An examination of hostile claims against Joseph Smith and the Church demonstrates inconsistencies within their own body of accusations as well as with documented history.

  • Authors that are hostile to the Church regularly portray Joseph Smith as a fraud, with a variety of descriptions.  However, when these depictions are strung together to form an historical narrative, it is fraught with internal inconsistencies as well as contradictions to the historical record.

picasso

  • As artwork, it creates a Picasso painting that is disjointed and fragmented. In contrast, the historical record without the antagonistic overlay portrays a more even unfolding of the organization of the Church and the expansion of Joseph Smith’s teachings, more like a Rembrandt masterpiece.

Rembrandt

  • For example, according to The CES Letter, Joseph Smith was supposed to have incorporated the following in producing the Book of Mormon:
    • Borrowing verbatim from the King James Bible although no accounts describe him using any papers or books in the process.
    • Borrowing names from maps published in foreign countries that he doubtless never saw.
    • Borrowing from a book, View of the Hebrews although more differences than similarities are found.
    • Been influenced by Captain Kidd novels that he undoubtedly never read.
    • Been influenced by The Late War, although it is unlikely he ever saw a copy.
    • Been influenced by The First Book of Napoleon, although it is unlikely he ever saw a copy.
  • Joseph Smith had perhaps a year of intermittent frontier schooling. His mother Lucy Mack Smith, wrote that young Joseph “was less inclined to the study of books than any child we had, but much more given to reflection and deep study” (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 111). His wife Emma recalled in “Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon.”
  • In other accusations Joseph Smith is portrayed as having the power to enter sexual polyandry, with a woman so that he is her second husband, and by the power of his command she never mentioned it, her family never mentioned it, her legal husband never mentioned it, and the officiator at the alleged polyandrous ceremony never mentioned it. And when Joseph later taught it was adultery, she never complained, members of her family who were aware never complained, the officiators and other Church leaders never complained.
  • With the Book of Abraham, we know nothing of how the text actually relates to the Egyptian scrolls, but modern interpreters freely tell us the missing details and then elaborate without explaining how the text contains details about Abraham’s life that Joseph Smith could not possibly have known independent of supernatural assistance.
  • The Three and Eight Witnesses never denied their testimonies. To dim the importance of this fact, The CES Letter attempts to assassinate their characters. With Martin Harris, they may have some success, but with David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, they fail because these men were highly respected and died reaffirming their testimonies.
  • Joseph Smith is supposed to have “translated” the Kinderhook plates although the only “translation” available is a few sentences paraphrasing a paragraph found in the Grammar and Egyptian Alphabet Lexicon that is positioned next to a symbol that is similar to a symbol on the Kinderhook plates. There is no official "translation" and the process is entirely unrelated to how the Book of Mormon was translated.

Additional Resources:

Some Reflections On That Letter To a CES Director by Daniel Peterson 

Eye of the Beholder, Law of the Harvest: Observations on the Inevitable Consequences of the Different Investigative Approaches of Jeremy Runnells and Jeff Lindsay by Kevin Christensen 

A FairMormon Analysis of: Letter to a CES Director

Jeremy Runnells – the New Expert on Joseph Smith’s Polygamy? by Brian Hales 

FAIR Issues 4: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 4, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 5: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 5, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 6: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 6, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 7: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 7, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 8: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 8, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 9: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 9, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 10: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 10, Michael R. Ash

4th Watch 4: The Kingdom of the Cults – “Shock Terms.”, Ned Scarisbrick

4th Watch 10: Mormonism Investigated UK, Bobby Gilpin

Articles of Faith 5: Kevin Christensen on Inevitable Consequences of the Different Investigative Approaches of Jeremy Runells and Jeff Lindsay, Kevin Christensen

Articles of Faith 8: LDS Church Disciplinary Councils, Barbie Berg / Alan Wyatt

Articles of Faith 17: General Conference October 2014 – Apologetic Highlights, Steve Densley

