SALT LAKE CITY -- There are volumes of urban legends about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some are true, but most aren't.
University of Utah alumnus Casey Cummings has created a website dedicated to debunking the various urban legends that surround the LDS community. The site lists hundreds of myths he's heard over the years, but it all started with one in particular.
“I had one companion who was convinced Sting sang the ‘Book of Mormon Stories,’” Cummings said.
Celebrities with Mormon ties might be one of the most popular types of LDS gossip that exist. Cumming’s website certainly began that way, back in 1996 while he was serving a mission in Austria. The Kaysville resident began documenting all the myths and stories he heard being passed between missionaries.
“So every time I’d heard another new one, I’d write it in my journal, and at the time I started thinking, someone should compile all of these and make it into a book,” he said.
After graduating from the University of Utah years later, Cummings got a job in web design and learned how to build websites. At that time, he noticed there were plenty of myth-debunking sites, but not a single one for Mormon myths.
“I thought, here’s my chance to make one, so I did,” Cummings said. “One of the very first myths I put up there is that Sting did not sing the ‘Book of Mormon Stories.’”
Since creating the site holyfetch.com five years ago, Cummings said it has steadily grown in popularity. On average, the creator receives about five to 10 myths emailed to him each week.
He said most can be debunked with a few minutes of research on the Internet
Cummings said: “I get a lot of people asking me, 'Is this celebrity a Mormon? Or is this person Mormon?’ Well, a lot of times that information is just easy to find out. It’ll be on their Wikipedia page half the time.”
Certain events will trigger high traffic on holyfetch.com, Cummings said actor Paul Walker’s death, for example, led to a lot of visitors.
“He was already on my website as someone who grew up in an LDS family, and so when that happened I could tell right away there was a huge influx of visitors to my website,” he said.
Cummings said his favorite myth that turned out to be true was that Brigham Young believed in the Bear Lake monster and even helped try to catch it by lending supplies.
Cummings said the website is for entertainment purposes only, and he can’t guarantee everything on the page is accurate, but the solo owner and operator said he tries his best. Click here to visit the website.