A Christian’s Response to an Invitation to Become a Mormon
by Dave Mitchell
“I think he did a little too much LDS” –Admiral James Kirk explaining Mr. Spock’s strange behavior in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”
Table of Contents (Click on any topic to go to that page; the booklet is reproduced in its entirety following this Table of Contents.)
- The Mormon Priesthood
- The Book of Mormon
- The Most Perfect Book
- Problems from the Start
- Example of Contradiction
- How Are We Saved?
- An Eternal Hell
- There’ll Be Some Changes Made
- Snared by the Words of Their Own Text
- Can’t God Make Up His Mind?
- Space Debris?
- Oops! Sorry, Wrong Tribe?
- What’s in a Name?
- Born Again
- A Matter of Conception
- A Changeable God
- God Is Spirit
- No Second Chances
- Where Is the Abode of God?
- Christians Before Christ
- Thinking Set in Concrete
- Signs, Covenants, and Oaths
- It’s All Greek to Me
- The Trinity
- A Baker’s Dozen
- Whither the Damned?
- Not Just Language Confounded, Doctrine Also
- People Who Live in Glass Barges…
- May I Speak with the Cruise Director?
- Another Problem
- Where’d All the Elephants Go?
- A Premature Moving of the Spirit
- Kiddie Pool?
- A God Who Changes
- Who Do You Trust?
- What Is Not in the Book of Mormon
- A Final Thought
- Other Mormon “Scriptures” Examined (Doctrine & Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price)
- I Bear You My Testimony
- Salvation–How To Be Assured of Eternal Life
- Witnessing to Mormons
- Appendix A — Summary of Mormon Theology
- Appendix B — Glossary of Mormon Terms
- A: Apostate
- B: Bearing a Testimony
- Book of Mormon
- Burning in the Bosom
- C: Chapel
- D: Doctrine and Covenants
- E: Elder
- Eternal Marriage
- Eternal Progression
- F: Family Home Evening
- First Presidency
- G: Garments
- General Authorities
- I: Investigator
- J: Jack Mormon
- Journal of Discourses
- L: LDS
- M: Manifesto
- N: Nephi
- P: Patriarchal Blessing
- Pearl of Great Price
- R: R.M.
- Relief Society
- Reorganized Church
- S: Sacrament Meeting
- Stake President
- Standard Works
- T: Temple
- Temple Ceremony
- W: Ward
- Word of Wisdom
- Z: Zion
- About the Author
- Dedication and Acknowledgements
Introduction: There have been many books written by Ex-Mormons which have wonderful testimonies of how they were lost in the Mormon religious system and ultimately found Jesus Christ and were miraculously saved. I thank God for each of them, and how He has brought them from darkness into light.
This, however, is not such a testimony, for I have never been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although their influence on my life has for the last twenty-three years has been tremendous. I write the following from the perspective of a Christian confronted by the claims of Mormons, and how the Holy Spirit moved me to respond.
I made my decision for Christ September 6, 1959 a month shy of my twelfth birthday. In the coming years, however, as I grew into adulthood, I did not continue strong in the Lord. It was for this reason I had no problem in 1971 marrying a Mormon, a marriage which did not endure. Only a last-minute compromise allowed the marriage to take place outside the Mormon church. Many years and three children later, I now look back on the painful lesson I learned by being unequally yoked with a non-believer in Christ.
Although my ex-wife was excommunicated by the Mormon Church in 1980, after we divorced our three children were all raised as Mormons by their maternal grandparents. Because the Mormons, and now also my children, proceed from a totally different life philosophy than I, relations with my family have been, to say the least, strained.
Challenged by my ex-wife’s family to study and pray about the Latter-day Saint movement, I became closer to the Lord as the Holy Spirit directed me further from the Mormon philosophy and back to the Christ of my youth. In my study, I managed a way to return to college to study the Bible and to seminary where I majored in comparative religions.