Best of Fair 1: Apologetics 101, Wayne Arnett

Best of Fair 2: Humble Apologetics, Daniel C. Peterson

Best of Fair 3: Online Apologetics, Scott Gordon

Best of Fair 10: On Being An Apologist: Imperatives, Predicaments, Perils, and Blessings., Robert White

FAIR Conversations, Episode 1: Gregory L. Smith, Gregory L. Smith

FAIR Conversations, Episode 2: Terryl L. Givens, Terry L. Givens

FAIR Issues 1: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 1, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 2: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 2, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 3: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 3, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 12: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 12, Michael R. Ash

Fair Issues 13: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 13, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 14: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 14, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 15: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 15, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 16: Challenging Issues and Keeping the Faith Pt 16, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 18: Can imperfect scriptures lead to God?, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 24: The cure for an intellectual apostasy, Michael R. Ash

FAIR Issues 27: Mormons not Christian? That’s a fallacy of equivocation, Daniel C. Peterson

FAIR Issues 39: Countering subversive attacks, Michael R. Ash

FairMormon Frameworks 5: Mike Ash & Shaken Faith, Michael R. Ash

FairMormon Frameworks 10: Terryl Givens Crucible of Doubt, Terryl Givens

FairMormon Frameworks 12: Seth Payne Support in the Faith, Seth Payne

FairMormon Frameworks 15: Jim McConkie on Preserving and Nurturing Faith, Jim McConkie

Faith and Reason 1: Introduction, Michael R. Ash

Keeping the Faith 1: Letter to a Doubter, Terryl Givens

Keeping the Faith 2a: Michael Ash and Shaken Faith Syndrome, pt 1, Michael R. Ash

Keeping the Faith 2b: Michael Ash and Shaken Faith Syndrome, pt 2, Michael R. Ash

Keeping the Faith 3a: Cody Anderson–Cultivating the seeds of faith, pt 1, Cody Anderson

Keeping the Faith 3b: Cody Anderson–Cultivating the seeds of faith, pt 2, Cody Anderson

Keeping the Faith 4: Mike Parker–Navigating difficult doctrinal, historical or political issues, Mike Parker

Keeping the Faith 7a: The Reel Story, Bill Reel

Keeping the Faith 7b: The Reel Story, Bill Reel

Keeping the Faith 8a: Matt Francom, Matt Francom

Keeping the Faith 8b: Matt Francom, Matt Francom

Keeping The Faith 9: John Montgomery, John Montgomery

Keeping the Faith 13: Pressing forward with faith, Bill Reel

Mormon FAIR-Cast 60: Mormon Voices, John Lynch

Mormon FAIR-Cast 73: Purpose, history and offerings of FAIR, Michael R. Ash

Mormon FAIR-Cast 96: FAIR on the Radio Pt 1, John Lynch & Stephen Smoot

Mormon FAIR-Cast 96: FAIR on the Radio Pt 2, John Lynch & Stephen Smoot

Mormon FAIR-Cast 100: Dan Peterson on “apologetics”, Daniel C. Peterson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 101: Dan Peterson takes questions, Daniel C. Peterson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 119: Defending the King and His Kingdom, Louis C. Midgley

Mormon FAIR-Cast 133: Apologetics Organizations, Martin Tanner

Mormon FAIR-Cast 135: Shaken Faith Syndrome, 2nd ed., Michael R. Ash

Mormon FAIR-Cast 143: Responding to Anti-Mormons, Martin Tanner

Mormon FAIR-Cast 144: Mormon Book Review–Shaken Faith Syndrome, Michael R. Ash

Mormon FAIR-Cast 156: Defenders Beget Defenders, Steve Densley, Jr.

