Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

» Peggy Fletcher Stack E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)




High-ranking Mormon leader goes from disciple to doubter

Hans Mattsson, at one time an LDS area authority who helped oversee the LDS Church in Europe, says now that his faith has been shaken by facts about Mormon history that he discovered online.

"I felt like I had an earthquake under my feet," Mattsson, now an emeritus area authority, told The New York Times. "Everything I’d been taught, everything I’d been proud to preach about and witness about just crumbled under my feet. It was such a terrible psychological and nearly physical disturbance."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Mattsson may be the highest-ranking Mormon official to go public with his move from disciple to doubter.

But the issues that troubled him — Mormon founder Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy, his claim to having translated ancient writings from the Old Testament prophet Abraham, and the faith’s former ban on black men holding the priesthood — have been hashed and rehashed for decades.

In February 2012, The Salt Lake Tribune described waves of Mormons who are leaving the church because of information they found on the Internet.

It’s a growing problem, emeritus LDS general authority Marlin Jensen, the Utah-based faith’s former church historian, told the paper, and one Mormon leaders are working to confront.

"Never before have we had this information age, with social networking and bloggers publishing unvetted points of view," Jensen said. "The church is concerned about misinformation and distorted information, but we are doing better and trying harder to get our story told in an accurate way."

Joanna Brooks, an LDS scholar, writer and feminist, noted one group of Mormons noticeably absent from the Times’ piece: women.

"Mormon women also use the Internet, and ... many of us have there discovered historical controversies that cast the ‘official version’ of the Mormon story into doubt," Brooks writes in a post at Feminist Mormon Housewives. "But what drives women’s disaffection may be different."

They are leaving not only because of a "sense of betrayal and embarrassment over historical secrets kept secret," she writes, "but the hurt caused by practices of discrimination, exclusion and subordination based on race, sexuality and gender."

Peggy Fletcher Stack



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.