My extended family is Mormon and I lived in a largely mormon community
(Idaho Falls, Idaho) for 6 years. My family left the LDS church when
I was in kindergarten at about the time my father received a "Temple
divorce" (the compliment to the widely publicized "Temple marriage",
an interesting story in itself).
More to the point of veracity, President George Q. Cannon, my great
grandfather's brother erroneously predicted in 1895 that blacks would
would never be admitted to the priesthood. Blacks were admitted in
approximately 1978. I read the quote in an ad in the Salt Lake City
paper run by an underground group which opposed admitting blacks.
I affirm the difficulty of conducting a rational discussion with
mormons. Don't bother with mormon missionaries unless you just want to
The best book I found was an old IVP book titled "The Mormon Papers"
published in about 1976 by Harry Roper (I am uncertain of the first
name). He died at about the time it was published, I believe there was
a sequel with a different author (can anyone help?)
Of the materials I read it stood alone as a positive helpful book. He
loved and worked with mormons, and that showed in the book through an
irenic tone and chapters on how to talk effectively to mormons
(basically you need to use the Book of Mormon--being incoherent it has
passages that contradict mormon doctrine and support Christian doctrine).
Other books seemed to be more interested in proving, sometimes with dubious
hermeneutics, why Mormons were going to Hell than in lovingly engaging
A second useful resource is the book, "No Man Knows My History" a
biography of Joseph Smith (I forget the author). I did not read it,
but my impression from talking to reliable friends was that he is
documented as being pretty human to state it positively. The story
around my town was that Mormon's kept these continually checked out of
the libraries. I do not know if this was true, but it may take some
work to find it.
There used to be some former Mormons who ran a binder-type publishing
operation out of their garage documenting deceipts related to the LDS
church. I will check with some of my friends to see what more I can
Joel W. Cannon
Dept. of Physics
Centenary College of Louisiana
P. O. Box 41188
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188