Mormon FAIR-Cast 160a: Don Bradley and Dan Peterson Taking Questions, Don Bradley & Dr. Daniel Peterson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 160b: Don Bradley and Dan Peterson Taking Questions, Don Bradley & Dr. Daniel Peterson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 163: Anti-Mormon Methodology, Martin Tanner

Mormon FAIR-Cast 170: The Interpreter Foundation and FairMormon, Michael R. Ash

Mormon FAIR-Cast 179: FairMormon Support Board, Ned Scarisbrick, Bill Reel, John Westover, John Lynch

Mormon FAIR-Cast 202: Barry R. Bickmore, “Restoring the Ancient Church”, Barry Bickmore

Mormon FAIR-Cast 204: What is a Christian?, Martin Tanner

Mormon FAIR-Cast 243: Barry R. Bickmore, “Restoring the Ancient Church”, Barry Bickmore

Mormon FAIR-Cast Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest For Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens, Dr. Terryl & Fiona Givins

RiseUp Podcast: Overcoming Struggles and Doubts, Jimmy Carpenter

RiseUp Podcast: Defend Your Beliefs Game Show, Nick Galieti

RiseUp Podcast: What I Learned In My First Year With FairMormon, Nick Galieti

Fireside at St George Tabernacle by Mike Parker

The Obligation to Do Apologetics — Daniel C Peterson

October 2014 General Conference – Through an Apologetic Lens

Consequences of the Different Investigative Approaches of Jeremy Runells and Jeff Lindsay

Mormon Fair-Cast 170: The Interpreter Foundation and FairMormon

Mormon FAIR-Cast 163: Anti-Mormon Methodology

Mormon FAIR-Cast 160b: Don Bradley and Dan Peterson Taking Questions

Mormon FAIR-Cast 160a: Don Bradley and Dan Peterson Taking Questions

Mormon FAIR-Cast 156: Defenders Beget Defenders

Mormon FAIR-Cast 73: Purpose, history and offerings of FAIR

Mormon FAIR-Cast 60: Mormon Voices

Keeping The Faith 9: John Montgomery

Keeping the Faith 8b — Matt Francom

Keeping the Faith 8a : Matt Francom

Keeping the Faith 7b: The Reel Story

Keeping the Faith 7a: The Reel Story

Why are some Affected by anti Mormon arguments while others are not? Fair Mormon Podcast

Cognitive Dissonance and the LDS Church — Fair Mormon Podcast

What is an anti-Mormon? Fair Mormon Podcast

Where did Fair Mormon and FARMS come From? — Fair Mormon Podcast

Who Should be an Apologist? — Fair Mormon Podcast

Why People Leave the LDS Church — Fair Mormon Podcast

Crucible of Doubt — Terryl Givens — Fair Mormon Podcast

LDS Apologetics–Interview with Kevin Christensen– Fair Mormon Podcast

Mormonism Investigated UK

The Kingdom of the Cults — “Shock Terms.”– Fair Mormon Podcast

 pt 1, FAIR Apologetics

pt 2, FAIR Apologetics

pt 1, God and Mr. Hitchens

pt 2, God and Mr. Hitchens

pt 3, God and Mr. Hitchens

pt 4, God and Mr. Hitchens

pt 5, God and Mr. Hitchens

pt 6, God and Mr. Hitchens

Scott Gordon Tenersi stretti alla fede

SEELY HAMBLIN07

pt 1, LDS Apologetics 101

pt 2, LDS Apologetics 101

pt 3, LDS Apologetics 101

pt 4, LDS Apologetics 101

pt 5, LDS Apologetics 101

pt 1 Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation

pt 2 Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation

pt 3 Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation

pt 4 Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation

pt 5 Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation

Pt. 1 Daniel C. Peterson and James White debate

Pt. 2 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 3 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 4 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 5 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 6 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 7 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 8 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 9 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 10 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 11 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 12 Daniel C. Peterson/William Hamblin and James White debate

Pt. 1 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Pt. 2 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Pt. 3 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Pt. 4 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Pt. 5 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Pt. 6 Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism

Seeing Our Blindness: our personal history and our understanding God, by Wendy Ulrich

