CES Letter Updates

  • Dynamic Table of Contents added
  • Page numbers simplified
  • "FAIR" changed to "FairMormon"
  • Added Epilogue
  • Source link added to #1 (Book of Mormon)
  • Book of Mormon Geography maps updated (Book of Mormon)
  • Book of Mormon Geography name list updated (Book of Mormon)
  • "Elder Roberts’ private research was meant only for the eyes of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and was never intended to be available to the public. Roberts’ work was later published in 1985 as Studies of the Book of Mormon." (Book of Mormon)
  • #9 The Late War (Book of Mormon)
  • #10 The First Book of Napoleon (Book of Mormon)
  • "December 2013 Update: Church's new essay admits this." (Book of Mormon Translation)
  • "The dates / his ages: The 1832 account states Joseph was 15 years old when he had the vision in 1821 while the other accounts state he was 14 years old in 1820 when he had the vision." (First Vision)
  • "The reason or motive for seeking divine help – Bible reading and conviction of sins, a revival, a desire to know if God exists, wanting to know which church to join – are not reported the same in each account." (First Vision)
  • Updated Mormon Infographic "Joseph Smith's First Vision" (First Vision)
  • Updated Mormon Infographic "Book of Mormon Facsimile #1" (Book of Abraham)
  • "The following images show similar funerary scenes which have been discovered elsewhere in Egypt. Notice that the jackel-headed Egyptian god of death and afterlife Anubis is consistent in every funerary scene. (Book of Abraham)
  • Updated Mormon Infographic "Book of Mormon Facsimile #2" (Book of Abraham)
  • Updated Mormon Infographic "Book of Mormon Facsimile #3" (Book of Abraham)
  • "...angel with a flaming sword" changed to "...angel with a sword" (Polygamy/Polyandry)
  • "A rock he found digging in his neighbor’s property in 1822; a year before Moroni appeared in his bedroom, 5 years before he got the gold plates and Urim and Thummim, and the same stone and method Joseph used for his treasure hunting activities?" (Kinderhook Plates)
  • "In addition to devotion to self-proclaimed prophet James Strang, Martin Harris was a follower to another self-proclaimed Mormon prophet by the name of Gladden Bishop. Like Strang, Bishop claimed to have plates, Urim and Thummim, and that he was receiving revelation from the Lord. Martin was one of Gladden Bishop’s witnesses to his claims." (Witnesses)
  • Whitmer’s testimony also included the following:

    “If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens and told me to 'separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, so it should be done unto them.’” – David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (promoting his Whitmerite sect)

    If David Whitmer is a credible witness, why are we only using his testimony of the Book of Mormon while ignoring his other testimony claiming that God Himself spoke to Whitmer “by his own voice from the heavens” in June 1838 commanding Whitmer to apostatize from the Lord’s one and only true Church? (Witnesses)
  • "Every witness name except Oliver Cowdery on that document is not signed..." (Witnesses)
  • "Further, there is no testimony from any of the witnesses, with the exception of David Whitmer, directly attesting to the wording and claims..." (Witnesses)
  • "...a) no signatures of any of the witnesses except Oliver..." (Witnesses)
  • "Mark Twain made light of this obvious problem:

    '...I could not feel more satisfied and at rest if the entire Whitmer family had testified.'" (Witnesses)
  • "This is what First Counselor of the First Presidency and once close associate Sidney Rigdon had to say about Oliver Cowdery:

    '…a lying, thieving, counterfeiting man who was ‘united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs in the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat, and defraud the saints out of their property, by every art and stratagem which wickedness could invent…'" (Witnesses)
  • "The mistake that is made by 21st century Mormons is that they’re seeing the Book of Mormon Witnesses as empirical, rational, nineteenth-century men instead of the nineteenth-century magical thinking, superstitious, and treasure digging men they were. They have ignored the peculiarities of their worldview, and by so doing, they misunderstand their experiences as witnesses." (Witnesses)
  • "...light from the revolutions of Kolob" (Science)
  • "December 2013 Update: The Church released a new Race and the Priesthood essay which contradicts their 2013 Official Declaration 2 Header. In the essay, they point to Brigham Young as the originator of the ban. Further, they effectively throw 10 latter-day “prophets, seers, and revelators” under the bus as they 'disavow' the 'theories' that these ten men taught and justified – for 130 years – as doctrine and revelation for the Church’s institutional and theological racism.

    Yesterday’s revelation and doctrine is today’s “disavowed theories.” Yesterday’s prophets are today’s disavowed heretics." (Other Concerns)
  • Updated year from "2013" to "2014" (Other Concerns)
  • City Creek Center price corrected from $5 billion to estimated $1.5 billion (Other Concerns)
  • "...or the Church’s December 2013 Book of Mormon Translation essay where they learn – for the first time in their lives – that the Book of Mormon was not translated as depicted in Sunday Schools, Ensigns, MTC, General Conference addresses, or Visitor Centers?" (Other Concerns)
  • Removal of "Why I Lost My Testimony" subtitle
  • "Even by 19th century standards, this is pedophilia." to "Even by 19th century standards, this is shocking." (Polygamy/Polyandry)

Numbers 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 16, 23, 24, 28, 32 are due to FAIR's analysis.

Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35 are non-FAIR changes due to clarification, new design, and/or new information/research.


"Debunking" Table of Contents


Last Updated:

March 31, 2015


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.