Dear 100 Hour Board,
Do you think it is wrong to go to websites that openly challenge LDS beliefs? I went to one in order to see some of the criticisms and it wasn't the best experience of my life. Is there any more objective places to find out similar information.
-a clouded open mind
The problem is not the "challeng[ing] LDS beliefs" part, it's the hatred and bigotry espoused by these individuals. They are not seeking to help people decide their beliefs for themselves; rather, they desire to attack the church and anyone that believes the gospel.
It's okay to have questions about the Church or its teachings. Just don't seek out people that aren't interested in actually helping you, but instead wish to use you as a tool in attacking something they despise. Talk to someone you know that (1) has your best interests at heart, and (2) actually understands what the Church teaches. This may be a parent, a friend, a bishop, or somebody else. Seeking out criticism has no purpose.
I think it is unwise to visit such sites (or read anti-Mormon material), even with good intentions, because they are run by people whose intentions are evil and destructive.
If you want information about the differences between our church and others, I'd suggest picking a religion and visiting sites which explain the beliefs of that religion (i.e., visit a pro-Evangelical Christian website instead of an anti-Mormon website). Then look over their beliefs and figure out which ones we agree with, which ones we don't and why. (Are the differences based on modern revelation? A different interpretation of the Bible? Cultural/historical/traditional differences?)
Beliefnet (http://www.beliefnet.org) might be a good place to start, as the site is highly structured and includes accurate information on a wide variety of denominations. (Come to think of it, that site includes a forum where people can attack the Church, and Mormons defend it. I don't think that would be quite as bad as an actively anti-Mormon site, but you'll have to use your own judgement as to whether you want to browse those discussions or not.)
When I decided I wanted to start looking into similar items, I purchased several books from Deseret Book about LDS Apologetics (the countering of critcisms). They allowed me to learn about the criticisms against the church as well as the counters to those criticisms. Once I had a fair grasp on the tactics used (Guess Who Wants To Have You For Lunch http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100028685 is a good one for looking at the tactics), I then felt comfortable picking up a pamphlet or newpaper handed out by anti's at the Hill Cumorah Pageant or the Mormon Miracle Pageant and going through it.
Take that information for what it is worth.