Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: I would really like to know your vision of what the post 95 LDS Theses church would be like.
A: The real question is what would YOU like a post 95 LDS Theses Church to look and be like?
Everyone who’s been involved and will be involved in this project would answer that question differently. And while we may agree on points we disagree on others. However, the one thing that we all agree on is that reform is needed.
Q: Why are you trying to reform something that’s already perfect? The LDS gospel and church are perfect but the members aren’t.
A: Please refer to Thesis #74 which says, “It [the LDS Church] employs circular logic.”
This is another example of it. The fact of the matter is that the members aren’t perfect, but neither is the church’s gospel or the organization. As long as the church is run by imperfect people it will always be imperfect. And when those imperfections become too extreme then reform is required. This isn’t just true of the LDS Church it’s true of all religious institutions.
As for the LDS Church teaching that its gospel is perfect, that claim might be more credible if it’s leaders didn’t keep changing it. (see Thesis #55, also see “The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology” by Thomas G. Alexander; Sunstone Magazine, July-August 1980, pp.24-33)
Q: Why are you trying to reform something that’s so broken that it can never be reformed?
A: We’re not quite that cynical – we still see great potential and promise in the LDS Church.
However, right now there are issues keeping the LDS Church from reaching it’s full potential as a force for good in the earth. And we think that taking action on the issues addressed in the 95 LDS Theses would be a good start in that direction.
Q: You can’t fool me – I’m calling “wolf in sheep’s clothes” here!
Aren’t you guys are really nothing more than Mormon hating Anti-Mormons hell-bent on destroying the LDS Church?
A: The majority of people who have participated in compiling the 95 LDS Theses over the years have been members of the LDS Church.
So, since that’s the case, it seems odd that they would be self-haters hell-bent on destroying the very church that they belong to. And believe it or not, there are actually some outsiders who love the Mormon people and have great hope for the LDS Church, yet are longing to see their friends and family member’s broken church reform and repair itself.
Rather, and in conclusion, we would respectfully suggest that this – the most common of all the objections we’ve gotten over the years – is actually the best evidence for thesis #1 which says:
“…today’s LDS Church is quick to label and denounce internal and external critics as “enemies out to destroy” even when they’re simply speaking the truth, seeking to gain understanding, and/or trying to make the church a better place.”
Q: Your efforts don’t go far enough! I want nothing short of the complete destruction of the Mormon Church. Why should I participate?
A: Like it or not, Mormon History demonstrates that the LDS Church is always going to exist in some form.
Mormon Reformation isn’t content to idly stand by while it continues the way it is now – are you? What about your friends and family members who, let’s face it, will probably never leave it – wouldn’t it be nice if they were in a better church? And what about all those “Shadow Mormons” (unbelieving Mormons trapped in Mormonism due to job, family, or social pressure) shouldn’t something be done to help them? On that last note, we would ask you to read this heart rending autobiographical account from a Shadow Mormon before you make your final decision. Thanks.
Q: You all do realize that there already has been a Mormon Reformation don’t you?
A: We’re certainly aware of the so-called “Mormon Reformation” of 1856-1857 yes.
In fact, we know it so well that we know it’s more rightly named, “The Mormon Inquisition”. That’s because, it’s now clear when viewed through the lens of historical perspective, that the real intent of Brigham Young’s call for repentance and rededication was to reconsolidate the dissipating power that he’d once exercised over the Utah Mormons back to himself again. As a result, the 19th Century Mormon Reformation wasn’t reformative at all. Rather, it was a dictatorial inquisition – and a violent one at that.
Q: Why are the Mormon Reformation Day event and discussion groups on Facebook closed or by invitation only?
A: Because of the kind of abuse that we’ve seen in past Mormon Reformation Day campaigns.
Specifically, our attempts to engage in civil and dispassionate discourse in open Facebook pages have been too often thwarted by Internet trolls, sockpuppets, and bullies. The worse behavior has, sadly, come from fanatical zealots who have abused the Facebook flagging system to get members of Mormon Reformation and/or their Facebook pages temporarily banned from Facebook. Were it not for these abuses these pages would be open to the public. Sadly, given the harsh realities of today’s increasingly rude and uncivil world this just doesn’t seem practical at the moment.
Q: Why have you initiated a no-proselytizing moderation policy?
A: In a similar fashion to the other problems we’ve encountered in past Internet discussion groups, dogmatic (often relentless) soap boxers who push a particular religious, atheistic, or political worldview or agenda, have also been a real problem.
The guideline here is simple: You can tell others what you believe, however, you may not tell others what and how they should or shouldn’t (yes folks, atheists proselytize too!) believe.
THE 95 LDS THESES
Q: Who exactly came up with these 95 LDS Theses?
