What is the Great Destroyer of Mormon Faith?

Hardly a week goes by without hearing of another church member losing their faith. There is even a lawyer who, for no legal fee, will help members remove their names from church records. He may even think of himself as a good Samaritan.

“The internet era is taking a toll on the faith of many church members”. This is a frequent explanation for what’s happening. Meanwhile, the Tribune and Mormon Stories increase revenue with each account of lost faith they publish.

Question: is the internet really the primary cause for loss of faith? Or is there something else at the heart of the internet generation’s dissent? I think there is.

Here’s how I see it. The Lord set up a way for his people to acquire a testimony. This is taught in Moroni 10:4-5. Those who have paid the price to gain a testimony in the Lord’s way are not the one’s dissenting from the church. They have built their faith on the rock of their redeemer (Helaman 5:12).

Students of the scriptures know the Lord permits trials of faith to come to his people. I’ve experienced these trials and know by my own experience what it is like. I am also well versed in the trials related to the internet. Starting in 2007, I began to study the content of sites that cover the troubling issues of Mormon history and doctrine. I’ve read scores of exit testimonies of church members and know about the issues that caused the excommunication of prominent intellectual dissidents. I’ve read their blogs and publications.

Am I troubled or concerned by the things I’ve learned? Yes, a rational person couldn’t help but be troubled. I am troubled and concerned, but the testimony the Lord gave me has not diminished.

The God revealed in the Book of Mormon and other scripture declares he will have a tried people. Students of the Book of Mormon understand God will both chasten and try the patience and faith of his people (Mosiah 23:21).  The trials the Lord permits his people to experience are real. Anything short of a God given testimony won’t do. Those who don’t have a God given testimony are not going to stand strong if they rely exclusively on the testimonies of their parents, loved ones, or church leaders.

Back to the question: is the internet really the primary cause for loss of faith? No, not based on what I know from scripture. The content on the internet is a secondary problem, the primary problem is taught in the Book of Mormon. One example:

The Lord’s people “forget the Lord their God…because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity“. Prosperity is the greatest destroyer of faith. It is human nature to be “slothful because of the easiness of the way“.

Harold B. Lee said:

Today are we suffering the greatest of all the tests and temptations that have ever been given? The test of gold and affluence and ease, the like of which no people of any generation have ever experienced.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.329)

Prosperity can rob people of their spiritual initiative, and strength, while poverty and hardship can open the doors to heavens blessings. The Nephite cycle of being prospered when they kept the commandments, and being cut off from the Lord’s presence because of iniquity is repeated over and over in the pages of the Book of Mormon. The lesson taught is that prosperity can draw the Lord’s people into the arms of pride and harden their hearts towards God, while hardship can humble his followers and open their hearts to God.


We live in prosperous times. The availability of goods and services in America and many other countries is a measure of God’s blessings. In recent years, it has also become evident that America and other prosperous countries are moving away from God. We will be cut off from his presence as we do, resulting in the loss of blessings.

I believe the Lord intends to try his people’s faith to prepare them for the second coming of Christ. All the troubling aspects of church history and doctrine found on the internet are ways faith is being tried. I believe he is using these things for his purposes.  

In our day of prosperity, as a church are we witnessing the early stages of a decrease in faith and righteousness because of the wickedness of the rising generation (3 Nephi 1:30)? Time will tell.

In our day of prosperity, as a nation, are we witnessing the early stages of God’s judgments coming on us as we forget him?

I hope we will return to our spiritual senses as a church and nation and cease to harden our hearts towards God. Otherwise, we will bring God’s judgments on ourselves.

Additional post related to this topic:

Thinking More Deeply About “Opposition in All things” 

Are We Living in the Day Prophesied by Heber C. Kimball?

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10 Responses to What is the Great Destroyer of Mormon Faith?

  1. Mark N. says:

    I think that the Boomers lived in prosperous times; the Millennials, not so much. The days of being able to be prosperous on a single wage earner’s earnings seem to be gone for good. And yet, if couples decide to go the dual wage earner route, then pretty much all of one of those wage earner’s earnings have to go to pay for child care, and as costly as that is, it’s widely acknowledged that child care people are grossly underpaid. And as the Boomers age, somebody has to pay for their care as well as their (our) health care demands increase. And rare is the Boomer that has enough in the bank to cover those needs.

  2. Rozy says:

    Millennials don’t live in prosperous times? Goodness, perhaps you should go to China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Venezuela, etc. and see honest to goodness poverty in those places and compare that to the absolute luxury that surrounds almost all citizens of the US. Even those considered poor here have more goods, clothing and food than most of the rest of the world.

    The author is correct–our prosperity will be our downfall if we don’t humble ourselves and follow the Savior with exactness.

  3. James Russell Uhl says:

    What is the great destroyer of the Mormon faith?
    The lies which have been told and continue to be told by the leaders of the faith.
    As people wise up via internet, they see the lies and they (those without a God-given testimony) turn away from the church and having been sold on the lie that the church and the gospel are the same thing, they lose their faith.
    James Russell Uhl

  4. Jared says:


    Pick the top two “lies” on your list and let’s discuss them.

  5. James Russell Uhl says:

    I have no desire to debate with you. You may believe as you wish.
    There have been so many lies over the decades since Joseph and Hyrum died it starts to rival the list of lies the Clintons have told over their decades in the limelight.
    Follow the prophet, he knows the way
    Church leaders can never lead you astray
    Polygamy is necessary for exaltation
    Stay away from the mysteries, they will lead you into apostasy
    The list is very long, these are not my “top of the list’ lies, just representative.
    Anyone who does not see the lying that has gone on is either willfully blind or willfully ignorant.
    Thank you.

  6. Jared says:

    There are many things that can challenge the faith of LDS. You’ve listed a few. I’ve looked into all of them that are on the internet and elsewhere and reached a different conclusion than you.

    More importantly, I’ve followed the teachings of the gospel and have been richly rewarded with the promised blessings. The most important blessings being the manifestations of the Spirit. I give an account of some of these manifestations on this blog. Without them, I would feel much like you do.

    Best wishes,


  7. James Russell Uhl says:

    Do you conflate the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? I am convinced one can be in touch with Christ’s Gospel without any contact the LDS church. I believe lying by church leaders is one of, if not the, most important reasons people get disgusted and leave the LDS church. All too often, those folks throw out the baby with the bathwater and lose their faith altogether.
    Could that include the “murders” (killing peoples’ spiritual lives) which the Savior said would be committed in the latter days by the church (3 Nephi 16:10)?
    Thank you.
    James Russell Uhl

  8. Calvib says:

    I would suggest you read ‘Planted’ by Patrick Q. Mason.
    He’s got some great stuff in there that really connected with me.
    I’m sure I’ll butcher it, but what I remember was the important role that trials and human mistakes can and should play in the church.
    That the very errors–sometime egregious ones committed by church leaders can be what’s necessary for growth by individuals and the church.

  9. Jared says:


    A couple of points. I believe there is a difference between mistakes and lies. We’re taught that prophets and apostles are fallible. Prophets teach they will not lead us astray, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes.

    I read 3 Nephi 16:10 and related verses differently than you.


    I haven’t read “Planted” yet. Thanks for your review.

  10. MarKar says:

    Thought provoking and a great question!

    “Here’s how I see it:”

    The Light of Christ, that which abides in my heart, that which told me to be baptized, told me the Book of Mormon is true, that which told me to go on a mission, that which tells me to serve others has told me clearly the November policy is not of God.

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