Reason #178: Growing Acknowledgment of the Role of Secrecy

Recently The Wall Street Journal ran a short article about the way that a religious group becomes a cult. Here’s a quote: The first is behavior control, i.e., monitoring of where you go and what you do. The second is information control, such as discouraging members from reading criticism of the group. The third is thought control, placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning. The fourth is emotional control—using humiliation or guilt. Yet at times these traits can also be detected within mainstream faiths. So I would add two more categories: financial control and extreme leadership. However, the author settles on one universal cultic trait: that of secrecy,  being what the author calls “unknowable to outsiders.” Surely Mormonism...

Reason #177: No Hun Horses, therefore Book of Mormon Horses?

LDS apologist Michael R. Ash has a very interesting argument about why there are no remains of horses found in the Americas which can be dated to the Book of Mormon “historical” time period. Ash says (complete comments here): In the 4th & 5th centuries AD, the Huns of Central Asia and Eastern Europe had so many horses that estimates suggest that each warrior may have had up to ten horses. Horses were the basis of their wealth and military power. According to a non-LDS leading authority on the zoological record for central Asia, however, we know very little of the Huns’ horses, and not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns.Based on the fact that other–once thriving–animals have...

How would you advise this young woman?

Here’s another letter I just received from a reader of this blog. It’s reprinted below with her permission. How would you advise her? Hi, Mrs. Latayne Scott, Although I’ve never been a part of the Mormon Church, I’ve had various experiences through family and friends. I attended my first and last service when I was thirteen years old. My best friend, a member of the Mormon Church, invited me to attend to listen to a speech she was asked to write. Young as I was, I didn’t question anything except the extensive hours. It wasn’t until high school when my questions stirred. During the summer before my junior year, relatives from Utah came to visit. It was then I learned that they were a part of the Mormon Church. When I returned...

Letter from reader Jolene Barrios

Even though The Mormon Mirage was re-released two years ago, I get encouraging letters from readers often. Here’s a recent one: Hi.  I just finished reading your book, The Mormon Mirage.  My parents, my siblings, my in-laws etc. are all Mormon, and have been since the late 1970’s, when the missionaries came knocking on our door.  I am the only only that didn’t buy in to the stories.  All of my brothers married Mormon women and had Mormon kids.  I have always been the outsider and have felt alone.  I married and have 3 kids and 3 grandkids, outside of Mormonism.  I just want to thank you for writing this book.  I now have a renewed strength in the knowledge that I am o.k, and not less than the rest of my Mormon family.  I have not felt...

Reason #176: Still No Pre-Columbian Horses

For years LDS apologists have tried to find the remains or other evidence of pre-Columbian horses. One such attempt is the statement by Daniel Peterson in this video.  He refers to horse bones found in the upper Mid-west that says preliminary reports identified as being contemporaneous with the Book of Mormon accounts. Apparently Peterson was referring to — and was taken in by — one of the most persistent archaeological hoaxes of recent years.  You can read about it here.   No responsible archaeologist believes that horses existed in the Americas in the time period of the Book of Mormon. Up until recently when they took down the post, BYU’s official Maxwell Institute site pointed to a horse found in Florida carbon-dated to 100 BC...