Mormons: was the LDS Church treated fairly in the PBS special?


Was the history accurate?


Did you notice that all of our Mormon friends disappeared at about the same time? We had Alma147 and Montague engaged, and suddenly they were gone. And this was just prior to the PBS program. Very strange.


I feel left out, I missed this PBS show and I dont know if I will be able to see it. What was this PBS special about?..all of the sudden Catholics started talking about it as if it was worthy of discussion.


I couldn’t see it all either, and was wondering if Mormons could tell me if PBS gave a fair shake to their religion. If not, then I won’t trouble myself when the show repeats.

I was really impressed with the post-polygomy Mormon families featured.

I’m still waiting on a Mormon response, though.




I missed the first night because I tossed out my TV about a week before the program and forgot all about it being on. Second night I watched it at a friend’s house. Then I watched the first part on the PBS web site. You may still be able to access it there.


Disclaimer: I was raised Mormon, and in fact am still active in the LDS church, even though I am in the process of becoming Catholic.

The PBS special was decent, I suppose. It’s much more accurate than the one they did on the Mormons several years ago.

You have to understand that while there was still a lot of disinformation, PBS wasn’t setting out to talk about the history and development of Mormonism nearly as much as they were trying to explain how the LDS Church got to where it is today, and much of that is subjective. (On a side note, although the LDS church is the largest, it is only one of 100+ denominations within the Mormon religion/movement began by Joseph Smith) So while I think the PBS special is probably a more accurate introduction to Mormonism than what you will hear from the missionaries or church propagandists, there were still many important details left out if you wanted to understand Mormonism as a religion and a culture.

If you have specific questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. (I’ll even suspend my disbelief and give the “official” answers alongside the truth ;))


This is a theological question. How do the LDS view the Holy Spirit given that it doesnt have a human body? God the Father and Son BOTH have human bodies according to the LDS.


Two questions: You mentioned 100+ denominations within the Mormon church. Can you describe the different denominations, please?

Second question: How are you managing to become Catholic (YAYYYYY!!!) while still being an active LDS member?

God Bless your journey home! :heart:


Seriously, what IS up with the disappearing Mormon trick? I really enjoyed reading the perspectives, even if I do pray for their conversion.

I am glad to be sharing the journey home with you. I am leaving the Methodist church to come Home, and I am so sure that this is right. Welcome!


The current teaching is that the Holy Ghost is the comforter, the warner, etc. The Holy Ghost gives people “the burning in the bosom” that confirms the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the LDS church. When Mormons are baptized and then confirmed (understand that “confirmation” is totally different in Mormonism than in Catholicism), they are given the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This is one of those thorny issues, though. As the views of Joseph Smith (and his successors) began to shift, so did the nature of God. The doctrine on the Holy Spirit–>Ghost is one of the many casualties of an ever-evolving religion.

In the Book of Mormon, for example, there is a sermon about the Trinity.

In another part, the Book of Mormon God is taught as being simply “the Great Spirit.”

Later, Joseph Smith would issue the Lectures on Faith, in which he taught that there was One God, but two persons: the Father (“a personage of spirit, glory, and power”) and the Son (“a personage of tabernacle…like unto man”). The Holy Spirit, it was then taught, was the “same mind” of the Father and the Son that kept them in unity.

The Lectures on Faith, BTW, used to be scripture until around 1920, at which time it was decanonized. If you hear Mormons talk about the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) as one of their books of scripture, here’s a bit of trivia: The D&C was originally known as the Book of Commandments until the Lectures of Faith were included. The Lectures formed the “Doctrine” part of the D&C. Now that they have been removed, the D&C should really be renamed the “Covenants” or return to its original name of The Book of Commandments.


Does properly interpreted (current, official) Mormonism bring with it a superior (or different) set of moral values than other major religions (even non-Christian religions)?


Apparantly the whole 4-hour programme can be viewed on the PBS website


Well I am a Mormon that is still here, but have not posted much at all, due to lack of energy over the years, and that has made me an inactive Mormon. Being inactive in the Mormon church I found alot of issues in the online version of the PBS special I did not know, like the MMM (Moutain Meadows Massacre).