Something Wiki This Way Comes

pt 1, The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

pt 2 The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

pt 3 The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

pt 4 The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

pt 5 The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

pt 6 The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship

The Unchanging ways of Anti-Mormons

What I Learned from Hugh Nibley by Boyd Petersen

Alone: The Impact of Anti-Mormonism

Answering Questions

Anti Church Material-Church Rep Refers People to Fair Mormon

Being Considerate When Speaking to Critics

Book Trailer ‘Day of Defense’ Red Flags 2

Defending the Faith by David Paulsen

Defending Zion, by Roger Ekin

Editing Hugh Nibley: From Manuscript to book, by Shirley RIcks

Einladung zur FairKonferenz

FAIR, An Introduction

God and Mr. Hitchen’s by Daniel C. Peterson

Grace of Apologetics by Roger Keller

Greg Smith Il matrimonio plurimo

How to Answer Anti-Mormon Arguments

Humble Apologetics

Introduction to FAIR

Introduction to FAIR by its members

Join us for the 2014 FAIR conference!!!

LDS Philosophers Roundtable

Marvin Perkins I neri nelle scritture

Matt Roper In Memoriam Matthew Brown

Mythmaking and The Mark Hoffman Case by Steve Mayfield & George Throckmorton

Online Aplogetics

part 1, The Unchanging ways of anti-Mormonism

part 2, The Unchanging ways of anti-Mormonism

part 3, The Unchanging ways of anti-Mormonism

part 4, The Unchanging ways of anti-Mormonism

part 5, The Unchanging ways of anti-Mormonism

pt 1 Introduction, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 14 the testimonies of the scholars

What I Learned from Hugh Nibley pt1

What I learned from Hugh Nibley pt 2

What I learned from Hugh Nibley pt 3

What I learned from Hugh Nibley pt 4

What I learned from Hugh Nibley pt 5

A Case Study in Deception: Jim Robertson of “Concerned Christians, Inc.” by Craig Ray

A Look At Barry Bickmore’s Book From a Non-LDS Perspective by David Waltz

An Incident Concerning Page 81 of “Mormonism–Shadow or Reality?” (2000 FAIR Conference) by Robert Vukich

An Imperfect History: A Review of “The Mysteries of Godliness” by Ben Spackman

An Early Anti-Mormon Prediction by Matthew Brown

Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2002 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the April 2003 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2003 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the April 2004 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2004 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon efforts at the 2004 Mesa Easter Pageant by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2010 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon protesters at the October 2011 LDS General Conference by Allen Wyatt

Anti-Mormon efforts at the 2003 Mesa Easter Pageant

Anti-Mormon Efforts at the 2002 Winter Olympics

Anti-Mormons at Temple Square by Greg Kearney

Anti-Mormon Sensationalism and Shock-Value! The Tools of the Critics of the LDS Faith by J. Cooper Johnson

Apologetics 101 (2006 FAIR Conference) by Wayne Arnett

Apologetics by the Numbers by Daniel C. Peterson

Are Anti-Mormons Christians? by Russell McGregor

A Response to James White’s “Review” of ”How Wide The Divide?”

Ask the Apologist: Answering Shotgun Anti-Mormonism

Ask the Apologist: By Grace Alone?

Ask the Apologist: Families and Anti-Mormon Issues

As Things Stand at the Moment: Responding to Martha Beck’s Leaving the Saints by Boyd Petersen

A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer’s “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” (with a Few Comments of My Own) by George Cobabe

A Survey of Clergy Opinion on Mormonism

Breaking Down Barriers with Wrecking Balls of Fallacy (2000 FAIR Conference) by Kevin C. Hill

Breaking The Rules: Critics of the LDS Faith by J. Cooper Johnson

Celsus and Modern Anti-Mormonism (PDF) by Aaron Christensen

Clouds Without Water, Zeal Without Knowledge. A review of The Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin by John K. Wise

Critics in Wonderland: Through the Liberal Looking Glass by Juliann Reynolds

Dealing with Difficult Issues by Scott Gordon

Defending Zion (PDF) (2003 FAIR Conference) by Roger Ekins

Did Brigham Young Say that He Would Kill an Adulterous Wife with a Javelin? by Mike Parker

Does Walter Martin Have A Valid Ph.D.?

