Common Attacks and Lies About CES Letter and Jeremy Runnells


Jeremy is Anti-Mormon.

No. I reject this vague, loaded, and Orwellian term. It's used by the LDS Church and programmed into its members to turn off exposure to "the rest of the story" that the Church does not want its members to know. It's a "turn it off" switch that also kills off critical thinking in members relating to the LDS Church's truth crisis.

It is absolutely astounding to me still to this day how an honest search for truth in pursuit of restoring my testimony of the restored gospel has somehow turned me into this Voldemort “anti-Mormon” who is supposedly this leader of the movement. I’m told that I can’t leave the Church alone but the Church and its minions won’t leave me alone. The reality is that I’m not “anti-Mormon.” I’m happily married to a Mormon, for Zeus' sake. I’m not anti-her or anti-anyone of my Mormon family and friends. I have no problem whatsoever with the Mormon people. These people are not LDS, Inc. and LDS, Inc. are not these people. If I’m “anti” anything, I’m anti-LDS-Inc.-hiding-and-obfuscating-its-truth-crisis-from-investigators-and-tithe-paying-members-who-deserve-to-know-all-of-the-disturbing-information. Whew…that was a mouthful. Also, I’m anti-Justin-Bieber.

Critic? Fine. Anti-Mormon? No.

I have many dear Mormon family and friends that I love. I have zero problems with the Mormon people. I am not anti-them. A real life analogy that illustrates this is that a family member of mine recently went through the temple with her family to get sealed with her family members. I, of course, didn't go but she needed photos taken after with a high-quality camera and I happened to have one. I got in my car after they were done and went on the temple grounds and even into the lobby. I took the pictures (and luckily succeeded as one of them hangs on the wall in their home). I don't believe in temples and what goes on in there. I had a lot of other places I'd rather be at the time. But I did it because I love and care for the Mormons in my life and if that means doing things I don't like - like going to a place that does not welcome me - I'm gonna do it to support my Mormon family and friends.

Jeremy pretends to be a Latter-day Saint seeking answers when he's really not.

No. I have never pretended to be anything that I'm not.

In the introduction of the CES Letter, I wrote:

”Obviously I’m a disaffected member who lost his testimony so it’s no secret which side I’m on at the moment.”

In the "About" section on the website, I wrote:

"In February 2012, Jeremy experienced an awakening to the LDS Church's truth crisis, which subsequently led to a faith transition that summer.”

In the FAQs page of the website, I wrote under the "Are you still a member?" question:

"No. I resigned my membership during my Kangaroo Court in April 2016 - out of disgust for the LDS Church's truth crisis, censorship, silence, and attempt to slander my name and reputation. You can find all of the facts, details, and recordings here. No one has to take my word on anything.”

Further, I have a webpage found at www.cesletter.org/resign detailing my resignation from the LDS Church in 2016.

Anyone who makes this claim is either misinformed or lying.

The CES Letter has been debunked.

No, it hasn't.

Several apologists and organizations have attempted to debunk it and failed. I have responded to several of them:

Give me a fair chance and read these to see for yourself what "debunking" from Mormon apologists really looks like.

Jeremy is a Buddhist.

No, I'm not.

I never was a Buddhist and I am not a Buddhist today.

This was one of the charges used against me by the Stake President in my Kangaroo Court to support his "apostasy" claim. It's just not true.

The origin of this false claim and rumor comes from my 2014 Mormon Stories interview with John Dehlin in which I basically made the comment that if a gun was pointed to my head and I had to join a religion, I'd probably join Buddhism as I like some of their zen teachings.

Of course, my comment deliberately got taken out of context and twisted to serve the need of the LDS Church and the Stake President in painting me as an "evil apostate" who joined another religion.

Jeremy is Atheist.

When Mormonism collapsed for me, I was a non-denominational Christian for a while until I realized that I hadn't applied the same scrutiny toward Christianity as I had to Mormonism. I deep dived into the foundational claims of Christianity and the bible and I did not like what I found down there.

I became a Deist and was a Deist for a few years until I realized that my entire worldview was faith-based rather than evidence-based. I did a lot more reading and studying on the topic and quickly realized that Deism was not supported by the evidence.

I currently identify as agnostic atheist. What this basically means is that I do not know whether or not there's a god or gods, but based on current evidence (and lack of it), I see no reason to believe there is one. I'm open to changing my views and position when there is evidence.

I do not see faith and feelings as reliable pathways to truth as anyone can claim anything is true based on faith and feelings.


Jeremy is the leader of the "anti-Mormon religion".