A: The answer this year is the same as it’s been in years past which is as follows:
“Compiled by Fred W. Anson, with the generous aid and assistance of current and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as knowledgeable outsiders, all whom long to see the Mormon Church reform for the sake of all its members – but especially for the sake of their Latter-day Saint friends and family members.”
Q: If others are involved in this effort then why is Fred W. Anson the only one ever publicly named?
A: Because, unlike most of the other team members, Mr. Anson has never been a member of the LDS Church.
Therefore, he doesn’t need to worry about being disciplined (see theses #3, #4, and #7), losing his wife or family (see thesis #32), or facing other unpleasant family complications by being publicly associated with this project. The other team members have chosen to remain anonymous for all these reasons and more.
Further, since a common criticism of the February 2013 campaign was that it was “faceless” (the organizer was an active Mormon and used an alias rather than his real name) it was decided that at least one name should be publicly associated with this project and Mr. Anson was chosen. The others may or may not choose to self-identify later. If so, that decision will be theirs alone as we won’t violate the privacy of those who wish to remain anonymous.
Q: I think you missed some important issues and points in this year’s 95 LDS Theses – how can we fix that?
A: No doubt, you’re right.
The LDS Church is too big, too complex, and too challenging to address everything in just ninety-five points of discussion. However, since the book on this year’s 95 LDS Theses is closed, we’re going to focus entirely on the posting campaign and the ensuing discussion that always results from it at this point.
However, if you’d like to bring your good ideas to next years efforts please send us an email to MormonReformationDay@gmail.com and we’ll get you involved!
Q: I pretty much like what you’re saying here but I’m not sure I entirely like the way that you’re saying it, or for that matter, doing it . . .
A: Applications for volunteers for next year’s compilation effort are now being happily accepted!
Please see the last set of Q&A’s for details. We can always use more heavy lifters – this is a HUGE annual undertaking.
This year is pretty much a done deal – mistakes and all. Every year Mormon Reformation Day gets a little better as we learn from past mistakes and challenges. Join us in making next year’s our best yet!
But above all else . . .
Please don’t let our failings (be they real or imagined) keep you from joining us in making your voice heard on Mormon Reformation Day this coming October 31st – post a set of 95 LDS Theses.
(and remember, the 95 Theses don’t have to be perfect to be effective – Luther’s weren’t, and neither are ours)
Q: How do I check my local trespassing laws – as suggested on the Door Posting page?
A: Click here for a quick primer on US trespassing law and some state specific information.
If there are still concerns or questions please click here to find and consult with a local lawyer. For those folks outside of the United States there should be similar internet and professional services available in your area for consultation – just google to find them. If you’re still concerned after researching your local trespassing laws then we would suggest that you simply cross post the 95 LDS Theses across the internet and skip door posting altogether.
Q: That trespassing thing has me spooked, are there other ways to post?
A: Most past Mormon Reformation Day postings have been electronic. Please don’t feel any need or pressure to door post.
Door posting is rare and just one good option among many good options. If you’re not comfortable with it then don’t do it – it’s just that simple. Email, Twitter, Facebook, Blog, and Discussion Board posts, all work just fine – better in fact, since the chances of them staying up and being read, considered, and discussed are much higher than a paper door posted copy is.
To post electronically, just use the soft copy on the website and copy and paste it into whatever, or use the printable door posting Adobe Acrobat (aka “.PDF”) file as a attachment to email. Of course just copying the link for either works well too.
For quick and easy reference here are the links:
English online (soft copy) edition:
Spanish online (soft copy) edition:
English printable (hard copy) Adobe Acrobat edition:
Spanish printable (hard copy) Adobe Acrobat edition:
Q: Do I have to use the 95 LDS Theses on this website to participate?
A: For the sake of a unified, consistent message we would prefer that everyone post the same set of theses.
Nevertheless, we certainly understand that not everyone will agree 100% with everything in the theses that we’ve compiled – just as we’ve stated on our “About” page:
Whatever your personal desires for the church, We hope that we can count on your support … by sharing these 95 LDS Theses and our event through social media and/or posting them on the door of your local LDS Church building.
So, if you have your own set of 95 Theses that you prefer, or if you prefer the prior theses done in 2011. 2012, or February 2013, by all means use those instead. And, finally, if you’re a mainstream Protestant Christian that would prefer to nudge the reformation of the Mormon Church more in your direction you might want to consider using this 2014 edition that was compiled and used by a Utah based Presbyterian church that year.
But whatever you do, please join us in making your voice heard on Mormon Reformation Day this coming October 31st by posting something.
Q: Thanks for clarifying, but I would prefer to focus more on the cover-up of historical issues by the modern LDS Church than the current 95 LDS Theses do.