Although divorced and remarried, I have been able, through the grace of the Lord to maintain both my license and ordination to preach the gospel. The study of all other beliefs, both non-Christian and pseudo Christian, as well as the beliefs of most Christian denominations, has led me to an appreciation of the things of God and how they relate to all who seek Him. In a way, I suppose I have the Mormons to thank for that.
My ex-father-in-law challenged me to “search the scriptures,” so I thought a good place to begin was with the words “search the scriptures.” The concordance in my Bible led me to John 5:39 where Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” From the start, my search led me not to a religious philosophy but to the person of Jesus Christ… and through His grace I have been saved and born again.
After over twenty-eight years as a broadcast journalist and over twenty-three years as a student of Mormonism, the Lord led me to form LDS Outreach Ministries. The Lord has given me countless opportunities to witness Jesus Christ to Mormons over these years, both in LDS meetinghouses and on the streets. I was also privileged to have that opportunity in Dallas, Texas, in 1983 during the opening of the Mormon Temple in that city. I have also worked with persons who have left the Mormon Church and were seeking Christ, and those who were members of evangelical churches and were being directed by Mormon missionaries to investigate the LDS church.
LDS Outreach Ministries has a two-fold mission from God. First, LDSOM forms and maintains support groups to help those who have left the Mormon Church, or are wanting to leave, giving them prayerful love and a sound doctrinal foundation from the Bible, while leading them to a personal relationship with Christ. Second, LDSOM is charged with educating Christians in all denominations with the truth about Mormonism, and how to prevent church members and others from falling in the trap of being proselyted into the Latter-day Saint organization.
This text basically covers two categories. One, a Christian’s response to the Mormon “scriptures,” including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, and where these fail to live up to their claim to be God’s word. First though, is a logical, yet scriptural look at the Mormon priesthood, the very cornerstone of the Mormon theological system.
In addition to this work, there is a wealth of material by other authors dealing with the basic fundamentals of Mormonism and its comparison with Christianity. I recommend:
- The God Makers by Ed Decker and Dave Hunt
- Mormonism-Hope or Despair? by John L. Smith
- Beyond Mormonism by James R. Spencer
- The Mormon Mirage by Latayne Colvett Scott
- Mormonism-Shadow or Reality by Jerald and Sandra Tanner
- Mormonism, Mama and Me by Thelma Gerr
- The Maze of Mormonism by Walter Martin
[Many of the above books are available as free downloads and/or as eBooks. The above links are for your convenience and are sites from which to purchase them in book form.]
It is the prayerful hope of LDS Outreach Ministries that this work will be used to lead Mormons to Jesus Christ and to build up Christians in the faith. May Our God richly bless you as you read it.
–Dave Mitchell, Hallandale, Florida, November 1994
THE MORMON PRIESTHOOD
In May of 1978, I was challenged by the bishop of a Latter-day Saint ward. He asked me from where my authority to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ came. He asked of what church did I consider myself a member.
Thanks to the witness of the Holy Spirit, I sensed that he was trying to trap me into a corner, and make the point that no church, except the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of course, was God’s true church. I replied that I was a Christian, and the local congregation where my membership was registered has nothing to do with the commission Christ had given me in the 28th chapter of Matthew, to tell the world the good news of Jesus.
He did not give up. “But the local congregation where you worship and fellowship,” he probed, “must have a name.” Seeing that a game of spiritual volleyball was about to break loose, I capitulated. “My church,” I told him, “is a local congregation of the Assembly of God. But,” I continued, “that is not germane to the issue of authority.”
Nevertheless, his face lit up in glee. He now had the springboard to launch his case for his organization and against me and ultimately what I, and many others, consider orthodox Christianity.
He began with a leading question. “You don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is, or was ever God’s Only True Church, do you?”
Reluctantly, I began to follow his lead. “No, I don’t believe I do.”
“Up until the Protestant Reformation in the 15th century,” he went on, showing a degree of knowledge of church history which somewhat surprised me, “the Roman Catholic Church was the only remnant of the church begun by Jesus, left on the face of the earth. They claimed that Christ’s disciple Peter was their first Pope, and apostolic succession continues from there. You don’t believe this doctrine is correct, do you?”
