[Name of CES Director Removed],
Thank you for responding to my grandfather's request to answer my concerns and questions and for offering your time with me. I appreciate it.
I'm interested in your thoughts and answers as I have been unable to find official answers from the Church for most of these issues. It is my hope that you're going to have better answers than many of those given by unofficial apologists such as FairMormon and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute (formerly FARMS).
I'm just going to be straightforward in sharing my concerns. Obviously, I'm a disaffected member who lost his testimony so it's no secret which side I'm on at the moment. All this information is a result of over a year of intense research and an absolute rabid obsession with Joseph Smith and Church history. With this said, I'd be pretty arrogant and ignorant to say that I have all the information and that you don't have answers. Like you, I put my pants on one leg at a time and I see through a glass darkly. You may have new information and/or a new perspective that I may not have heard or considered before. This is why I'm genuinely interested in what your answers and thoughts are to these issues.
I've decided to put down in writing just about all the major concerns that I have. I went through my notes from my past year of research and compiled them together. It doesn't make sense for me to just lay down 5 concerns while also having 20 other concerns that legitimately challenge the truth claims of the LDS Church.
A quick description of my background might help you understand where I'm coming from. I was a very active and fully believing member my entire life up until around the summer of 2012. My grandpa already outlined my life events to you in his email so I think you get the idea that I accepted and embraced Mormonism.
In February of 2012, I was reading the news online when I came across the following news article: Mormonism Besieged by the Modern Age. In the article was information about a Q&A meeting at Utah State University that LDS Church Historian and General Authority, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, gave in late 2011. He was asked his thoughts regarding the effects of Google on membership and people who are "leaving in droves" over Church history.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen's response:
Maybe since Kirtland, we've never had a period of – I'll call it apostasy, like we're having now; largely over these issues...
This truly shocked me. I didn't understand what was going on or why people would leave "over history." I started doing research and reading books like LDS historian and scholar Richard Bushman's Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling and many others to try to better understand what was happening.
The following issues are among my main concerns.