Trigger Warning: This section (particularly the first portion of this section) speaks generally about abuse, including sexual abuse.

It came to my attention as I taught and studied the gospel as a missionary that the church and its teachings are largely inconsistent. Of course, many church members are bothered by hypocrisy, both in local units and in the church as a whole. While off-putting, this hypocrisy is sometimes challenging to identify in general terms.

In this section, then, I address critical issues in which the church itself does not practice what is taught in its own canon.

Attitudes about Abuse

Many are familiar with a recent legal battle involving the church in Arizona. Church members are taught that God despises abuse and that the church wants to do everything it can to protect survivors. Many heard Russell Nelson say the following:

Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary. It is a grievous sin. As President of the Church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: any kind of abuse of women, children, or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns and we all mourn for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man but will also face the wrath of Almighty God. For decades now, the Church has taken extensive measures to protect—in particular—children from abuse. There are many aids on the Church website. I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent. I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as His disciples, neither can we.1

It is generally understood that mandatory reporting is an effective way to prevent abuse and protect survivors2. It is discouraging, then, to see that the church is not doing everything it can to protect people from abuse, as it actively fights against mandatory reporting laws.

It was discouraging, then, to see the church spend tithing money in a legal battle defending the right of clergy members to withhold information about abuse. It was more discouraging to read the church’s reaction in Deseret News:

Bill Maledon, the church’s attorney who handled the case, said in a statement to the Deseret News, “We are pleased with the Arizona Superior Court’s decision granting summary judgment for the Church and its clergy and dismissing the plantiffs’ claims.3

This quote was extremely concerning to me, as the president of the church recently gave the opposite impression: certainly, a man who grieves whenever anyone is harmed would not be pleased at the result of a grueling lawsuit involving recovering survivors and their families.

I am further concerned by the church’s lackluster efforts to protect children and youth. When I was called as a primary teacher, I was asked to complete a very short online training. This training asked me to avoid being alone with children and listed a few specific rules I was expected to follow. I did not undergo a background check. I had no background working with children; I didn’t even have children of my own.

It is even more concerning that with absolutely no training, bishops can (or could for many years) isolate young people behind a closed door to talk about their sexuality. When I was 12 years old, my bishop called us one-by-one out of our Sunday School classes to conduct our annual worthiness interviews. In this meeting, a middle-aged man I had never formally met talked to me about puberty, taught me what masturbation and pornography were, and told me to suppress any romantic feelings I started to experience.

It’s no wonder, although it is discouraging and depressing, that there are so many allegations and convictions of sexual crimes within the church. I didn’t believe this myself, but has compiled a significant volume of data about recent abuse within the church. I was shocked to see so many bishops and other prominent church figures listed.

The church clearly does not care about abuse, at least not as much as it cares about preserving its own reputation. By itself, I believe the church’s damnable nonchalance about abuse is sufficient reason to leave the church and never look back. But in case it isn’t, I continue my condemnation of the church’s inconsistency.

Changing of Temple Ordinances

Joseph Smith taught that the temple ordinances cannot change:

The order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same, even after Christ comes; and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same; and we shall finally enter into the celestial Kingdom of God, and enjoy it forever.”4

Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.4

The power, glory and blessings of the Priesthood could not continue with those who received ordination only as their righteousness continued; for Cain also being authorized to offer sacrifice, but not offering it in righteousness, was cursed. It signifies, then, that the ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed; otherwise their Priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing.4

It is confusing and concerning, then, that ordinances within the church change. Those who have been in the church for several years have probably observed recent changes, but temple ordinances have changed greatly since their institution:

  • Around 1912, the Oath of Vengeance was removed from the ordinance.
  • In the 1930s, the wording of penalties was softened.
  • In the 1960s, the garment pattern worn in the temple changed.
  • In the 1990s, a number of significant changes took place:
    • Penalties were removed entirely from the endowment ordinance.
    • The second sign of the Melchizedek priesthood changed.
    • The five points of fellowship were removed.
    • The law of obedience for women was changed.
  • In 2005, washing and anointing was changed to be performed symbolically, and temple patrons were no longer touched by ordinance workers wearing nothing but a large poncho.
  • In recent years, the temple ceremony and its wording changed greatly to appeal more to women, expedite the ordinance, and accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

Revelations Changing

I addressed this in a previous section, but consider again the following quote from Joseph Smith:

Many true things were spoken by this personage, and many things that were false. How, it may be asked, was this known to be a bad angel? By the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation.5

It is thus abundantly clear that a revelation that contradicts an earlier revelation is false, or is from a bad angel. I do not know, then, why there are so many contradictory revelations within the church, even within my own lifetime, which you can read more about at

Obedience to Civil Law

Articles of Faith 1:12 reads:

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

Similarly, Doctrine and Covenants 58:21 teaches:

Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

It is confusing, then, that the church’s history is full of disobedience to the laws of the land:

  • Joseph Smith performed marriages without civil authority to do so
  • Early church members, including Joseph Smith, entered into illegal (polygamous and polyandrous) marriages
  • Joseph Smith established an illegal bank in Ohio
  • Joseph Smith was imprisoned for destroying his critics’ printing press
  • The church asserted (including in Official Declaration 1) that it was willing to disobey the law of the land to continue polygamy

Worship of Jesus

The scriptures clearly teach that we should worship Jesus. Take Exodus 20:3 (KJV), spoken by Jehovah of the Old Testament, believed to be Jesus of the New Testament:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Jesus’ followers also worshipped him throughout the New Testament with no sign of correction from Jesus. Matthew 28:16-17 (KJV) reads:

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

While this could be up for interpretation, the Book of Mormon also commands us to worship Jesus in 3 Nephi 17:10:

And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did kiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.