“No. But that doesn’t mean I believe that Catholics are not Christians.” I wanted to make that point very clear.
“I understand,” he continued, “but let’s look at what happened from the Reformation. Martin Luther’s church, now known as the Lutherans, were formed out of the Roman Catholic Church. Remember, Luther was a Catholic priest. Out of Luther’s movement grew the Wesleyan groups, begun by John and Charles Wesley, two of which are now known as the Methodists and the Nazarenes. Around the beginning of the 20th century, a number of Wesleyan’s who began speaking in tongues began the Pentecostal movement. The largest Pentecostal denomination is your church, the Assembly of God.”
I knew at this point he was moving in for the kill. He shifted his argument to an analogy. “A living vine cannot grow out of a dead branch. You yourself have admitted the Roman Catholic church was not God’s True Church. If the Roman Catholic Church was a dead branch, the Lutherans, Methodists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, and finally your church, the Assembly of God, are dead branches and do not have the authority of God Almighty!”
Now came the close of his sales pitch. “Tree branches,” he said, “bring forth fruit. Jesus said in Luke chapter three and verse nine that trees that don’t bear good fruit are cut down by axe at the root. Dead branches bear no fruit. How much more is a dead branch an abomination to God. This is why God called the prophet Joseph Smith to restore the gospel which had been lost from the earth in apostasy. I’m not saying there’s no good in your church. There’s some good in all churches, but your cannot be the True Church of Jesus Christ.”
Now came the thrust. When God restored the True Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He also restored the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods. Without holding the priesthood, no person has the right to minister in the name of the Lord. Only the priesthood found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the authority!” At this point I realized that to continue with him was fruitless. He was not going to change that which the Holy Spirit had already made real in my mind and spirit. And certainly I wasn’t going to argue him into the Kingdom of God. No one ever has been.
I told this bishop the Holy Spirit had revealed to me that Christ had died on the cross for my sins, and by trusting in this death, and His resurrection, and not works of righteousness, such as church membership, I had direct fellowship with My Father. I told him His commandment to me to go into all the world and bring lost souls to Christ was my authority to present the Gospel.
I concluded the encounter by saying that it appeared we had reached a stalemate and unless he accepted Jesus Christ personally and not a religious system, to bring him into fellowship with God, we had nothing further to discuss.
That was many years ago. I have replayed that meeting countless times in my mind. Since that time the Holy Spirit has taught me many additional things concerning the encounter with the bishop and I feel inclined to expound on them in this writing.
The first thing I want to do is explain through the Word of God, and through good old-fashioned common sense, that while my church, or any other Bible-believing, evangelical church does not claim to be the One True Church of God on the earth today, it is by no means a “dead branch,” and indeed has not only God’s blessings, but also the authority to publish abroad the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The second thing I want to demonstrate is that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as proved FROM THEIR OWN WRITINGS cannot possibly possess the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods they claim–and since they do not have these, BY THEIR OWN STANDARDS they do not have the authority of God.
The first error the bishop made was not knowing church history correctly. While I was surprised he knew about the Protestant Reformation, he incorrectly supposed where it began. I suspect his faulty information came from the 1976 book by Mormon apologist LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. In the first chapter, Richards quotes the late Mormon apostle Orson F. Whitney. Whitney told the story of a “learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church,” who is never identified.
Whitney claimed this unnamed man was a great scholar and spoke perhaps twelve languages and was versed in theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. He was quoted as saying,
“You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.”
Whether these words were spoken by a “learned Catholic scholar,” or not, we will never know. The quote, being undocumented, was either made…or made up by zealous Mormon apologists, but in either case amounts to nothing but “Protestant bashing” by a party or parties that either know nothing of church history or are attempting to suppress it.
One does not have to be so much as a first year student of theorems and logic to quickly discern the false premise from which this thinking proceeds. The conclusion is reached because the idea begins with a given that only one of two schools of thought is incorrect, either Mormonism or Catholicism. No thought is given to what the conclusion might be if there are problems with both points of view.