No. I have a hard enough time being the leader of Jeremy Runnells and his life.

I was accused by a General Authority of being the "leader of the anti-Mormon religion," which I find absolutely hysterical. The truth is that the movement - if you can call it that as it's not organized - has no leader. Nor should it have any leader. As I tell folks who might see me as a leader:

"Stop following others. Lead yourselves. Never give away your own power and authority."

Jeremy is obviously doing this for the money and the fame.

Combining all of the money and donations I've received over the last 5 years relating to the CES Letter lined up with all of the thousands of hours of time, all of the energy, all of the research, all of the writing and typing, all of the coding, etc.? It's well below minimum wage. Compared to my skills and value in the market? It's nothing. Individuals making the claim that I'm in this for the money just do not have a clue. No money is worth this. All of the insane barage of abuse, character assassinations, hassles and attacks that I've experienced for the donations I've received? No way. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. If this was a job, I would've quit a long time ago.

And for "fame"? Anyone who knows me personally knows that I'm an introvert who squirms in the spotlight. Given a choice between a party and a quiet evening of books, movies, or games with my wife and kids? I'm picking the latter. I'm embarrassed when people come up to me at Costco or Rubio's (for some reason, it's always at Rubio's) or that Nevada Indian Reservation that sells fireworks (true story). The times that I have put myself out there in the spotlight, I did it for the greater good. For example, before my Mormon Stories interview, people envisioned an angry and loud anti-Mormon out to destroy the Church with his letter but were surprised to see a soft-spoken deaf guy who mispronounced a few words along the way.

The honest truth is that I do this because so many good people, in and out of the Church, are looking for help. They just want the truth about the LDS Church's truth crisis. They want to pick up the pieces and heal their hearts and lives. They want to save their relationships. They want to preserve their dignity. And I'm in a position to help them with my talents, knowledge, and experience. I get a lot of joy in alleviating despair and suffering.

Jeremy was excommunicated from the LDS Church.

No, I was not excommunicated. I resigned my membership.

Anyone who makes this claim is either misinformed or lying. I submitted my resignation during my Kangaroo Court in April 2016.

Below is proof:

Leaked Video of Jeremy Runnells Disciplinary Council

I have a whole page of recordings, documents, emails, screenshots, and details on this. No one has to take my word on anything. www.cesletter.org/resign

Jeremy never really had a testimony.

My direct response to this can be found in the video interview below. Go to timestamp 41:33 to start. It ends at 42:32.

"I had a testimony" Comment @ 41:33 - 42:32

Jeremy won't respond to Apologist ABC or Apologist XYZ so obviously he knows he's been debunked.

I have literally written over thousands of pages worth of debunking and rebuttals to Mormon apologists. I have written enough for the honest-in-heart to see for themselves that Mormon apologetics does not have a leg to stand on.

I'm a young parent. I have three little kids at home. I want to see them grow up. I want to stay married. I'm tired of beating a dead horse. I'm now burying the dead horse.

You know what's the quickest way to become a somebody in the world of Mormon apologetics when you're a nobody? That's right, attack me and the CES Letter in hopes that I'll respond and elevate your name and work.

I'm just not interested in furthering aspiring amateur Mormon apologists' careers. I'm not interested in repeating over and over and over debunkings that I have already written. They want me to muddy the waters and dilute the effectiveness of my work and I'm not going to do it.

The reality is that most of the responses out there are FairMormon Repackaged®.

For those unfamiliar with FairMormon Repackaged®, FairMormon (an unofficial Mormon apologetic group that the LDS Church refuses to officially endorse) attacked me and the CES Letter in the summer of 2013 with a section of their website devoted to just the CES Letter and myself in hopes of destroying the CES Letter and keeping concerned Mormons in the Mormon cage. In response to the outrageous claims and ad hominem attacks against me, I created Debunking FairMormon’s Debunking in February 2014 in which I did a line-by-line debunking of each one of FairMormon’s claims and “answers” to the CES Letter. I’m talking close to 900-pages of refutations and debunking of FairMormon’s philosophies mingled with scripture and pet theories.

Debunking FairMormon’s Debunking is so devastating to FairMormon that they ended up shortly after my launch taking down their 9-months worth of work to create a new response that they hoped didn’t make them look as ridiculous. Unfortunately for them, I had the foresight to see that they would likely do this and I screenshot all of their pages ahead of time before FairMormon actually went ahead and deleted their stuff in response to my Debunking FairMormon’s Debunking.