However, Bruce McConkie made it clear we are not to worship Jesus, and this is generally taught to church members today:

We do not worship the Son, and we do not worship the Holy Ghost. I know perfectly well what the scriptures say about worshipping Christ and Jehovah, but they are speaking in an entirely different sense—the sense of standing in awe and being reverentially grateful to him who has redeemed us. Worship in the true and saving sense is reserved for God the first, the Creator.6

However, the church recently seems to have changed its message again. I was presented with this ad the other day.

Ad that reads “Come worship Jesus with us”

This leaves me uncertain about the church’s teachings, as the scriptures teach us the importance of worshipping Jesus, but modern church leaders indicate it is a sin (i.e., modern church leaders have commanded against worshipping Jesus, and acting against their instruction is a sin). However, the church is currently advertising that church members worship Jesus in their meetings and with missionaries.

Sex and Sexuality

The church has, especially since coming under fire for prejudice against the LGBT+ community combined with a great volume of abuse scandals, apparently changed its stance on critical issues.

First, many members are familiar with recent policy changes and reversal of those changes regarding children of gay couples. These changes are concerning to me, as such a fast policy change after a PR disaster seems fishy, perhaps as if God didn’t actually inspire at least one of the changes.

Second, anyone over 20 who grew up in the church was likely presented, at one point or another, with the conference talk (converted into a pamphlet) titled “To Young Men Only”. When I was 12 years old, my bishop used this packet to teach me what masturbation was. This was produced and supported by a long line of prophets and apostles. It now seems to be absent from the church’s website, and I can find no mention of it. Thankfully, it has been uploaded to Internet Archive. I will discuss this pamphlet in more depth in Epistle 3, but for now, I will simply indicate that I find it bizarre that the church seems to be hiding what was considered a crucial, sacred text only a few years ago.

Third, many are familiar with the church-published book The Miracle of Forgiveness. This book can be borrowed from Internet Archive if you are curious about its contents. I do not feel the need to discuss its contents in much depth, but it is interesting to me that many of the core principles taught by the book. In the preface, Spencer Kimball absolves the church from errors in the book’s contents, but the church nonetheless published, printed, distributed, and continued to use the book for decades. The book and its contents are now largely taboo discussion points in the church.

Finally, the church’s policy on chastity has changed greatly over time. It is concerning to me that historical church figures are well-known to have married multiple people, including already-married women. It is disappointing to see the church cover up a great volume of abuse scandals while causing young people to feel unreasonably guilty over natural feelings and experiences.


Throughout church history, members and leaders alike have embraced the term “mormon” to describe the church and its members. The church poured incredible amounts of money into recent campaigns like and Meet the Mormons. Members were taught through official communication from church leaders to create an “I’m a Mormon” profile on the church’s missionary website. So the following recent quote has long been deeply concerning to me:

What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement. 7

So, I ask, who was wrong? Were generations of prophets misled by Satan? Certainly not, or it is impossible to tell where else the church may have strayed from being God’s one true church. But if former prophets were not misled by Satan, then this statement from Russell Nelson is not accurate, and God’s supposed prophet has lied. In either case, based on this single counterexample, I believe there is sufficient damning evidence that the church is not what it claims to be.


I expect God’s one true church to hold itself to its own standards. It was disappointing to learn that despite claiming to have a direct connection to God, prophets often make mistakes as they guide the church, and these mistakes genuinely hurt people.

I am further confused by the argument that prophets only speak for God when they are speaking “as a prophet”. Not only does this statement feel like a disgusting weasel out of any responsibility or accountability; it cannot be used to defend inconsistencies like these. I believe it is reasonable to assume that church leaders are indeed speaking as prophets and apostles when they address the entire church, establish curricula, and approve advertising materials. If one cannot make this assumption, then it would be impossible to know when to trust a prophet. In this case, I find these inconsistencies much more damning. The church’s inconsistency convinces me that the church is not truly directed by a perfect, all-knowing God.

  1. Nelson, R. M. (2022, October). What Is True? General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. ↩︎

  2. Mathews, B., & Bross, D. C. (Eds.). (2015). Mandatory Reporting Laws and the Identification of Severe Child Abuse and Neglect (Vol. 4). Springer Netherlands. ↩︎

  3. Judge dismisses lawsuit against church in Arizona sex abuse case, citing clergy-penitent exception. (2023, November 9). Deseret News. ↩︎

  4. Chapter 36: Receiving the Ordinances and Blessings of the Temple. (n.d.). In Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  5. Volume 4 Chapter 33, Page 581. (n.d.). In History of the Church. BYU Studies. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from ↩︎

  6. McConkie, B. R. (n.d.). Our Relationship with the Lord. BYU Speeches. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from ↩︎

  7. Nelson, R. M. (2018, October). The Correct Name of the Church. General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT. ↩︎