Let me again, at this point, repeat this defense is by no means an attack on Catholics. There are many wonderful Christian people who are members of the Roman Catholic Church, just as there are Christians in all churches. It is these people who are Christians regardless of their church membership, not because of it.
Now, as we weigh all the possibilities of who is right and who is wrong, we can take an objective look at church history and see the failure of the attempts of the Mormons to make their case.
In 1931, Dr. J. M. Carroll, of Lexington Kentucky, a true scholar of church historical Christianity, published a work entitled The Trail of Blood. Dr. Carroll was careful to point out the direct line of succession from the time Jesus established His church in Mark 3:16-18 to the current day. Carroll’s work clearly shows a succession from Christ up through today, not through the political structure of any one church or a lineage of churches, but rather through the “ekklesia.”
“Ekklesia” is a Greek word which is rendered in most English translations of the Bible as “church.” Most scholars and lexicons would more properly render this word as “those called out.” The “ekklesia” or church is not-according to the New Testament–a particular religious organization, in instead member of the Church Universal, those “saints” (Gr.: hagios, “sacred ones”) who God has called to be his own–some in this church group, some in that, and so on.
From Jesus’ time, the succession continued with the disciples first being called Christians at Antioch in Acts 11: 26, through the early Church Fathers such as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Eusebius, and others. When the Emperor Constantine issued a call in 313 A.D. inviting churches to send representatives to form a council, there were those who refused, opposing him. The emperor was ultimately named the head of the organization that became the State Church. Those outside of this organization continued to follow the Lord and the unalterable authority of the Word of God, apart from the State Church.
When the papacy was officially established 500 years after Christ by Leo II, again there were those outside the Roman establishment who received their authority from the Scriptures and not from the claims of Rome. When the Mother Church split into the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox branches in 869, those members of the “ekklesia” were found to be all over the known world, mostly in Europe. By 1200, these groups, known by such names as the Arnoldists, the Albigenses, and the Waldenses were spreading the Gospel throughout what is now Germany, Poland, England, Wales and other areas.
When Luther came along in 1530, it was not his intention to start a new denomination. Luther wanted reforms in the Roman Church, but was rejected. His followers, the Lutherans, and the other groups of the Protestant Reformation were merely coming into the knowledge those of the “ekklesia” had since Christ–that man is justified by grace through faith, not works; and there is a priesthood of the individual believer, because the Scriptures declare the only mediator between God and man is Christ, according to 2 Timothy 2:5.
When Christians in various churches migrated to the Americas in the last four centuries, new denominations were established, including those Pentecostal churches established around the turn of the 20th Century. These were formed after the miraculous moving of the Holy Spirit in Topeka, Kansas, and on Azuza Street in California. This was, Pentecostals believe, the fulfillment of Hosea 6:3 in which it was promised that God’s Holy Spirit would come in two outpourings, the Former Rain (which occurred in Acts 2) and the Latter Rain in the last days.
The Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, said he was called by God to establish the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because there had been an apostasy, or falling away of the original church. In the Pearl of Great Price, Smith wrote in the section called Joseph Smith–History, chapter 1, verse 19, that the creeds of ALL others “were an abomination in his [God’s] sight; that those professors [professing Christians] were all corrupt….”
On the other hand, Jesus, who being God, knew the future of His Church, said in Matthew 16:18 there would be NO apostasy. He said the gates of hell would never prevail against the church–and they never have.
Now for a little history of the Mormon Church. You will recall the bishop who challenged me said there was no authority to minister in the name of the Lord without holding the priesthood. Does the Mormon church hold that priesthood? Let’s see.
On May 15, 1829, Joseph Smith claims he and Oliver Cowdery went into a wooded area to pray. They were supposedly visited by a being from the spirit world identified as John the Baptist. Smith said the John conferred upon them the Aaronic priesthood, “which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and baptist by immersion for the remission of sins….”