I have holdouts to the Mormon church, due to 25 years of Near Death Experience studies, like having lived as spirit prior to obtaining a body on Earth. One thing I always was uncomfortable with in the Mormon church was that they kinda say that GOD the Father is **stuck with a body, **but I have for many years thought that the Father and Jesus Christ can appear in any form they wished, since they are beyond human comprehension. So I feel a little confined by the concept of the christian Trinitarian formula.

I concider myself a Mormon Christian even though there is a lack of worship within the sacrament meetings, as compared with the Catholic Mass.


Over the course of Mormonism’s history, it’s true that there have been many different denominations. Currently, I believe there are about 150, but some are quite small (as in, single congregations, or restricted to a small geographic area).

The first Mormon church was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, and it was simply called the Church of Christ. At this stage, I would not say that Mormonism as we now understand it had come into existance. Joseph Smith originally taught a unique version of Protestantism–nothing too shocking. (The Book of Mormon itself is predominantly Protestant.)

The new church exploded in growth, and as it did, Smith became more and more powerful. When the inevitable crises emerged, Smith began to make his claims even more and more fantastic in order to consolidate his leadership. As he did, Mormonism began to emerge.

Although schisms began very early in his career, none of them of which I am aware, have survived to this day. Any church today that pays tribute to Joseph Smith did not arise until after his assassination, including the prominent LDS Church in Salt Lake City. The original church founded by Smith went out of existence shortly after his death.

While this topic remains unclear and controversial, it appears that Smith told several people that they were to be his successor as prophet-president of the church after his death. Many more people claimed this position than Smith had actually appointed, but this included at least the following: Hyrum Smith (his brother, murdered at the same time as Joseph), Joseph Smith III (his son), James Strang (endorsed by most of Smith’s family until JS3 came of age). Others prominent church leaders who claim to have received Smith’s endorsement included Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon, although these are unlikely.

It is at this point that *Smith’s *church ceased to exist (and I emphasize that it was Smith’s church). From here, most Mormon denominations can now be traced back to two main branches. Both branches survive to this day and they are the two most successful Mormon denominations as well: Brigham Young’s church (the largest and most successful by far–now headquarted in Salt Lake City); James Strang/Joseph Smith III’s church (the second largest–headquartered in Independence, Missouri).

Since the establishment of these two major branches, there has been additional fracturing. Brigham Young’s LDS church saw its greatest fracture over the issue of polygamy, when the mainstream church outlawed the practice. The Mormons who continue the practice today mostly belong to the sect now known as the Fundamentalist Mormons or the FLDS Church. The FLDS remain more faithful to the teaching of Brigham Young than the mainstream church. There have been many other fractures since, but because of better organization and consistency, these fractures have been quite small. The mainstream LDS Church claims nearly 13 million members, however the actual figure is most likely less than half that. The FLDS Church claims between 40,000-80,000 members.

James Strang’s church was largely abondoned after his assassination and its members united under the leadership of Joseph Smith III in 1860, when he became old enough to assume the presidency of the church. They called themselves the Reorganized LDS Church until 2001, at which point they were renamed the Community of Christ. At its greatest, some estimates have put the RLDS membership at about 1.5 million members. However, due to a variety of reasons, that number is now down to under 250,000. These reasons include an extremely liberal leadership (ordination of women, affirmation of homosexuality), openness about Mormonism’s true history beginning around the 1960s, rapid revision of core doctrines, and overall poor leadership.

Second question: How are you managing to become Catholic (YAYYYYY!!!) while still being an active LDS member?

God Bless your journey home! :heart:

I continue to be active in my LDS church, largely for social and family reasons. Also, I am involved in community volunteerism through my LDS church. I disagree with the beliefs of the church, but it’s still very much a part of my culture, and I am very comfortable as a Mormon.