I am not alone in the assessment that FairMormon’s brand is now tainted and ruined as other armchair Mormon apologists decided that FairMormon’s front door was effectively destroyed by my Debunking FairMormon’s Debunking and they decided to do their own rebranding of the same debunked nonsense. Even FairMormon recognizes this and they have been behind rebranded projects hiding under different brand names.

These new aspiring apologists are just doing what has been done on other internet Mormon worlds: repackaging and rebranding FairMormon apologetics that I have already debunked years ago while claiming that it is something new. It’s not new and it is not credible. Quite frankly, it is deceptive and dishonest of these apologists to mislead their readers into thinking that they have something new on me and the CES Letter and that they are presenting original work and new information when they in fact aren't.

Jeremy has no class. He was yelling and being rude and disrespectful in his Court of Love.

This one baffled and confused me when I first heard it.

Turns out that when the video below was leaked, someone made a written transcript of the video and posted it online. Well, that someone loves their exclamation points (!) and CAPS and basically put an exclamation after every one of my sentences (after sprinkling a few words with CAPS). So, if you only read the transcript instead of actually watching the video, I can definitely see why you arrived at this false conclusion.

The transcript has since been fixed and all of the exclamation points/CAPS removed to match the tone clearly seen in the video. There was no yelling. There was no shouting. In fact, many have said that I was too patient and too respectful considering the false charges and disrespect shown to me by the Stake President. You decide for yourself:

Leaked Video of Jeremy Runnells Disciplinary Council

Jeremy refuses to acknowledge his mistakes and errors (or "lies" depending on source).

Not true. Here's my "Errors and Mistakes" page on the website for the whole world to see: https://cesletter.org/debunking-fairmormon/errors.html

I have no problem whatsoever admitting my mistakes and errors. I care more about the information being correct and accurate than I do about my ego. Besides, what's another mistake to add to the list?

Jeremy is just out to destroy the Church. He can leave it but can't leave it alone.

I have tried to leave it. Several times. The Church and its minions (apologists) won't leave me alone.

I was approached by a CES Director in 2013 after a year of trying to get answers and to try to get closure.

I tried to leave it again in the summer of 2013 (after it started becoming more obvious the CES Director wasn't going to respond) but then FairMormon started attacking me.

I tried to leave it again in March 2014 after I released Debunking FairMormon but was pulled back in when Daniel Peterson started attacking me and the CES Letter at the FairMormon Conference. And again when Brian Hales started attacking me.

On and on the attacks came and then there was the Kangaroo Court circus in 2016. The Church wouldn't leave me alone until I excommunicated the Church from my life.

Everything that I have done has been from a defense posture. The only reason why the CES Letter exists is because the CES Director requested it. I didn't make it go viral - the folks I asked for feedback input did. The only reason why Debunking FairMormon exists is because FairMormon went out of their way to attack me with lies. There were errors and mistakes in the original CES Letter and I needed a centralized place for people to download the correct and accurate CES Letter as well as a home for my defense against FairMormon and other apologetic attacks. Hence, why the website was born. I created the CES Letter Foundation to personally separate myself legally from the letter and to create a board that I can hopefully one day hand over the keys to.

The Church and its minions won't leave me alone. They won't let members leave its organization with their dignity intact. They can't stop talking about us without throwing in words like "lost the light", "deceived by Satan", "porn", "disobedience", and "weak" in the same sentence.

The "mistake" I made was to do what I was programmed in Mormonism to do: to seek truth at all costs while letting the consequences follow. To my surprise, doing exactly just that has eventually led me to somehow become this so-called "anti-Mormon." I'm still floored on how things have taken a life of its own.

I don't want to do this anymore. I want to quietly go into the night. I want to create businesses. Focus on raising my family. Go to Disneyland. Explore the world. I don't want to talk about or write about Mormonism anymore. I got my answers (spoiler: it's not true) and I'm moving on with my life.

An excellent article on this topic: They Can Leave the Church, But They Can't Leave the Church Alone.

The CES Letter wouldn't have gone viral had Jeremy not put it on the internet. This combined with his website shows his true intention of destroying the Church.

The person making this claim does not understand the background story and origins of the CES Letter.

I didn't decide one day to create the CES Letter and www.cesletter.com.

The only reason why the CES Letter exists is because the CES Director requested it. He asked me for my questions and concerns. I took his offer very seriously as I wanted to hear his answers to the problems. Since I took this very seriously, I asked for feedback on my draft in a closed Facebook group as well as on Reddit. My only focus was to send a tight letter to the CES Director with as little mistakes as possible so as to not waste his time or mine.

