SALT LAKE CITY, UT- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which last year surpassed the 13 million mark in membership, has taken a sharp turn for the worse in recent weeks. Anti-Mormon groups worldwide are claiming responsibility for this plunge in membership, crediting their discovery that the appearance of the word “adieu” in the Book of Mormon is anachronistic, thus proving the church to be a fraud.
The appearance of “adieu” (or as opponents of the church call it, “The Smoking Gun”) occurs just once in the Book of Mormon, at the end of the book of Jacob, in which Jacob writes “to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.” (Jacob 7:27)
However, anti-Mormons say this single appearance is one too many.
“This proves Joseph Smith wasn’t who he said he was,” said Ted McGinley, President of We Know What You Believe Better Than You Do Ministries, a group that specifically points out the flaws of Mormonism. “Adieu is a French word. French didn’t exist when this Jacob character allegedly wrote the Book of Mormon.”
The extreme drop in membership has taken place over the past few weeks. Preliminary surveys show that there may be as few as 5 million Mormons left, and many of those who remain have gone inactive.
“I can’t believe how foolish I was to believe in such a thing my whole life,” said Marley Sorter, 39, of St. George, Utah. “I want to sincerely thank the anti-Mormons for opening my eyes.”
Tonya Hedgewick, 24, of Beaver, Utah, left the church immediately upon hearing the news of adieu appearing in the Book of Mormon. “All these years, I was taught to pray about the truthfulness of this book,” she said. “But now, seeing that Joseph Smith used a word from a language that didn’t exist during Jacob’s time, I think to myself, what’s the point?”
Membership is expected to continue to plunge into 2009, with the possibility the church could be defunct by 2012. There remain some, however, who have remained staunch members of the church, and continue to hold out hope.
Rebekah Corsyn, 30, of Los Angeles, has not left the church, and insists the adieu problem can be worked out. “I’m not sure why this is such an issue,” she said. “Remember, Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon into English, which didn’t exist in Jacob’s time either. Adieu was simply a word he used to best convey what Jacob was saying.”
McGinley points out that attitudes like Corsyn’s are dangerous. “There are still a lot of stubborn Mormons who fall back on ‘logic’ and ‘reason’ to deny our smoking gun evidence,” he said. “Some even tell me they have a ‘testimony’ that it’s true anyway. When will they realize the only way to the truth is to ruthlessly attack your opposition and worry about all that other stuff later?”