I am also active in my Catholic parish, where I attend Mass each week and am becoming involved in some social groups there as well. I hope to be fully initiated someday, (sooner than later would be nice) :slight_smile:


That entirely depends on the religion you’re talking about. Islam, for example, mandates that its followers murder anyone who refuses to submit to Mohammad’s god.

Does Mormonism offer a superior set of moral values than Catholicism? That’s for you to decide. The LDS Church has no consistent measure for morality, which makes the leadership suspicious when they talk about moral truths. For example, monogamy used to be considered immoral by the church because it was a perversion of God’s intended purpose for marriages: that they be polygamous. Fortunately the LDS Church has moved in the right direction on this issue. However, over the past twenty years, the LDS Church has gone from prohibiting abortion in all cases, to making it always acceptable when the child was conceived in an instance of rape or incest, and almost whenever else, so long as you can make the case that “the health of the mother is at risk.” Birth control used to be bad, now it’s okay. Homosexuality used to be bad, and still is, but ask me again in 10 years.


The Community of Christ remains. They are the branch of Mormons that believe Joseph Smith Jr to be the Prophet while the group in Salt Lake followed BY. They are Trinitarians and basically Evangelical Protestants.


The Community of Christ is not the same church as the one founded by Joseph Smith. His church died when he died. The RLDS Church would not come into existence for another 15 years.

ALL Mormons believe Joseph Smith to be the prophet. What sets the factions apart is who they believe his successor to be. The LDS Mormons followed Brigham Young, whereas the RLDS Mormons (now the Community of Christ) followed Joseph Smith III.

They are Trinitarians and basically Evangelical Protestants

-]The Community of Christ is not Trinitarian, strictly speaking. They have opened up to that interpretation, but there has yet to be a definitive statement that the belief is now Trinitarian. If you read their statement of beliefs, you’ll see that they have deliberately left that area ambiguous./-]

Well, I’ll be darned! They finally took a firm stance on this–good for them. I was about to link to their website to make my point, but then I saw that they finally changed it! :slight_smile: To my credit, it was not like that two weeks ago.

-]Also, the Community of Christ is far from being Evangelical, or even Protestant, more broadly./-]

Again, see notes above… :confused:

I’m going to have to relearn the Community of Christ beliefs all over again. They keep changing so quickly!


The Community of Christ could end up being similar to the Worldwide Church of God in becoming mainline Protestant and just disappearing into the mix. As you pointed out earlier, their numbers are falling fast, just like the WWCG was after the successor to Herbert Armstrong turned it mainstream.

We had a guy here a couple of months ago who gave a lot of info on the the Community of Christ, saying that they have a lot of evidence that Joseph Smith never taught or favored polygamy, but that polyamy was something that came up from his followers, and that he tried fruitlessly to stop it.


Hi GIMJ ~ Meaning no disrespect, but I find this odd. How can you be an active Mormon and a practicing Catholic? Is it fair to say that the Mormon church is merely a social club for you? If not, what is it? It does not appear to be a religion for you.

And when you say (in a later post) that you are on the path to becoming a full Catholic, which will, for you, most likely involve Baptism (since the RCC doesn’t accept Mormon baptism) and subsequent Confirmation, I just have to ask ~

  1. Will you continue to be an “active Mormon” ~ however you regard that ~ after you are Confirmed as a Catholic? and
  2. Regardless of your answer to #1, will you, either before, or upon your Confirmation as a Catholic, remove your name from the records of the LDS church? If not, why not?
  3. Last, have you discussed this dual-practice with a Catholic priest (or for that matter, with a Mormon bishop)? If so, what was the result? If you did have such a discussion, did the Catholic priest think your remaining an “active Mormon” was a good idea? Did you ask him about removing/leaving your name from the records of the LDS church? If so, what did he recommend? And if you had no such discussion, why not?

Living in Southern California, I have a lot of friends who are Mormon. When asked, I am happy to help them with various activities, because they ask, and because they find my skills helpful, and I am happy to help. But that’s the end of it, I don’t go to church with them. I don’t understand how someone can be a Mormon and a Catholic at the same time since, as you well know, they have fundamentally different belief systems.


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