anti-Mormon attacks on the geography and archeology of the Book of Mormon in "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon."[67]

Some prominent LDS Church apologists believe that the opposition from anti-Mormonism can be beneficial to Mormonism. As Hugh Nibley expressed it, "We need more anti-Mormon books. They keep us on our toes."[68] Michael R. Ash of the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) dissected this viewpoint in "The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship", concluding that the accusations of critics are helpful in encouraging and stimulating further research.[69] Orson Pratt also seemed to invite criticism when he said:

Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds.[70]


Regarding the subject of Christian anti-Mormonism, Richard Mouw (President of the Fuller Theological Seminary) stated in 2004 at the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City,

I am now convinced that we ... have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening: we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe...Indeed, we have even on occasion demonized you, weaving conspiracy theories about what the LDS community is 'really' trying to accomplish in the world.[71]

Mouw is not the only Christian calling for moderation. Similar pleas have been issued by David Rowe,[72] Carl Mosser, Francis J. Beckwith, Paul Owen,[73] Craig Blomberg,[74] and others. Some church and parachurch groups have also made efforts to repair relations with the Mormons. In the 1980s, Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority "took some small steps toward Evangelical-Mormon cooperation for a shared social, political, and ethical agenda".[75] In or around 2000, a Pentecostal congregation in Provo, Utah held a public ceremony of repentance for its negative attitudes and actions toward the Latter-day Saint community.[76] In 2001, the organization Standing Together, based in Lehi, Utah, was founded by a Baptist minister for the purpose of "building bridges of relationship and dialogue with ... The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."[77] Standing Together hosts public seminars in which Evangelical scholar Greg Johnson and LDS scholar Robert L. Millet "communicate how they have maintained their friendship and at the same time discussed candidly their theological differences and concerns for one another."[78] However, Standing Together is most recognized for their activities at General Conference, where they literally stand together, taking up space to deny its use by those who come to be disruptive influences.

Some traditional Christian churches and ministries, however, have expressed varying degrees of concern about the movement to abandon what they consider to be valid and cogent challenges to Mormon doctrine and teaching for the sake of "peaceful co-existence", and yet at the same time do not wish to be categorized with the fringe Christian elements that seek to be openly disruptive and antagonistic toward the LDS community.[14]


In 2011, Rick Santorum was asked if Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney would have problems in the 2012 presidential election cycle as Mormons. Santorum answered, "I hope not. ... I hope that people will look at the qualities of candidates and look at what they believe and what they're for and look [at] their records and then make a decision."[79]

Then-Vice President Joe Biden said, in a long response to a University of Pittsburgh student's question about how his own religious faith affected his philosophy of government:

