“Other Topics” and the CES Letter

The final section of the CES Letter Mormon lists “other” arguments against the Mormon Church. Some of these arguments are the church’s lack of financial transparency, censorship in the church, the fact that the name of the church changed multiple times in the 1830s, and a lack of intellectual research or debate among Mormons. In this section, the CES Letter also claims the church has a secret organization that targets church critics. 

It is true that the Mormon Church does not disclose all of its finances. The church has stated that it complies with all taxes and disclosures required by the government, but seeks to guard its privacy in all other financial matters. Concerning censorship, the church has a committee that checks for doctrinal accuracy among its publications, if this can be deemed censorship. 

The claim by the CES Letter that the church’s revealed name was changed is erroneous. The CES Letter seems to make the assumption that the name of the church was revealed in 1830, which is not true. The name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was revealed to Smith in 1838. Prior to 1838, the leaders of the church chose its names. 

Regarding intellectual research and debate, the Church sponsors multiple academic institutions whose goal is to engage in intellectual debate, while also being spiritually strengthening. Mormons do not believe these pursuits to be at odds, but harmonious. Finally, the Church does not sponsor a secret organization to target its critics. Church members who don’t teach doctrine are asked to appear before a disciplinary council that recommends repentance or excommunication from the church.