Posted by: Jay | August 29, 2007

A Quiz for LDS members.

When I lived in Las Vegas I was the Ward Mission Leader. I had this great idea to go around to the members and do interview with them about why they joined the LDS Church. Since my introduction to a more complete history of the LDS Church I have wanted to do the same thing (although now I’m not in a position to do it), except this time I would like to know how much of the controversial aspects of LDS history members know. The quiz would include several of the questions below.

1.) Who was the first prophet to live polygamy?

2.) How many wives did he have?

3.) Have any prophets lived polyandry?

4.) Have any past prophets or leaders repeatedly made racist statements without being removed?

5.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that blacks today are descendents of Cain or Ham?

6.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence?

7.) Why do some Christian Churches refer to Mormons as a cult?

8.) Is it doctrine of the LDS Church that evolution is wrong?

9.) Is the account of the first vision given in the Pearl of Great Price the first account Joseph Smith gave?

10.) What is the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

11.) Is caffeine the reason why Mormons don’t drink coffee and tea?

12.) Should LDS members always obey their leaders?

13.) How did Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon?

14.) Were all the papyri Joseph Smith translated destroyed in the Chicago fire?

15.) Do Egyptologists agree with Joseph Smith’s translations of the Egyptian papyri, that we know as the Pearl of Great Price?

16.) Is the history of the LDS Church that we learn in church and Institute classes a representative account of what happened?

17.) Have you ever heard of the Spalding manuscript?

18.) Did Joseph Smith ever get paid to look for treasure by using a peep stone?

19.) Do you think a Prophet is infallible? Can he make mistakes in what he states and in his personal life?

I’m sure there are other questions that I would like to ask. I would be very curious to see if LDS members knew the answers to these questions and if so what percentage. My guess is that a few will have heard of some of them, but will be unaware of any details. I tried to make the questions as non-leading as possible. Thus I asked, “Who was the first prophet to live polygamy?” instead of “Did Joseph Smith live polygamy?”. I think that as latter-day saints we should know more about our history than non-LDS Christians. What other questions should be added? Did you know the answers (answer this especially if you are an active LDS member)?


1.) Joseph Smith
2.) Some where between 20-33
3.) Yes, Joseph Smith did.
4.) Yes, there are several Apostles and Prophets especially in the 19th century church. The most notable was Brigham Young.
5.) No, this was never doctrine of the Church. In my opinion it was based on racist ideology brought from other protestant traditions of the time and applied to the priesthood in the LDS Church.
6.) No, although many members still believe this. If you do some research you find it was never doctrine.
7.) LDS beliefs vary dramatically from orthodox Christian teachings. The LDS rejection of the Trinity is one of the main reasons some Christian churches refer to Mormons as a cult.
8.) See answer 6
9.) No, there are at least 7 different accounts of the first vision. The current account in the PofGP was dictated by Joseph Smith and is the last one he gives before his death, the earliest account that Joseph wrote in his own hand was in 1832, 12 years after the vision.
10.) A horrific event on Sept. 11, 1857 in which LDS members murdered a large number of defenseless people traveling through Southern Utah from Arkansas.
11.) No, if this were true anything with caffeine would be ban.
12.) No, read up on Mountain Meadow Massacre.
13.) At least two ways, he used a seer stone placed in a hat and the Urim and Thumim.
14.) No, the church owns some fragments that contain at least one of the facsimiles found in the PofGP.
15.) No, they don’t agree with his translation. There are several LDS defenses to this problem.
16.) No, it is a general and faith promoting overview of LDS history. There are many things that members might find troubling if they knew all the details of LDS history.
17.) This is a story that has some parallels with the Book of Mormon that some detractors say Joseph Smith copied or used parts of to write the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith may have had access to it.
18.) Yes, he did.
19.) No, only Jesus was perfect. Yes, very few prophets haven’t.


  1. You misplaced answers 7 and 8.
    #6 Some so believed and never stated as true doctrine, introduced by Orson Pratt.
    # 8 is true, given by a Oficcial Declaration when the theory was a hot talk.
    #13: The Urim and Tummin was a name for both the nephites spectacles and the seer stone, the spectacles were used to translate the 116 missed pages thats the story is taught but they were taken for Moroni, then the seer stone was used for the current book, according to witneses. But those account still are differents, per say the hat account said the stone shined showing the scripture, Joseph will read to the writer and this will said “done”, if it wasn’t done right then the scripture will stay until corrected, if that is so, then why the BoM was revised by Joseph? I think the only correct answer is the same given by Jospeh: Its not the intention to give a detailof how the book was translated, but say by the gift and power of God. In others words: NOBODY KNOWS.