Easier than Research, More Inflammatory than Truth (2000 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

Evangelical Shows His Own Religion Isn’t Biblical After All: Review of “Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up.” by Marc Schindler

Evasive Ignorance: Anti-Mormon Claims that B.H. Roberts Lost His Testimony by McKay V. Jones

Faulty History: A Review of Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Richard E. Turley

George Q. Cannon and the Apostates (2005 FAIR Conference) by Davis Bitton

God and Mr. Hitchens (PDF) (2007 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

Historical or Hysterical: Anti-Mormons and Documentary Sources (2004 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Brown

How About Tolerance For All? by Bob Lonsberry

How to Debunk a Fake News Story by Greg Kearney

Is Mormonism a Cult? (PDF) by Kim Siever

Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s Distorted View of Mormonism: A Response to Mormonism–Shadow or Reality

Leaving the Saints or Leaving Reality? by Scott Gordon

Loss and Sadness Among the Saints: A Review of Leaving the Saints by Allen Wyatt

Mormonism and the New Liberalism: the Inescapability of Political Apologetics (2013 FAIR Conference) by Ralph Hancock

Mormonism, Islam, and the Question of Other Religions (2011 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

Mormonism–Shadow or Reality? History or Propaganda? Joseph Smith as a Case Study (2000 FAIR Conference) by Danel Bachman

Mormons–Can They Be Considered Christians? The Perspective of The Christian Research Institute by J. Cooper Johnson

Motivation, Behavior, and Dissension by Allen Wyatt

Naturalistic Terms: Some Reflections on a Motto and Type of Historical Explanation (2001 FAIR Conference) by Louis Midgley

Nehors in the Land: A Latter-day Variation on an Ancient Theme (2000 FAIR Conference) by L. Ara Norwood

Neighborly Christian Love or Hate Speech? Anti-Mormon Protesters

Of ‘Mormon Studies’ and Apologetics (2012 FAIR Conference) by Dan Peterson

Old Themes and Stereotypes Never Die: The Unchanging Ways of Anti-Mormons (2003 FAIR Conference) by Craig L. Foster

On Being an Apologist: Imperatives, Predicaments, Perils, and Blessings (2009 FAIR Conference) by Robert White

Random Reflections on the Passing Scene (2003 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

Reflections on Secular Anti-Mormonism (2005 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

Ross Baron Presentation by Ross Baron

Scholarship in Mormonism and Mormonism in Scholarship (2001 FAIR Conference) by John A. Tvedtnes

Spotting an Anti-Mormon Book by Davis Bitton

The Grace of Apologetics (2003 FAIR Conference) by Roger Keller

The Imaginary Scholar A review of Is Mormonism Christian? By Gordon H. Fraser by Terry DeGuire

The Impact of Mormon Critics on LDS Scholarship (2002 FAIR Conference) by Michael Ash

The Obligation to Do Apologetics (PDF) (2010 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

The Tanners on the Hereafter: A Case Study in “Studied Ignorance” by Barry Bickmore

The Truth About “The God Makers” by Gilbert Scharffs

They Lie in Wait to Deceive by Robert L. and Rosemary Brown

Toward a More Effective Apologetics (2013 FAIR Conference) by Daniel C. Peterson

“Uh oh!” to “Ah ha!” in Apologetics: 20/20 Foresight for a Faithful Future in Defending the Church (2009 FAIR Conference) by John Lynch

Uncovering a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing? A Brief Review of ‘Statements of the LDS First Presidency: A Topical Compendium’ by Daniel C. Peterson

Up In Smoke: A Response to the Tanners’ Criticism of the Word of Wisdom (2000 FAIR Conference) by Michael Ash

Why Apologetics? (PDF) by Lance Starr

Why Mormonism Matters: Pastoral Apologetics and the LDS Doubter (2013 FAIR Conference) by Seth Payne

Why We Should Love the Street Preachers by Lance Starr

THE NEW MYTHMAKERS A Reply to the Film “The God Makers”