Modern-day opposition generally takes the form of websites, podcasts, videos or other media offering alternative views about Mormonism or non-violent protest at large Latter-day Saint gatherings such as the church's semiannual
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The term, "anti-Mormon" first appears in the historical record in 1833 by the
Mormonism had been criticized strongly by dozens of publications since its inception, most notably by
Today, the term is primarily used as a descriptor for persons and publications that oppose the LDS Church, although its precise scope has been the subject of some debate. It is used by some to describe anything perceived as critical of the LDS Church.
Siding with the latter, less-inclusive understanding of the term, Latter-day Saint scholar William O. Nelson suggests in the
Many of those who have been labeled "anti-Mormon" object to the designation, arguing that the term implies that disagreement or criticism of Mormonism stems from some inherent "anti-Mormon" prejudice, rather than being part of a legitimate factual or religious debate. Eric Johnson, for example, makes a distinction between "personal animosity and intellectual dialogue". Johnson insists that he is motivated by "love and compassion for Mormons", and that while he "[might] plead guilty to being against Mormonism", he finds the suggestion that he is anti-Mormon "both offensive and inaccurate." Stephen Cannon elaborates,
It is also helpful to know that Mormons are a group of people united around a belief system. Therefore, to be "anti-Mormon" is to be against people. Christians who desire to communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Mormons are never to come against people of any stripe. Yes, evangelical Christians do have strong disagreements with Mormonism, but the argument is with a belief system and not a people. The LDS people are no better or no worse than any other group of people. Any dispute is to be a disagreement with the "ism", not the "Mormon".
Even some members of the church who write negatively about it, especially those who call into question its divine nature, have had their writings labeled anti-Mormon. Ex-Mormons who write about the church are likewise frequently labeled anti-Mormon, even when their writings are not inflammatory in nature. The debate on who is "anti-Mormon" frequently arises in Mormon discussions of authors and sources.
Stephen Cannon has argued that use of the label is a "campaign by Latter-day Saints to disavow the facts presented by simply labeling the source as 'anti-Mormon'". Critics of the term also claim that the LDS Church frames the context of persecution in order to cultivate a
Mormons often respond to these accusations by questioning whether critics like Johnson and Cannon really have Mormons' best interests at heart. For
Those individuals and groups who challenge Mormonism, particularly those who approach the challenge from an evangelical Christian perspective, would generally sustain that they do, in fact, have the best interest of the Mormon at heart; and for the most part can legitimately claim to understand what the church teaches, since many challengers of Mormonism come from an LDS background. In addition, they often declare that highly charged words such as "hatred" and "bigotry" are employed to an excessive degree to describe any challenge to a truth claim, and often cite this reactionary response as part of a Mormon "persecution complex."[