    #14 Even the book of Joseph in Egypt was destroyed and never translated, even when it was bought at the same time with the Abraham papiri.

    #15 They dont agree saying it actually is the Book of Death, BUT some of they encounter odd things to be just a Book of Death. Leaving open door to mormons theories.

    #16 The church doesnt teachs factual or historical accounts, Institute and Seminary are religious education, but Mormons can read historical facts everywhere else (History of the Church in the fulfillment of all the times dispensations is the most factual a church manual had reached)

    #17 If the BoM is plagiarism then why the great deal with the translation process? See #13

    #18 The saturn (?) stone I think it was called, and without it too. In Teachings of JS is his own statement as a Treasure Hunter, but never was lucrative.

  2. edain,
    Thank you for the correction on 7 and 8.

    #6 Some so believed and never stated as true doctrine, introduced by Orson Pratt.

    The earliest account I have found was by Orson Hyde in 1845.

    # 8 is true, given by a Oficcial Declaration when the theory was a hot talk.

    Evolution was a hot topic especially in the early 20th century. Many general authorities argued back and forth about it. However, all the official statements by the first presidency say that the Church has no position for or against. So LDS members are free to believe what they choose.

    #13: The Urim and Tummin was a name for both the nephites spectacles and the seer stone

    Maybe so, but they were two different objects that Joseph used. One was just a stone the other had a breastplate and glasses.

    #15 They dont agree saying it actually is the Book of Death, BUT some of they encounter odd things to be just a Book of Death. Leaving open door to mormons theories.

    The only Egyptologists that I’ve heard don’t agree are members of the LDS faith. If there are others please let us know. I would be interested in reading how they interpret the facsimilies and what problems they see with them.

    #16 …History of the Church in the fulfillment of all the times dispensations is the most factual a church manual had reached)

    Much more information has been brought to light since the printing of History of the Church. I wish the Church would teach factual accounts in Institute and Seminary. I think it is important that member be aware that there are sticky issues with our history. How else can they have an intellegent conversation with someone that knows about them?

    #17 If the BoM is plagiarism then why the great deal with the translation process? See #13

    Just playing devil’s advocate here, but you could just say he was putting on a show so people wouldn’t think he was making it up.

    #18 In Teachings of JS is his own statement as a Treasure Hunter, but never was lucrative.

    The fact that it was never lucrative is not the issue. Personally, this is a non-issue. However, some detractors point to it as showing how Joseph tried to swindle people out of money for his “work” as a seer of treasure or that it shows his involvement with magical powers that come from Satan. I don’t think anyone claims he got rich off of people, only that he tried.

    Thanks for your added notes. How many members do you think could answer the questions as completely as you did?

    Also, how did you learn about these things? Where did you get the information?

  3. Actually I blame my seminary teacher, he he, she was a returned missionary and explained well detailed the facts, usually to help us to enhance our testimony (for example, she taught about poligamy and then the homework was to ask God for testimony about that) a really good teacher that just increased our search for all things, keeping the good ones. So with the internet available, I was aware of all the anti-mormon claims, and start to wonder why they “made up” all those things, then read the church documentation and happened that there it was, a lot of information never given before.

    I have seen many members that have in their libraries for example “Journal of Discourses” but never wonder about the polygamy, god-adam issue, blood atonement, priesthood, the church of the first born, the second anointment, the moon-men, etc etc.

    I cant say how many members know these things, from the ward I grew up, no many at all. Friends of mine that were institute teachers, an ex mission companion, a couple members that came to me asking if I ever heard of some topic that an anti-mormon told them about. No one else. Just internet people, In my enviroment.

  4. Jay, you say that some of the statements are not doctrine. I have to respectfully disagree. When I was baptized as a youth convert, the things I was taught by the missionaries would have led me to answer all of those questions incorrectly. If I was taught that blacks were descendants of Cain and that Blacks were less valiant in the pre-existence, by Missionaries, this must have been doctrine as it was obviously in the church discussions. Keep in mind that I was taught the discussions in 1977-78. The ban was lifted in 1979.

    I was taught that BY was the first prophet to participate in polygamy. I was taught that caffiene was the main reason tea and coffee was banned and that is why coke was banned too.

