I won't even bother addressing the majority of the article, except to say that the reason for my unbelief, and the unbelief of many others I know, has nothing to do with anything Elder Claudio D. Zivic assumes must be the cause. As with everything I believe or disbelieve in life, for me it comes down to evidence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and in my view, the evidence for the LDS church's extraordinary claims is woefully insufficient. The only way I could hold a literal belief in the LDS church would be for me to decide ahead of time that I would believe, and then twist and interpret the evidence to fit the belief. I did that for long enough to know that I can't do it forever. Plenty of people are able to do it, but I am not one of them.
What concerns me more is the paragraph in which Elder Zivic casually dismisses the possibility that the LDS church is in error. In fact, he goes even further, dismissing the possibility that the LDS church could ever be fundamentally in error. He says,
We need not be concerned about the possibility of another apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege of living in the dispensation of the fulness of times. This gospel dispensation, which began with the Prophet Joseph Smith, is the last one before the Second Coming of the Savior.
First, people have been saying this kind of thing about the end of the world for millennia. Christians have been saying it ever since Jesus was said to have preached that the kingdom of God was near at hand, and that many within the sound of his voice would not taste of death before they saw the Son of Man coming in his glory. Seriously, the second coming has been "any day now" for two thousand years. Joseph Smith, Sr., the first patriarch of the LDS church, gave many, many blessings during the 1830s and 1840s, in which he claimed that the receivers of the blessings would live to see the Second Coming. Shouldn't we start to suspect that maybe "imminent" doesn't mean what we think it means?
Second, and more importantly: "We need not be concerned." The prophet will never lead us astray. Never mind that the prophet led us into polygamy. Never mind that the prophet implemented institutional racism for 130 years. Never mind that the prophet is still implementing institutional sexism. Never mind that the prophet made up a "Egyptian alphabet and grammar" that bears no resemblance to actual Egyptian, and used it to translate a history of Abraham from papyri that have nothing to do with Abraham. Never mind that... never mind that... oh, never mind anything that's not in the Sunday school manual. Anyway, thou shalt not criticize the prophet, and don't worry yourself about any of these "apostate" ideas. We need not be concerned.
It frightens me whenever anyone uses the words "we need not be concerned", especially in reference to religious belief. Advising others to abdicate their responsibility to think critically about their beliefs, and advising them to follow their leaders without question, is extremely dangerous. It's not the kind of advice that would be considered valuable in any arena except religion. "We need not be concerned" leads to tragedies like the Peoples Temple suicide, the September 11 martyrs, and to take a Mormon example, the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This is not melodrama for its own sake; this is what happens when you think you have God on your side, and are not concerned about the possibility of being wrong.
I much prefer the words of my favorite LDS prophet (if I have to pick one), Joseph Smith, Jr. He said,
We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself, should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly. A man of God . . . would despise the idea.
Others, in the extreme exercise of their Almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When the elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.
Need we be concerned about the possibility of being led astray? Despite the assurances of Elder Claudio D. Zivic, there is, indeed, cause for concern.