Well, the folks who gave the feedback in these groups liked it enough to share it with their family and friends. Next thing I know, my document is on MormonThink.com. And then next thing I know, I'm getting attacked by FairMormon. It was at this point that I realized I was getting pulled and sucked into a current that I didn't want to be pulled into.

As time went on, I learned there were some mistakes and errors in the letter. Additionally, the Church was beginning to release some of their essays verifying yesterday's anti-Mormon lies as facts. Accepting that I couldn't undo the CES Letter or take it off the internet even if I tried, I made the decision to at least make the most accurate and transparent (includes the essays) CES Letter available. I also needed a place for my Debunking FairMormon in defense from their attacks. Hence, why the website was born.

All of my work and efforts have been made from a defense posture. It was in response to the CES Director's request or attacks made against me or to ensure that the most accurate CES Letter was available for download so that I wasn't spreading misinformation.

My goal was never to destroy the LDS Church. It was to get official answers from the LDS Church.

Jeremy set up a nonprofit Foundation and accepts donations. Obviously he's in it for the money.

I find it hilarious that anyone thinks there's real money to be made in nonprofit Ex Mormonism. The reason why I set up the nonprofit is to legally separate myself personally from the CES Letter. The reason why I asked/ask for donations is to ease the burden that all of this tremendous amount of work requires. Some might not respect my time but I respect it and so do my kind and generous donors.

It's hypocritical - to say the least - that I'm attacked for receiving donations when dozens of unofficial Mormon apologetic groups likewise accept and receive donations. They have teams. It's mostly just me.

I further discuss the "in it for the money" nonsense here.

The CES Letter doesn't present "faithful answers" or apologetic explanations to the problems. It's deceptive.

Of course it doesn't. It was a letter to a CES Director in response to the Director's request to a list of my concerns and questions to the LDS Church's foundational claims.

The reason why I wanted the CES Director's response and answers is because they would be more official and hopefully more coherent than the apologetic pet theories and philosophies mingled with scripture that frustrated me the entire year before I sent the CES Director the letter.

I wasn't writing a book on apologetic "answers". I was writing a letter with questions for the CES Director to answer.

The CES Letter is just a "Big List" designed to overwhelm the reader and destroy his testimony.

The reason why the letter is a list of questions and problems is because it was a letter - which the CES Director requested - with questions and concerns for the CES Director to answer.

It was not written to overwhelm anyone or to destroy anyone's testimony. I was seeking official answers from the Church to resolve my doubts and to hopefully restore my testimony.

Mormon apologist Daniel Peterson used this same claim against the CES Letter in his 2014 FairMormon talk claiming that I was using a big list so that I gave my "opponents too much to address in their allotted time thus giving the impression that the attacker has 'won' because the response is lacking."

I debunked this attack here.

Jeremy's only goal is to get people to leave the Church.

No. My goal is not to get people to leave the Church. I have no idea what's best for people and their own lives. I don't presume to know what's best for people and their own lives.

Some people decide to leave the Church. Some people decide to stay in the Church. Both decisions can be just as valid.

My goal was to get official answers to the LDS Church's truth crisis back when I was trying to restore my testimony. I achieved my goal in a different way than I expected: the LDS Church has no answers to its truth crisis and will attempt to punish those who openly ask the questions it does not like being asked.

I believe in honesty. I believe in transparency. I believe that investigators and members deserve to have all of the information on the table to be able to make a fully informed decision as to what the information means to them and how they would like to proceed with it. Anything short of this is an obstruction to the free agency of the investigator and member.

Jeremy advocates vandalism and destruction of Church property.

False. This is a lie.

I wrote on Reddit 3 years ago on March 26, 2014 (link):

Hey guys,

First of all, thank you all so much for reading the CES Letter and for your support. I appreciate it.

I'm concerned about a few things that may or may not have been done by CES Letter fans.

One example that came to my attention was someone writing on a CES advertisement posted on a Ward posting board: "For more information, visit cesletter.com".

Another example is grabbing email addresses from Ward/Stake Directories to mass email members with the CES Letter PDF attached.

I'm all for sharing this information but it is my hope that we'll be respectful (and legal) about sharing it at the same time.

Please do me a personal favor and don't write on papers on Ward posting boards or take email addresses from the Ward/Stake Directories. There's a respectful/right way to share this information and there's a wrong way to share this information. This falls in the latter.

Thanks for your understanding.

-Jeremy

EDIT: It appears that some folks are not getting that I'm not asking for respect for LDS, Inc. I'm asking us to respect the property and privacy of others. Members are not LDS, Inc. Members have as much right to their private information and privacy as we do.