    In addition to your questions, I was taught that Quetzaquatl was a legend about a white God that visited ancient America. Not only was I shown an official church filmstrip on this, I showed the same filmstrip while on my mission as well.

    I was taught all these things that would have led me to fail your test miserably by representatives of the LDS church. I was taught these things from official church discussions and filmstrips.

    That makes it doctrine.

    People can backpeddle all they want now, but I know what I was taught and how it was taught to me.

    The black issue is still clear as a bell to me since I grew up in a predominately black city and went to predominately black schools (I am white BTW) and there was an entire discussion dedicated to that subject.

  5. With this post, I hereby wipe all pre-Bishop Rick comments from the Recent Comments section.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  6. he he he…
    When I was a mission I start to teach what I tought it was the doctrine too until I fund out that I should teach what the discussion say.

    Then I learned that is not a law for a lot of things:
    – Dress white shirt and tie
    – Its forbidden wath Tv on sundays
    – Take the sacrament with the left hand
    – McConkie’s writtings arent doctrine
    – The church magazine First Presidence’s month message is not given for the members for that month rather just a selected address. Usually are from years ago.
    – Caffeine is not the reason of the WoW.
    – The problematic inside the church about the black race.
    – The infallibility of the profets
    – That if bread of water aren’t available you can use soda and cockies.
    – etc.

    I think that because before 1986 (?) there was not prepared discussions with visual aids approved for the First Presidency, the missions adopted what they have at hand. I have a couple friends that served before I born, 70’s early 80’s and that was their answers. There was not MTC for all of them, sometimes the calling arrived couple months after they were in the streets preaching. (This was the case of some countries in Sudamerica). I havent met an African-American Mormon that is member before that time to ask some questions. But untill I know still was an issue of discussion. And the different arguments in pro or contrary to that is at hand.

    That someting was preached for the liders and missionaries and is stuck in the members minds doesnt make it doctrine. Lame ecuse but is what happend.

    So in the future if evolution is proved as true, the church will have the right to said it wasn’t its doctrine, or when in the future the gay are proved to be born that way or accepted its matrimony as part of the society and every slide of denying their right is disapproved, the church can say it was never the doctrine. 😀

  7. I would add to the rejection of the Trinity, the belief that a man can be exalted into a God. Exaltation is far more offensive to Classical Christians than a rejection of the Trinity.

    Have you given your wife the survey?

  8. Why do you want to follow a church that teaches like this? This is not the salvation Jesus offers!

  9. Many things about the LDS faith make sense. It’s hard to give that up when other Christian faiths teach things that so obviously don’t make sense (i.e. Trinity). I don’t believe that God is as mystical or mysterious as the many creeds imply. The LDS concept of God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost, seems to fit much better with the Bible than a traditional belief in the Trinity (IMO).

  10. amazing! As a person that had family at the Mt. Medows event, and having read the journal accounts of someof the people I want to add my 2 cents! These were people that had been forced from thier homes, had had thier women raped and abused, children murdered and women that were alone becasueof the evil that had happened to them. Then HERE COMES a group bragging and talking about what they had done— I guess today we would have called it PTSS. I doubt that I could have let all my emotions be hidden. So those few tok revenge- it wasn’t the entire church and it wasn’t supported by the leadership. But it was this one group. So I guess my question is– would you have let some evil come at you and having stood up to it and given and sacrificed your all been politically correct and passive and said its alright to brag and mock and expect no retaliation? Not a chance- if it were my children they had mistreated nor myself.
    As for te issue of the Blacks with in the church. I believe that it was Bruce R McConkie, that made a big deal of this issue and the 1st Presidency were strong about the fact that it was his thoughts and not thiers. The church histroy states clearly that the Priesthood was given to many before the Lord required a stoip of it. What I do know from the writtings of Joseph F. Smith, Spencer W. Kimball, David O. McKay, is that the mark of Cain, was a shield and a protection to the flineage of Cain. That the curse was te denial of the Priesthood. It was more of a condemnation of the men that were able to recieve it and to work in behalf of God, the Father. To thier condemnation if they screwed it up, took it lightlyy, and were using unrighteous dominion. When the Priesthood was given to all men no matter the lineage and all families were able tobe joined for all eternity – it meant that the condemnation of the “white race” was compete and that now the blacks that had been so protected were to help to lead the children of God to Heaven.
    Still researching my topic of September 11th. I fighure that its got to be there some were and will find it.

  11. Sorry for all the misspellings in the prior post, I didn’t bother to proof read any of it. But doubt that grammer is as important as respect and communication.

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