A: If that’s the case, use the February 2013 version instead – it’s primary focus is on that issue.
Q: What if I decide to door post, arrive at an LDS Church building and someone has already posted there?
A: Post a second set – the more the merrier!
After all, having a multitude of copies demonstrates strength in numbers doesn’t it?
Q: Is between 12:00AM – 11:59PM on October 31st the only time when we can post the 95 LDS Theses online and on the doors of LDS Church buildings?
A: For the sake of making a powerful, cohesive group statement we would ask that you wait until then to post.
However, after 12:00AM October 31st local time you can post the 95 LDS Theses whenever it suits you. And if that means that the same building gets posted to multiple times throughout the year, so much the better.
Q: What if the first person who arrives at a building that’s been door posted just tears down the paper 95 LDS Theses without even reading them?
A: Actually we kind of expect that since that’s what we’ve seen in past door posting campaigns.
The fact of the matter is that the power of these protests is in the act itself. That said, we noticed that door postings on secondary (rather than main entrances) to LDS Church buildings tended to stay up longer – often days, even weeks in some cases. Don’t forget about those secondary entrances – they count too and they may be your biggest door posting ally.
Further, they can’t tear down the multitude of Internet cross posts or all the link references to this website embedded all over cyberspace. If they tear a paper copy down it’s still a win and, further, by behaving in this way they’ve just proved the following thesis:
81. It [The LDS Church] requires members to remain in a “snapped” psychological state in order to remain believing members. For example, when members encounter troubling facts about Mormon History and/or doctrine they’re either told to pray about it or “put it on the shelf”. This is called “Thought Stopping” and it’s a technique that Mind Control Cults use to avoid the rigors of logic, reason, and uncomfortable realities.
“On December 30, 1856, the entire all-Mormon Utah territorial legislature was rebaptized for the remission of their sins, and confirmed under the hands of the Twelve Apostles. As time went on, however, the sermons became excessive and intolerant, and invoked threats of hellfire and damnation to motivate members.
To encourage reformation, certain adjunct theocratic committees may have attempted to ensure order and conformity by censuring local troublemakers. Dissident Mormons of the time reported rumors that committees resorted to summary judgments with punishments meted out by enforcers colloquially termed “Danites” or “destroying angels”. For example, the southern Utah pioneer and militia scout of the time, John Chatterley, later wrote that he had received threats from “secret Committee, called … ‘destroying angels'” in late 1856 and early 1857. Commentators have pointed to pronouncements during this period by Young and Grant which would seem to give vigilante-style bloodshed a religious basis. Young denied that any such acts were condoned by him or the church leadership. In a speech in 1867 Young said:
Is there war in our religion? No; neither war nor bloodshed. Yet our enemies cry out “bloodshed,” and “oh, what dreadful men these Mormons are, and those Danites! how they slay and kill!” Such is all nonsense and folly in the extreme. The wicked slay the wicked, and they will lay it on the Saints.
The article later explains:
“As in similar Protestant reformation movements, the enormous enthusiasm and dramatic signs of repentance could not be sustained. By the spring of 1857, with the return of more familiar spring rains, the religious life of Mormon communities returned to a more normal pattern. The Reformation appears to have burned out completely by early 1858.”
Exhibit A for the fact that this was an inquisition not a reformation can actually be found in thesis #89 of our 95 LDS Theses which contains a link to Brigham Young’s “worthiness” interview questions which includes this one:
“15. Do you speak against your brethren or against any principle taught us in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Book of Doctrine & Covenants, revelations given through Joseph Smith the prophet and the Presidency of the Church as now organized?”
Exhibit B would be the doctrine of Blood Atonement which was introduced during this period . Again, from the same Wikipedia article:
“Several sermons Willard Richards and George A. Smith had given earlier in the history of the LDS Church had touched on the concept of blood atonement, suggesting that apostates and those who committed certain other denounced sins, such as murder, were beyond the saving power of the blood of Christ and could be redeemed only by the voluntary shedding of their own blood.”
And last, but not least, Exhibit C, it could be said, would be the murder of 120 innocent “gentiles” on September 11, 1857 by Latter-day Saints – that is, The Mountain Meadows Massacre. While it might be argued that the Mountain Meadows Massacre wasn’t truly a part of the 19th Century Mormon Reformation, the “culture of violence” (to use Will Bagley and D. Michael Quinn’s term for the prevailing Mormon culture of the time) that was flourishing due to 19th Century Mormon Reformation sermonizing and day-to-day practices certainly was.
So no, the 19th Century Mormon Reformation wasn’t, in fact, reformative at all. Rather, it was a dictatorial inquisition rooted in manipulative coercion and fueled by the church leadership’s desire for greater control over the membership.
(note all Wikipedia citations retrieved 09-07-2013)