I became LDS for most of the same reasons that evanfaust has listed: I was attracted by the beliefs on prophets, apostles, continuing revelation, temples, salvation of infants, a seemingly simpler understanding of the Godhead/Trinity, etc. This is what I call the “facade” of Mormonism. It looks nice on the outside. However, once you go deeper, things stop making sense, and are more convoluted than they appear. One of my friends that is still active LDS told me that she doesn’t want to go “deeper”, and just prefers the basics, since she knows things get murky.
For example, the LDS prophets don’t prophesy. They don’t do anything differently than the leaders of other religions. They don’t speak of visions or Heavenly visitations. If someone asks about that, they’re told “well, that’s too sacred”. Gone are the days where Joseph Smith and others openly talked about purported Heavenly manifestations. Instead, General Conference is just more of the same, over and over. The 15 LDS prophets, seers, and revelators simply don’t act like the Biblical prophets, let alone like Joseph Smith.
The priesthood and temple ban on blacks was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had put it up on the mental shelf for some time. It just makes no sense, within the grand scheme of Jesus Christ coming for all people, opening the Truth to all, hence why He told the apostles to go to all nations. Then along comes the LDS Church, which claimed that the full blessings of Christ’s Gospel were not available to part of humanity. Now, I would say things like “oh, during OT times, the priesthood was limited to a particular lineage”, but this was just a deflection, since again, it didn’t comport with what Jesus Christ came to earth specifically to do. The LDS priesthood and temple restriction seems to want to harken back to pre-Jesus times, and reverse what He came to do. And the fact that they don’t have a revelation that started the restriction, and claim that they don’t know how or why it started, just causes even further doubt on their prophets.
I decided to read various articles and books from LDS apologetic sources, in the hopes of finding answers. But it was these resources that confirmed to me that the LDS Church really wasn’t what it claimed to be. First and foremost, none of the Biblical references brought up as evidences for a predicted total apostasy of Christ’s Church didn’t prove it. Instead, they point to either partial apostasies of people, or something unrelated. None teach a total loss of Christ’s Kingdom from the earth. Secondly, LDS apologetics on finding Mormonism in ancient Christianity are a hodge podge of proof-texts, pulled from here and there. There simply is no Church of Jesus Christ of Former-day Saints with the supposedly “restored” beliefs of Mormonism. We see this in this very thread, with Gnostic references that have nothing to do with what was being done in the Jerusalem Temple(s). When looking for a historical restoration of an ancient Christian Church that was lost, there simply is no such Church. Instead, we find distinctly Catholic/Orthodox beliefs and practices, none of which were lost (including deification/theosis).
So, I think that many of us were attracted to the surface appeal of Mormonism. A “restoration” can also be appealing when confronted with troubling issues in Christian history. However, I don’t think that history vindicates Mormonism. Rather, it vindicates Catholic/Orthodox Christianity.