About Mormon secrets, history, and social behavior - the fact and myth cheat sheet
This is part of the Mormon fact and myth cheat sheet on this website. The main list of Mormon facts and Myths can be found here. This section specifically discusses facts and myths about Mormons keeping secrets, hiding history, and other social behavior.
This is a compilation of facts and myths about Mormon beliefs compiled from comments and other resources. I add things to this list as I run into them so this list has more information on it than I have had time to write about in detail. Some of these can be uncommonly random.
Some of these comments may have been collected from someone that is trying to imply that Mormons won't tell you about these things. This is partially accurate simply because we don't actually believe in many of these things. On a similar note, I have pulled some of this information from several "campaigns" which claim that they just want to help us Mormons realize the error of our ways. However, most of these campaigns are not actually targeted to Mormons. They are targeted to those who are not Mormon and may be curious about what we really believe. In war and politics it is known as a "disinformation" campaign and it's used to keep other people in the dark or doubtful of factual information. If these campaigns were intended to target Mormons, they would talk to us directly, instead of referring to Mormons in the third person as "they," and they would use our real teachings to try and convince us of our error.
You may notice that after the first sentence, these descriptions are written in a way so that anyone can quote them if they need to. The disadvantage to this is that there are some things that get repeated in the explanations more than once. It should be noted that this site is not an official source for Mormon doctrine, so if you're going to quote from this site I would recommend that you point out the sources or link back to this page so readers can verify accurate sources for themselves. I have also bolded some things in each statement to help identify the key points.
Speaking of repeating stuff, this introduction is fairly standard on the other fact and myth pages so you can probably skip it on the next one without missing much.
Editing and referencing is still an ongoing process for this page.
About Mormon secrets, history, and social behavior
"Mormons are secretive":
This is false.
Mormons are the church that are so secretive that they just won't shut up about it. The LDS church has websites, facebook pages, twitter accounts, apps, chats, faqs, pass along cards and missionaries all spreading the gospel. Members have personally blogged, built web sites, talked to people, chatted, emailed, given out free Book of Mormons and shared resources to spread the gospel. Mormons place all of their teachings freely online. Want to know what they're teaching our elders? There's a lesson plan and all the material online. Want to see the missionary handbook? It's online. Want to know how to run and administer the church? It's online. Want to know every temple ordinance performed in the temple? It's online. Do you want to confirm that all the work and effort they go into creating those online manuals are actually used in their church and not some facade? Guess where your nearest meeting schedule is. It's online too, and every church says visitors are welcome. About the only thing that they don't talk about publicly are the specific words and symbols used in the temple ceremony that they consider sacred. They are not considered secret, but rather sacred. Tens of Millions of members have been through the temple since the church was founded in the latter days. It's hard to consider it a secret if they are going to tell it to every person that walks through the temple. Most of the claims that Mormons are secretive come from individuals who are also trying to convince you of something that Mormons don't really believe.
"Mormons hide their history":
This is false.
In order to hide Mormon history, Latter-day Saints put all of that sensitive information in their monthly church magazine, the Ensign. That's sure to keep it under wraps. Then on top of that, just to make sure they are extra thorough at hiding history, they have some big photographic archives stashed in the hiddenest parts of the internet where it is available only to those users who know how to use a web browser and a search engine. One such hidden place is the Joseph Smith Papers project. Let’s not forget about the other projects like the BYU Digital Collections that provide photographic documentation of the church history archives online. Who knew they were so good at hiding stuff?
"Mormons are taught to be judgmental":
This is false.
Mormons are taught that it is wrong to be judgmental. They are taught to love them that hate you, to lift up the downtrodden and be kind to all, whether they are Mormon or not. They are taught not to judge someone because they sin differently than they do, and not to judge someone because they are at a different place in their understanding of God than they are. There will always be variances of individual attitude within any demographic and not all Mormons are perfect. A minority few can give the rest a bad name in some instances, but most believe they will be held accountable for their actions and try not to be judgmental.
"Mormons believe it is ok to lie for the Lord":
This is false. See Are Mormons lying to you?
Mormons are taught that to love and live a lie is a cause for damnation. Mormons believe that this is a commandment that was so important, it was included in the Law of Moses. Any church that teaches its congregation that it is ok to lie for the Lord cannot be his church, as the Lord does not lie. Lying for the Lord has never been a part of the LDS gospel and there has never been any memo or teaching declaring it to be appropriate. This idea appears to originate from former members who claim to have served in positions of authority who have either been excommunicated from the church or who have asked to have their records removed from the church.
"Mormons use Christian terms to deceive people":
This is false.
Mormons use Christian terms like 'God', 'Jesus', 'Atonement', and 'salvation' because Latter-day Saints believe in God, Jesus, the Atonement, and salvation. Not because they are trying to be deceptive. This can be verified by reading the book that is the foundation of their belief, the Book of Mormon. This claim originates from the God Makers which is a publication and movie that was deemed as "sensationalism" and "offensive" by the National Conference for Christians and Jews; a group not affiliated with the LDS church.
"Mormons have a secret police who murder people who leave the fold":
This is false. Yeah, this was a new claim to me too.
If Mormons had a secret police that was supposed to 'take care' of members who leave the faith, then why are there so many ex-Mormons? Mormons believe that the only sin that is worse than murder is the denial of the Holy Ghost, and that requires greater knowledge of God then just faith in God. So they are not going to commit one of the most grievous sins in the book just because someone has some challenges to their faith.
"Mormons have a secret police who murder higher up people who leave the fold":
This is still false.
If Mormons had a secret police that was supposed to 'take care' of members who leave the faith, then why are there so many ex-Mormons? Some of them claim to have been fairly important too. Just look at William McLellin. He was ordained an elder in 1831. He was excommunicated for adultery in December of 1832. He was then repentant and rebaptized in 1833 and ordained as one of the twelve apostles in 1835. In 1838 he was excommunicated again for similar reasons. He lived an additional 45 years outside of the LDS church from that point. At one point he ransacked Joseph Smiths home and on another occasion offered to whip him, yet was never taken out by the fictional Mormon police. The closest thing the LDS church has to a secret police force is a bunch of guys who work security at the conference center during General Conference.
"The Mormon church banned the God makers video":
This is false.
The Mormon church cannot ban media. Evidence of this can be seen all over YouTube. This is a marketing tactic of the God makers to get more viewers to watch the 'forbidden' movie. Remember, this is also the group that, when the LDS church wouldn't sue them, decided to sue the LDS church instead for stating that the movie was not accurate.
The LDS church limits media used in Sunday church services to media provided by the church unless otherwise approved. Most additional media is protected by copyright and cannot be used in a group setting anyway. The God Makers is a publication and movie that was deemed as "sensationalism" and "offensive" by the National Conference for Christians and Jews; a group not affiliated with the LDS church who was also listed in the suit.