Smith, at what he said was the direction of John, first baptized Cowdery then Cowdery baptized Smith. They then laid hands on each other which Smith said ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood. It was necessary for Smith and Cowdery to baptize and lay hands on one another because John, who baptized during his earthly ministry, was a spirit being who could not perform the task on someone with a physical body. This is why the Mormons baptize for the dead in their temples. Living Mormons stand in proxy for dead relatives and others so they can be baptized and receive the laying on of hands. This is a significant fact as will soon be shown.
Now comes the question, where did John the Baptist get the authority to confer the Aaronic priesthood? He never held it during his earthly life. For starters, he never served as a Levite priest. He wore skins of unclean animals. A Levite priest would never be caught dead wearing anything unclean, lest he be cut off from his office as well as his people. He ate locusts which were also unclean. Finally, he baptized people which was certainly not a Levitical duty.
If John the Baptist did not hold the Aaronic priesthood during his earthly life, could he have received it in the spirit world after death? Without a physical body? Absolutely preposterous! How can hands be laid on a spirit? The Mormons themselves acknowledge the impossibility of this scenario when they admit John as a spirit being could not have laid hands and baptized Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery!
Every Mormon elder today who claims to hold the Aaronic priesthood received it from someone who received it from someone else, and so on all the way back to Joseph and Oliver. But if they never got it from John the Baptist or anywhere else, no one in the Mormon Church today has it!!
What then is the Aaronic Priesthood? Nothing in the Old or New Testaments, nor in Church History ever existed with that specific title. The Levitical priesthood was merely those duties which were established by God through Moses and first ministered by Aaron. The priesthood succeeded from Aaron and his sons through the tribe of Levi for 1400 years.
When Christ died on the cross for our sins, He became our High Priest. His once-and-for-all sacrifice became the final blood that needed to be shed for the sins of all. The veil of the temple was rent in two. The office of High Priest, or Levite Priest, or Aaronic Priest, or whatever on might wish to call it, was no longer needed.
According to the second edition of the Mormon reference work Mormon Doctrine by Bruce McConkie, page 478, the Melchizedek or Higher Priesthood was restored in June of 1829 when the Apostles Peter, James and John supposedly appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowerdy. Everything on the Earth, the Mormons say, is subject to the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
McConkie echoes over 160 years of Mormon thinking when he says that
“…without the Melchizedek Priesthood, salvation in the kingdom of God would not be available for men on earth, for the ordinances of salvation–the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, for instance–could not be authoritatively performed. Thus, as far as all religious organizations now existing are concerned, the presense or absence of this priesthood establishes the divinity or falsity of a professing church.” McConkie goes on to add, “If there is no Melchizedek Priesthood on earth, the true Church is not here and the gospel of Christ is not available to men. But where the Melchizedek Priesthood is, there is the kingdom, the Church, and the fulness of the gospel.”
In the first place, McConkie has fallen into the trap, or is attempting to push others into the trap of confusing the “ekklesia,” the called-out believers, with a religious organization when using the term church or True Church. And yet surprisingly, orthodox Christianity would agree with McConkie’s statement. There is an enormous difference, however, between what the Mormons call the Melchizedek Priesthood and what God calls it, as we will ultimately see.
The ultimate question is, does the Mormon Church hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, and if not, who does? To learn the answers to these questions we begin by learning what God says the Melchizedek priesthood is.
To start this study, first it must be asked, who was Melchizedek? In Genesis 1:18, Melchizedek, who was both King of Salem, now known as Jerusalem, and priest of the Most High God, brought forth bread and wine to Abraham following the patriarch’s military victory at the valley of Shaveh. Abraham paid a tithe, a tenth of all the spoil from his victory to Melchizedek.
Considering that the Old Testament contains types and foreshadows of the New Testament, in this narrative, Melchizedek, according to Hebrews 7:1-10, is the prophetic forerunner of Christ. Melchizedek is the King of Salem, or in Hebrew, shalom, or peace. Hebrews 7 also calls Melchizedek the king of righteousness. Christ, of course, is Our Righteousness, and the King of Our Peace.
