All the scientific evidence supports what many have believed since the 1830's. The Book of Mormon is not ancient and it is not an accurate history. It is a 19th century work of fiction. The gold plates never existed. The so called religion is based on the lies of a man trying to convince people to give him money.
With the advent of the Information Age, the Brethren can no longer suppress the truth with their propaganda or simple denials. Anyone can look for answers and find credible information in minutes. Mormons can find all the evidence they need to prove that Joseph Smith and the other founders of Mormonism were liars more interested in power and money than worshiping God on the LDS website and in authorized LDS sources.
I have spent hours listening to former Mormons tell their stories. Many of these people wanted nothing more than to prove that the Mormon beliefs were true. Time after time, I heard the pain as they realized the lie and were forced to accept the truth.
The first story I heard of this type was of a young man preparing for his mission. He felt that in order to properly do the work of the Mormon church and preach to non-believers, he needed to have a firm understanding of his faith. He had questions and sought clarification. He did not have doubts and seek to prove the LDS false. He had faith but wanted more knowledge to deepen his faith. The opposite occurred. His questions grew and his faith in the truth of the LDS dissolved.
Although details changed, I heard this same basic story told many times. The questions arose not because the members fell under the sway of evil anti-Mormon activists or because somehow they came across anti-Mormon literature. This first story happened before the rise of ex-Mormon support groups and even before the advent of computers and the internet.
I heard this story told by Sandra Tanner. It is the story of her husband Jerald Tanner's quest for truth as a teenager during the late 1950's. Instead of relying on the standard LDS answers to questions about the origins of Mormonism, Mr, Tanner did his own research. He read early sources and talked to many sources. After years of study, he finally left the LDS. He and his wife, also ex-Mormon, devoted their lives to helping people discover the truth about the LDS lies. Mr. Tanner died almost 10 years ago but their work continues at the Utah Lighthouse Ministries (ww.utlm.org)
Another story is that of Earl Erskine. I found an episode of "Heart of the Matter", a live video broadcast show based in Utah, where Mr. Erskine told of his journey out of Mormonism. From the beginning of the 2011 episode, I knew that something was different about his story. At the time of the show, Mr. Erskine was still a member of the LDS, still had a temple recommend, and his changed beliefs were unknown to the LDS.
Like Mr. Tanner, Mr. Erskine did not set out to prove the LDS false. Instead, he was simply following the 2005 challenge of the former LDS President Gordon B. Hinkley to read the Book of Mormon in one year. Ever faithful, Mr. Erskine did just that. In fact, he finished early. With the extra time, he challenged himself to read the 1830 publication also. This brought questions. Why were there differences? If the Book of Mormon was the most perfect book even written, why the changes? These changes were significant theologically. The God of the 1830 edition was eternal and of one being with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It took six years of study of LDS approved materials and prayer before Mr. Erskine publicly renounced the LDS.
While the Utah Lighthouse Ministry provides wonderful and factual information about Mormonism, most Mormons will never read any of it. They are told to:
*Avoid the Tanners.
*Avoid anything that will cause them to lose their testament. *Avoid anything that is "Anti-Mormon".
*Avoid researching into troubling aspects of their faith.
Instead, Put it on a Shelf.
Elder Dallin Oaks, Quorum of Twelve Apostle, states the LDS mindset quite succinctly.
"It's wrong to criticize leaders of the church, even if the criticism is true."
Mormon Fraud: A Brief Summary of Mormonism and its Deceptions - Kindle edition by Kristan Payne. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.