CES Letter Rebuttals


There have been numerous responses to the CES Letter over the years. Find links to some of these below.

LDS Reddit, 2022

This reply by Sarah Allen is the newest and one of the most comprehensive replies to the CES Letter. Sara's replies amount to 800-pages of detailed documentation. It's an excellent read.


FAIR provided one of the earliest responses of the claims found in the CES Letter. None of these claims are new. They've just been repackaged for a new generation. Despite Jeremy's attempt to debate with FAIR, many of the points FAIR makes are documented and irrefutable.

Jim Bennett, 2018

Jim Bennett has provided one of the most detailed and popular responses to the CES Letter available. He addresses every single line. Coupled with a lot of great points, Jim's use of comedy, sarcasm, and personal anecdotes makes for an entertaining read. And yes, he also uses snark too. Jim also happens to be the son of former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett and has a career in theater.

Michael Ash, 2016

Michael Ash wrote an entire e-book replying to the CES Letter that he made available for free. He breaks the letter down into 93 issues that he addresses individually. From the Book of Mormon to the final conclusion, Michael Ash has you covered.

Daniel Peterson, 2014

At FAIR's 2014 conference, Dr. Daniel Peterson gave an hour-long reply to the CES Letter. One can watch the actual presentation or read the transcript. While it's impossible to address every point in the CES Letter in one hour, Dr. Peterson does cover a lot of the biggest ones. Dr. Peterson is an extremely well-researched scholar who has been providing excellent insights about the church for decades.

An Open Letter to Jeremy Runnells,Two-Parts

Neal Rappleye, 2014

Neal Rappleye wrote a scholarly two-part letter to Jeremy Runnells addressing the Book of Mormon.

Part 1:  Neal provides 13 distinct examples in which 1 Nephi matches what we know about old world Jerusalem around 600 B.C.

Part 2:  Addresses many of the points in the CES Letter including the KJV, archeology, DNA, 19th century parallels, etc.

Kevin Christensen, 2014

Kevin Christensen analyzes why Jeff Lindsay & Jeremy Runnells read the same information and arrive at different conclusions. "Why do they come to such different conclusions in dealing with the same questions? The fact is that Lindsay has for at least twenty years confronted the same information that Runnells treats as faith-shattering over a single year.

He also addresses many of the biggest topics in the CES Letter. Including the following Book of Mormon topics: KJV & translation, archaeology, 19th century parallels, and a trinitarian view. He also addresses the Book of Abraham, the priesthood restoration, and paradigm shifts. 

Kevin Christensen, 2016

This essay only moderately addresses the CES Letter. "Image is Everything" is Kevin Christensen's 2016 reply to an essay criticizing Christensen's previous CES Letter response written in 2014. The critical piece is called "The Sky is Falling" and was written by Johnny Stephenson and posted by Jeremy Runnells. In this reply Christensen further addresses ad hominem attacks, cognitive dissonance, different paradigms, objectivity. He also replies to the CES Letter specific topics: the term "translation," the First Vision, and the priesthood restoration.

Johnathan Cannon, 2015

Johnathan rejects the black-and-white paradigm of the church that so many members hold. It says, "Most of the “problems” highlighted in the letter appeared to be more problems with assumptions about God or prophets or human nature than anything else." He then addresses 16 key sections of the CES Letter with an average of a few bulleted paragraphs for each section.

Jeff Lindsay, 2014

While the CES Letter may have been a well-intentioned series of questions, it has now turned into a Big List -- a logical fallacy and common method of attack on faiths. "One of the challenges in defending one's faith is coping with the critics who use the "Big List" technique in their attack. This involves throwing out numerous arguments to create the impression of an overwhelming barrage that decimates the faith in question . . . If there is a good defense to these arguments raised at first, never mind, there are many more to be launched in different directions."

Blog, 2019

This blog lays out three different ways that one can view the church in three ways. First, that it's literally true. Second, that it's false. Third, a nuanced view that falls somewhere between the first two.

This particular post seeks to provide a neutral overview of the claims in the CES Letter and does a decent job of that. One aspect about the blog is that the author doesn't believe in a historical Book of Mormon. The great thing about the church is we strive have a big tent for believers. While all may not agree with that perspective, it's still nice to hear the perspective of an active member who holds and unconventional view and remains active.

Brian Hales, 2014

Brian Hales, author of numerous books on Joseph Smith's Polygamy, responds to numerous claims made by Jeremy Runnells in the CES Letter. Hales addresses a few of the following topics: eternity-only sealings, Joseph's four reasons for polygamy, teenage brides, and an inaccurate quote that Runnells incorrectly to Lorenzo Snow. Hales cautions people to be cautious of the accuracy of some of Runnell's polygamy research.