So here’s a “Mormon in the know” I guess. Your question indicates that you’ve already passed judgement on the LDS church. I have to wonder why you’re posting this here. I recommend if you’re really interested in balanced reply that you go to the newsgroup soc.religion.mormon. It’s moderated to remove the attacks and slander, and it’s got a reasonable balance of LDS members and non-members who are both friendly and unfriendly to the LDS church.
As for why I am “devout” and why I stay, there are a number of reasons. The primary is a spiritual witness of Jesus Christ–what would be called a testimony. I have a similar witness of the truth of Joseph Smith’s calling and mission, and of the veracity of the Book of Mormon. I also receive continued confirmation and revelation when I’m serving in the LDS church to better the lives of my fellow men and women.
As for hypocrisy, I can find only members who are struggling to overcome it.
As for contradictory doctrine, I can find none.
I have read about detrimental church history and see no cover up. I know about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the splinter groups from the LDS church, etc. and no one hid them from me.
As for the Book of Abraham, you do know about the eyewitness accounts which talk about the number of scrolls being far larger in number than the 11 fragments which survived the Chicago fire, right? You’ve read about how they covered the floor in the house?
I’ve done my research for several years. I’ve read the anti-Mormon literature, and I’ve heard the rhetoric. The majority is slander and outright lying, mixed with a few truths scattered here and there. The rest is misunderstanding and the spewing that results from the hatred of a dark heart.
Trusting the websites of a church that is hostile to the LDS church, or an organization which subsists monetarily by attacking the LDS church is not exactly the best way to go about studying the LDS church. There are more neutral sources if you really want to learn more. You’ll note that Brian Bunnyhurt is quick here to attack the LDS church, but hasn’t listed any citations, or the fact that every single item he lists has been refuted over and over again.
Here’s something even weirder than the whole Joseph Smith story which you must reconcile before you begin to talk about this stuff:
(Are you ready for this?)
We believe that a guy claimed to be the Son of God, was killed, and came back to life three days later.
This is by far the greatest leap of all the things I believe. The rest seem trivial by comparison.