I find it preposterous that in 2011 we're debating whether or not a man is qualified or worthy of your vote based on whether or not his religion ... is a disqualifying provision. ... It is not. It is embarrassing and we should be ashamed, anyone who thinks that way.[80]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1856 Republican Platform". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-15. Resolve: That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign powers over the Territories of the United States for their government; and that in the exercise of this power, it is both the right and the imperative duty of Congress to prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism—Polygamy, and Slavery.
  2. ^ "The FBI has been tracking crimes against Latter-day Saints for 3 years. Here's why". Deseret News. 12 January 2019.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. "Mormon".
  4. ^ cf. Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, vol. 3, no. 1, October 1836, p. 319.
  5. ^ A similar party would arise in Utah in 1883, professing to be "'anti-Mormon' ... to the heart's core." Cf. Jennifer Hansen, Letters of Catharine Cottam Romney, p. 76. See also Liberal Party (Utah).
  6. ^ Some examples of Mormons expressing this sort of sentiment are as follows: "Are You an Anti-Mormon? Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine",, accessed June 2006. "Correspondence between James White and Dr. Louis Midgley",, accessed June 2006. & "How I define an Anti-Mormon", FAIR Message Boards, accessed June 2006.
  7. ^ Nelson, William O. (1992). "Anti-Mormon Publications". Encyclopedia of Mormonism (5 ed.). Macmillan USA. ISBN 0-02-904040-X. Retrieved June 1, 2006.
  8. ^ McKeever, Bill, "Anti-Mormon: The Mormon N-Word",, Mormonism Research Ministry, retrieved 2013-01-17
  9. ^ a b Johnson, Eric, "Is Mormonism Research Ministry "Anti-Mormon"?",, Mormonism Research Ministry, archived from the original on 2009-04-02, retrieved 2006-09-24
  10. ^ a b Cannon, Stephen F. (2000), "Games Mormon People Play: The Strategies and Diversions of Latter-day Saint Apologists",, Personal Freedom Outreach, archived from the original on 2012-03-08, retrieved 2013-01-17
  11. ^ Kempton, William (2006). "Why I'm no longer a Mormon". Archived from the original on 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2006-06-01.[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ E.g.: Wenger, Kaimi (November 16, 2004), "Is Signature Books an Anti-Mormon Press?", Times & Seasons, An Onymous Mormon Blog, retrieved 2012-12-11; Bitton, Davis (2004), "Spotting an Anti-Mormon Book", FARMS Review, 16 (1): 355–360, doi:10.5406/farmsreview.16.1.0355, S2CID 193616603, archived from the original on 2013-07-01, retrieved 2012-12-11; Midgley, Louis (2004). "Anti-Mormonism". FARMS Review. 16 (1): 361–406. doi:10.5406/farmsreview.16.1.0361. S2CID 164261284. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  13. ^ Hawkins, Lisa Bolin. "Persecution". Archived from the original on 2006-03-26. Retrieved 2006-06-06.
  14. ^ a b c "An Open Letter to Mormons". Living Hope Christian Fellowship.[non-primary source needed]
  15. ^ History:21–22
  16. ^ Quinn, D. Michael (1998). Early Mormonism and the Magic World View. Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books. ISBN 1-56085-089-2.
  17. ^ Monroe, R.D. "Congress and the Mexican War, 1844–1849". Archived from the original on 13 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-03.
  18. ^ VandeCreek, Drew E. "Religion and Culture". Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-06-03.
  19. ^ Rast, Ben. "The Illinois Apology – The Rest of the Story". Archived from the original (PHP) on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
  20. ^ Bushman, pp. 398–402.
  21. ^ Origen Bacheler (1838). "Mormonism Exposed: Internally and Externally". New York: n.p. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ James M'Chesney. "Antidote to Mormonism". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)[specify]
  23. ^ Bushman, p. 401.
  24. ^ Schindler, Hal (10 April 1994). "The Case Of The Repentant Writer: Sherlock Holmes' Creator Raises The Wrath Of Mormons". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on September 23, 2006. Page D1. Reprinted at by the Utah State Historical Society.
