A Few Comments on Uchtdorf’s Response

A Few Comments on President Uchtdorf Reply

Within just ten days of mailing my letter to president Uchtdorf, I received the reply below from a Brook Hales, secretary to the president. It might have come even earlier but for the fact that it was returned in the same, now torn, packaging I dispatched it in and postage due. Perhaps Brook doesn’t realize that Alberta is not one of the 50 United States.

I had also enclosed with my letter to president Uchtdorf a gift, specifically a Judean coin from the time of Christ which was neither acknowledged nor returned.

Nevertheless, I agree with Hales that I have asked the ‘wrong people’ for help.

As I say in my letter, I had only faint hope that Elder Uchtdorf would read my letter. However, by the content of his secretary’s short response, it would appear that neither did he.

I say this because of Hales bewildering comment that I asked the ‘wrong questions;’ and that I should have asked (and he lists them) the very questions which I did in fact ask!

Did God the Father and Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith?

Question #9

Was Smith a true prophet?

Question #7, #14, #15, #16, #17 and #18

Was the Book of Mormon translated by the gift and power of God?

Questions # 5, #12, and #13

Is the Book of Mormon a true record?

Questions #1, #2, #3 and #11

Are the keys of the priesthood resident in the church today?

Question #8, #19

Is the church true?

Questions #1 through #36

As well, I can’t say I am not a little disappointed with the tone of a letter coming out of an apostle’s office and the blame-the-doubter approach. This tactic is getting a little old, and I certainly do not apologize to Hales or his boss for having the audacity to ask WHY.

Hales concludes, what is clearly a form letter, by pulling out that old missionary Chestnut, Moroni 10: 3-7, which he calls a ‘formula.’

Hales suggests that if one would just sincerely pray to Heavenly Father, he will not be deceived but, “will know the truth.”

The Holy Bible never gives that assurance. 2 Cor. 11:14 says that Satan often transforms himself into an angel of light, and 1 Timothy 4:1 warns of seducing spirits.

As I say in my letter, it is possible for a person to sincerely pray and still end up being sincerely wrong!

I do believe that the Lord answers prayers, but we must be cautious ever cognizant of the fact that our ‘good and warm feelings’ may also be a result of the complex subconscious needs and desires that stir and animate us.

The Mormon Church would have you believe that truth it is not about facts, it is all about feeling.

I disagree with this. I think the truth is something that we must pursue. The proverb tells us, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” Matthew says it exquisitely, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

What are the indicators that something is likely true:

  • Conformity – Something that is true conforms to reality, it fits the facts.
  • Non-contradiction – Truth does not controvert or contradict other things which are also true.

The essence of my letter to president Uchtdorf focused on these criteria.

First, does the Book of Mormon conform to reality? Is the Book of Mormon just a poorly written 19th Century work of fiction?

Does Smith’s character and behavior – sex with 14-year old girls, his lengthy criminal ‘rap-sheet’, his polygamy and polyandry and his lies and denials regarding these things comport with a Prophet of God?

Did Joseph Smith see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ as he claims in his last iteration of his ‘First Vision?”

Is the priesthood even necessary after the Lord’s Ascension?

Second, if the Bible is the word of God, then the Book of Mormon should be consistent with the teachings found in the Bible. Why then does the Mormon doctrine of salvation stress works in addition to grace?

Why do Mormons believe that humans (or more accurately, men) can achieve godhood where the Bible and Christians see this proposition as absurd, even blasphemous? 

The whole purpose of my letter to an Apostle was to simply discover what is true.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Aldous Huxley

Paul Douglas
August 2017

The following is the response I received from Uchtdorf’s office:


PS Someone was kind enough to supply me with a copy of an amazingly similar reply to another questioning member from ‘Brook Hales’ back in 2014. Compare with the letter I received.