What is the CES Letter?

The CES Letter Mormon was written by Jeremy Runnells, a former member of the Mormon Church. Runnells wrote the letter to voice his grievances with the LDS Church. He addressed the letter to a friend of his grandfather’s, a CES (Church Education System) director. Further research shows that Runnells crowd-sourced these arguments about the Mormon Church on Reddit, so the arguments in the Mormon CES Letter were not all his personal concerns.

The CES Letter covers thirteen topics and many more subtopics. A Mormon CES Letter summary of these topics range from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon to polygamy to the Book of Abraham to temples and freemasonry.

The Mormon CES Letter was first written in 2013 with the title, “CES Letter: Why I Lost My Testimony.” Later in the year, Runnells created a website for the letter, cesletter.com. In 2015, Runnells posted on Reddit that he was worried that the subtitle of the “CES Letter: Why I Lost my Testimony” was too “scary or off-putting” for his targeted readers, members of the Mormon Church. After consulting Reddit, Runnells dropped the subtitle, it is now just the “CES Letter.”

Since its publication, the LDS CES Letter has gained attention from many people. For some, it has served the purpose that Runnells hoped it would fulfill and has been a cause for abandoning their beliefs. For others, they see the CES Letter’s critiques as issues for discussion and debate, but not necessarily a reason to abandon their faith.

It’s important to note that the CES Letter was compiled for the sole purpose of critiquing the Mormon Church. As such, some of the sources and information provided in the CES Letter are biased and the CES Letter even ignores the context of its sources, sometimes misrepresenting them. Considering the purpose of the CES Letter, it should be read alongside other sources, even the CES Letter’s own sources should be examined for context.