  25. ^ Introvigne, pp. 154,158. Cf. also Peterson, pp. 231–260.
  26. ^ Introvigne, p. 154.
  27. ^ Introvigne, pp. 159–161. Cf. fn. on p. 158 for a few exceptions to the 1980s date.
  28. ^ Peterson, pp. 231–260.
  29. ^ Introvigne, p. 158.
  30. ^ "Utah Lighthouse Ministry". Archived from the original on 10 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
  31. ^ a b Foster, Lawrence (1984) "Career Apostates: Reflections on the Works of Jerald and Sandra Tanner", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 17 (2), 35,39.
  32. ^ "Jerald is a brilliant analyst of detail, with an almost uncanny ability to spot textual inconsistencies which call for explanation. His analysis showing that a pamphlet attributed to Oliver Cowdery was, in fact, a clever forgery, is only one example of research and analysis that would do credit to any professional historian." Foster, Lawrence (1984) "Career Apostates: Reflections on the Works of Jerald and Sandra Tanner", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 17 (2), 47.
  33. ^ See also McCann, Sheila (1999-10-15). "Web Site Prompts Mormon Church to Sue Critics". The Salt Lake Tribune. Article ID: 100F32C9AB6058A3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is suing longtime critics Jerald and Sandra Tanner, accusing them of violating copyright laws by posting information from an internal church handbook on the Internet.. The Tanners run Utah Lighthouse Ministry in Salt Lake City, a nonprofit organization offering books, a newsletter and a Web site disputing LDS Church teachings and practices.. Until this week, their Web site at included pages..., Oberbeck, Steven (1999-11-11). "Ministry's Restraint Order Expanded". The Salt Lake Tribune. Article ID: 100F340A1C121F6C. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was given a temporary victory over its longtime critics Jerald and Sandra Tanner on Wednesday. U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell expanded a temporary restraining order that bars the couple from distributing copyright materials on their Web site that describe church disciplinary procedures.. The expanded order addressed the church's concerns that the Tanners were contributing to additional infringement of the copyrighted Church..., "Church Settles Copyright Suit". The Salt Lake Tribune. 2000-12-14. Article ID: 100EA2D2B500CB8B. The LDS Church has formally settled a federal copyright lawsuit against Jerald and Sandra Tanner, longtime critics who posted part of the Church Handbook of Instruction, a handbook for Mormon clergy, on the Internet. The Tanners, who run Salt Lake-based Utah Lighthouse Ministry, agreed to a settlement offer from church attorneys November 30. But The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not sign until last Friday, after a slight language change was made to the order by U.S. District..., Rivera, Ray (2000-12-01). "LDS Suit Nearing Settlement". The Salt Lake Tribune. Article ID: 100EA47F5A073615. Two longtime LDS Church critics who posted part of a handbook for Mormon clergy on the Internet agreed to a settlement offer Thursday in a federal copyright lawsuit filed against them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, appeared hesitant to sign off on the deal, even though church attorneys drafted the offer.. "The church has not yet signed an agreement, but we are hopeful that a settlement is at hand," church spokesman Dale Bills...
  34. ^ Peterson and Ricks, 13 fn. 39, 14 fn. 42.
  35. ^ Cited in Peterson and Ricks, pp. 5, 9–11. See also Millet, Robert (2005). A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 178–179.
  36. ^ According to Michael Griffith, "Even as anti-Mormon books go, THE GODMAKERS is one of the worst, most inaccurate attacks on Mormonism ever written." Michael T. Griffith. "Another Look at The Godmakers". Archived from the original on 7 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-24.. Says Introvigne, "the second book and film are worse than the first: they include an explicit call to hatred and intolerance that has been denounced as such by a number of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish organizations." Introvigne, p. 154.
  37. ^ His writings were described by Carl Mosser in Saints Alive in Jesus: Ed Decker – The Godmakers as follows:

