There are many many many reasons not to believe in the Mormon church. I had trouble from the getgo, but so many people told me I was going to have challenges and run into things that would shake my testimony that I went along with it and exercised my faith. With time I began to wonder why every time I ran into a need to defend the faith did I find myself spouting the same pluralisms that I heard from others. It became easy to wax duplicitous, to double-talk and try and reason around the challenging things that were being said to me.
After a while I stood back and looked at almost every question I had about the church and realized that the explanation for each of them violated a simple but very truthful rule. The principle is called Occam's Razor and it can be a useful tool when considering the difficult questions around the history of the Mormon church. Most of the time the simplest answer is the correct one.
Let us be as simple as we can be. The church apologist is someone who fancies himself a scholar, and believes he can explain the anomalies of Mormon history. His problem is that being a believer it is almost impossible to speak objectively and come up with answers that are not incredibly complicated.
Let us go over a few examples, shall we?
The First vision. There are nine versions of it. Why?
The Apologist: Well Joseph needed to be political in what he said to whom, so he told the story in different ways to different people.
Occam's Razor: He made it up.
Now there is little to support the theory that he was being guarded with who he told, but there is a great deal of support for the OR answer. Visit http://www.mormonthink.com/ for the details.
The Apologist: There were more women than men, and they needed husbands. The Lord commanded . . . . In the past the prophets practiced . . . .
Occam's Razor: Smith was horny.
Polyandry. Why did Smith (and others) marry women who were already married?
The Apologist: They were not actually his worldly wives. He did not have sex with them. It was a spiritual thing that the Lord commanded to teach a lesson to those of that time about faith. Trials for specific people.
Occam's Razor: Smith was really horny.
The Greek Psalter Incident
The Apologist: Here is where we run into a rare example of Smith the man versus Smith the Prophet. The man obviously believed he was receiving inspiration but was not speaking as a prophet. A person can not speak with the spirit all the time!
Occam's Razor: Smith was duped.
The Pearl of Great Price
The Apologist: Well the Smithsonian only has some of the papyri, and obviously not the stuff that Joseph translated, of course accept for the facsimile. There was much more material that what remains at the museum, oh and it is common for Egyptians to add any sort of scripture they have around to their funerary texts, so the facsimile of Abraham still holds firm. They just added it to their book of breathings to . . . .
Occam's Razor: ummmm yeah, he made it up.
The Kinderhook Plates
The Apologist: (Up until the eighties) Totally legit! Hah! Choke on that haters! We have plates! Pretty solid evidence eh? We don't really need it because we have faith, but we got it! Nyah nyah nyah! Hey look at me I hate Mormons because they are right! I am a big poopoo dumb-dumb head!
The Apologist: (In the eighties after the plates were proven to be a hoax) Uhhhhh, well here we have a rare example of Joseph Smith the man and not Joseph Smith the prophet, and every subsequent vessel of the Lord thereafter.
Occam's Razor: Smith and every prophet and general authority after him were DUPED!
The List goes on people. Now anybody looking in to anything for its validity can let a little bit of this slide. Not everything can be explained without moving into the world of the plural, but Occam's Razor only states that most of the time that is the case. When you stand back and look at all of the defenses made by the people from FAIR, other apologists, and generally every true believer of the church who has felt need to defend the faith, you can see clearly there is little chance that this can be true. If it were true then the answers we expect would match the ones we have at least some of the time. We wouldn't have the feeling, intuition, inspiration that these guys were weaseling out of accepting the truth. And that leads us into the most important and beautiful truth (in my opinion) about Apologists.
The question is, "How come if it is false do all of these people when faced with evidence so damning still go on believing it?"
The answer most simply is that they want to believe it!