Local Ward members/leadership are not LDS, Inc. They're people. The meeting houses are their spaces and turf. Let's be classy and not be dicks about it.

I have never advocated the destruction of property or of vandalism. I spoke out and asked that no one disrespect LDS meeting houses or LDS property (including email lists and membership information).

Jeremy advocates taking Ward/Stake/School email lists and spamming the CES Letter to them.

This is false. I have never advocated such a thing and have even spoke out against individuals using email lists to spam the CES Letter with.

I've already addressed this above here.

Jeremy is not a scholar.

And I never claimed to be one.

Mormon apologists - desperate in discrediting me and the CES Letter - have created strawmen by elevating me and the letter to academia standards and then attacking me and the letter from there.

I'm not a scholar. I'm just a regular dude who wanted official answers to the LDS Church's truth crisis. I was doing everything I could to restore my testimony and to try to make the LDS Church true.

The CES Letter is just a letter to a CES Director. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was a document "laying it all out" in hopes that the director could resolve my questions and concerns.

I've learned a lot over the past 5+ years in the trenches dealing with Mormon apologists. I've written thousands of pages worth of debunking and rebuttals. Contrary to the "Village Idiot" that Mormon apologists desperately need me to be, I am very knowledgeable on this topic and I have tried my best to extend and share this knowledge to others in a meaningful way so that they themselves can escape the Mormon Apologist House of Mirrors quicker.

Jeremy is just a deaf retard. Why are you listening to him?

Truth and information stands independent of whether or not I'm a deaf retard. The great thing about information is that you can source it to show exactly where you got the information and how you arrived at the conclusion that you have.

I've made sure to source everything so that no one has to rely on a deaf retard and his opinion or conclusion. They can verify for themselves.

I don't take this personally as I know complete strangers are saying this about me because something I wrote represents a threat to their paradigm and worldview. They need me to be a "deaf retard" so that they can dissipate their cognitive dissonance and make the Church true again.

Jeremy is just rehashing old anti-Mormon lies that have been debunked a long time ago.

Talk about a dramatic one-liner that stops critical thinking right in its tracks.

If you think yesterday's "anti-Mormon lies" were "debunked" or that they've been "debunked" a long time ago? You haven't read the Church's Gospel Topics essays verifying that yesterday's anti-Mormon lies are indeed facts.

You are deluding yourself if you think "All is well in Zion" and that there's no validity or merit to the so-called "anti-Mormon lies".

FairMormon debunked CES Letter.

Nope. I've debunked FairMormon: Debunking FairMormon.

Other questions?

Please also see Frequently Asked Questions About CES Letter and Jeremy Runnells.

If there are any other questions or attacks that I have missed, please let me know at cesletter@gmail.com so that I can address them here.

About the Author

Born and raised in Southern California, Jeremy is a seventh generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage who reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, BYU alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life.

In February 2012, Jeremy experienced an awakening to the LDS Church's truth crisis, which subsequently led to a faith transition that summer. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his questions and concerns about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as the CES Letter (originally titled Letter to a CES Director).

The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came.

“I believe that members and investigators deserve to have all of the facts and information on the table, to be able to make a fully-informed and balanced decision as to whether or not they want to commit their hearts, minds, time, talents, income, and lives to Mormonism.”

Jeremy T. Runnells


Interview with Mormon Stories

Part 1 On Growing Up Mormon and the Genesis of the CES Letter 
Part 2 Jeremy Discusses the CES Letter in Detail 
Part 3 Rapid Firing Round, Reaction to the Letter 

Debunking

Several unofficial Mormon apologists, including FairMormon, have provided responses to CES Letter:

Jeremy's response to FairMormon:

The only official response, to date, is the series of recent essays by the LDS Church, which is available on the Church’s own lds.org website.

A comprehensive critique of each essay is available here on MormonThink.com.

Jeremy’s rebuttals to other Mormon apologist arguments:

A Zombie’s Reflections on That Mormon Apologist’s Reflections

Jeremy’s rebuttal to Daniel C. Peterson’s FairMormon Some Reflections on That Letter to a CES Director presentation.

The Book of Abraham: “Except for Those Willfully Blind, the Case is Closed”

Jeremy’s rebuttal to Brian M. Hauglid’s Jeremy Runnells and the Book of Abraham essay.

The Sky is Falling – Part 1

Jeremy’s rebuttal to FairMormon’s Kevin Christensen’s Eye of the Beholder essay.