    Decker is infamous for the mistakes he makes describing Mormon doctrine, the sensationalist claims he has made about Mormon rituals and leaders, and the generally uncharitable attitude with which he conducts his ministry. Most Mormons are inoculated against anything with Decker's name on it. I think it is foolish to give Decker's materials to Mormons and unwise to give them to Christians to read. The Mormon will be repulsed and hardened, the Christian misinformed. "Saints Alive in Jesus: Ed Decker – The Godmakers". Archived from the original on 30 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01.

    See also Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1993). Problems in The Godmakers II. Salt Lake City, UT: UTLM.
  38. ^ Peterson and Ricks, pp. 4–5 fn. 6.
  39. ^ Introvigne, pp. 158, 164.
  40. ^ Peterson and Ricks, pp. 13–14.
  41. ^ Garza, Jennifer (2006-06-29). "Mission Accomplished: Today, Mormon temple opens its doors to the public". The Sacramento Bee. pp. K1. Archived from the original on October 4, 2007. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  42. ^ "Anti-Mormon Efforts at the 2002 Winter Olympics". 2006. Archived from the original on 7 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  43. ^ "Neighborly Christian Love or Hate Speech? Anti-Mormon Protesters". Archived from the original on 26 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
  44. ^ Wilde, Tiffany (2003). "Without the Walls of Temple Square". Retrieved 2006-06-01. Despite the disrespect evinced by some protesters, at least one Latter-day Saint scholar has called on his fellow Mormons to "love the street preachers". Starr, Lance (2003). "Why We Should Love the Street Preachers". Archived from the original on 4 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  45. ^ Mormon leader "Thomas Monson fraud case thrown out", BBC News, 2014-03-20.
  46. ^ Monroe, R.D. "Congress and the Mexican War, 1844–1849". Archived from the original on 13 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-03.
  47. ^ Cf. Churchill, Marlowe (2000). "Judge Orders Vandals Of LDS Chapels To Write Book Of Mormon Essay" (SHTML). Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  48. ^ "Prop 8 Protesting Turns Ugly". 2008-11-10. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  49. ^ a b "Radical Gay Activist Group Plans More Disruptions". Chicago Tribune. November 20, 2008.
  50. ^ Gehrke, Steve (November 24, 2008). "More than mischief: Are recent acts of church vandalism tied to bigotry?". THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  51. ^ Gehrke, Steve (November 21, 2008). "Wall tagged outside Farmington LDS building". THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  52. ^ "ADL Condemns Criminal Activity Targeting Religious Institutions That Supported Proposition 8". Anti-Defamation League. 2008-11-10. Archived from the original on 2008-12-20.
  53. ^ Garza, Jennifer (2008-11-14). "Feds investigate vandalism at Mormon sites". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 2009-02-22.
  54. ^ Winslow, Ben (2008-12-10). "FBI to run more tests on mystery substance mailed to LDS Church". Deseret News.
  55. ^ Winslow, Ben (2009-11-17). "FBI sending suspicious powder to headquarters". Deseret News.
  56. ^ a b "Mormon church blames powder hoax on gays: Leaders say opponents of marriage ban are behind the mailings". Associated Press. 2008-12-24.
  57. ^ Ziegler, Elizabeth (2008-11-14). "GLBT Advocates Condemn Attacks on LDS Church". KCPW. Archived from the original on 2008-12-18.
  58. ^ Office of the Secretary of State (1993). "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992 – Latin American Overview". Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  59. ^ MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. "Search for: Mormon" (JSP). Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  60. ^ MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base (2001). "Unknown Group attacked Religious Figures/Institutions target (September 15, 2001, Croatia)". Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  61. ^ Marvin J. Ashton (November 1982). "Pure Religion". Ensign: 63.
  62. ^ Carlos E. Asay (November 1981). "Opposition to the Work of God". Ensign: 67.
  63. ^ Smith, Joseph F. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1834-1837. p. 66. Although sometimes mistaken for a direct quote from Joseph Smith, this passage occurs in the book as part of "Excerpts from an Epistle of the Elders of the Church in Kirtland to Their Brethren Abroad", edited by Oliver Cowdery and F. G. Williams as published in The Evening and the Morning Star.
  64. ^ Featherstone, Vaughn J. (1985). "The Last Drop in the Chalice". Archived from the original (PHP) on 26 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-01.
  65. ^ Nibley, Hugh (1989). "6". In Don E. Norton (ed.). Approaching Zion (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 9). Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co. p. 155. ISBN 0-87579-252-9.
  66. ^ See also Nibley, Hugh (August 1991). "Part 3: How To Write An anti-Mormon Book (A Handbook for Beginners)". In David J. Whittaker (ed.). Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass: The Art of Telling Tales About Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol 11). Deseret Book Company. pp. 474–580. ISBN 0-87579-516-1.
  67. ^ William J. Hamblin (Spring 1993). "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: 161–197.
  68. ^ Nibley, Hugh (1978). Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center. Xii.
  69. ^ Ash, Michael R. (2002). "The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship". Retrieved 2006-06-07.
  70. ^ Orson Pratt (January 1853). "The Seer". UCLA Law Review. 1 (1): 15–16.
  71. ^ Mouw, Richard (2005-01-15). "We Have Sinned Against You". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25., Moore, Carrie A. (2004-11-15). "Evangelical preaches at Salt Lake Tabernacle". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2006-08-13. Mouw's remarks generated mixed reactions from members of the evangelical community, ranging from heartfelt agreement to biting criticism. Moore, Carrie A. (2005-01-15). "Speaker's apology to LDS stirs up fuss". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2006-09-25., Huggins, Ronald V. (2004). "An Appeal for Authentic Evangelical-Mormon Dialogue". Archived from the original on 5 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
  72. ^ Rowe, David L. (2005). I Love Mormons: A New Way to Share Christ with Latter-day Saints. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
  73. ^ Mosser, Carl, Francis J. Beckwith, Paul Owen (2002). The New Mormon Challenge. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  74. ^ Blomberg, Craig and Stephen E. Robinson (1997). How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 31–32.
  75. ^ Blomberg, Craig and Stephen E. Robinson (1997). How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 25.
  76. ^ [ Dean Merrill, "A Peacemaker in Provo," Christianity Today, February 2000.]
  77. ^ Johnson, Greg. "About Us". Archived from the original on 22 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-25.
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  80. ^ "Biden defends Romney's Mormon faith". Reuters. 4 November 2016.


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