The entire book of Hebrews is written around the theme that Jesus is Our Great High Priest–the mediator between God and man, Who continually makes intercession on our behalf before the Father. When we sin, we have Jesus Christ as Our Advocate, Our Attorney, pleading our case before God. He wins our righteousness before the Father which He secured on Calvary’s cross.
Melchizedek is paid tithes by Abraham in the same manner we pay our tithes and offerings as He is revealed in Jesus Christ. The bread and wine are types of the body and blood of Christ which are also typified through the Passover meal as the Lord’s Supper. Furthermore, although there are other foreshadows of Christ found in the Old Testament characters, Melchizedek is the only person in the Bible, other than Jesus, that holds the offices of both priest and king.
The most important typology of Christ found in Melchizedek is seen in the fact that, as Hebrews 7:3 puts it, Melchizedek was, “without father, without mother, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God….” Melchizedek had no recorded beginning or ending to his life. Certainly, as a mortal human this does not mean he was eternal, but he was rather a type of the Eternal Christ. As an aside here, it can be noted that only the Christ of orthodox Christianity, Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise is eternal.
The Latter-day Christ, no matter how many times he is referred to in Mormon writings as eternal, is, by the Mormon’s own definition not eternal. The Mormon Jesus Christ was created by the union of a heavenly father called Elohim and one of his many wives. The Mormons even say Elohim himself was a created being, once a man, who lived on a planet near a star called Kolob. A being with a beginning is not eternal.
The Jesus of Christianity has existed from eternity past and will exist into eternity future. He is called in Revelation 1:8 as the Alpha and Omega, existing before anything else in the universe. In Isaiah 41:4 God calls Himself the first and the last. Why? Because the Eternal Christ and the Eternal Father are one in the same.
Christ was not a created being. He created all things Himself as evidenced in John’s gospel, chapter 1, verse 3 which says, “All thing were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” Colossians 1:16 declares, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” The Mormon cannot know the Eternal Christ because his theology does not support an Eternal Christ.
Christ is called a priest “after the order of” both Aaron and Melchizedek. These four words are most important to our understanding. The words in the King James “after the order of” or kata ten taxis in the Greek might be better rendered “according to” or “in the same manner as” Melchizedek. In other words, Jesus Christ was both Priest and King IN THE SAME MANNER AS Melchizedek and not the holder of some religious office or created by the Mormons!
The Levitical priesthood, incorrectly called the Aaronic Priesthood by the Latter-day Saints, was the daily ministering of the Levite priest in the Holy Place and the annual ministering in the Holy of Holies. It is “in this same manner” that Jesus Christ is Our High Priest, ministering daily as Our Advocate before the Father.
Christ, at His death on the cross, entered once for all into the Holy of Holies to perform the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The high priest holds that office for life. When Aaron died, the priestly duties were passed on to his offspring. As long as Jesus Christ lives, He and He alone remains our High Priest. It is Jesus Christ who God’s Word calls in Hebrews 7:21 “a priest forever.” The Bible goes on to say that there were truly many priests, but they were not allowed to continue by reason of death. Their priesthood was transferred one to another. But Jesus Christ lives, and lives forever, his priesthood CAN NEVER BE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER!
There is a single Greek word in Hebrews 7:24 that confirms this. This word is aparabatos. In the King James, it is “unchangeable.” This word can also be rendered “untransferable,” but in the fullness of the Greek, “ekklesia” or “church” which exists on earth as Christ living in the believer. Paul calls this, in Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Praise God, the gospel of Christ, the good news of salvation IS available to men today, because of the Melchizedek Priesthood, held not by Joseph Smith and his followers, but by Christ and Christ alone forever.
THE BOOK OF MORMON
My ex-father-in-law, who has been an elder in the LDS church since 1954, many years ago challenged me to read the Book of Mormon and, according to Moroni 10:4, pray about whether or not it was the word of God. I did so, but I also told him that the truth of God was based in facts and in faith and not in a simple subjective feeling. For example, if one person has a feeling the Book of Mormon was false, how is it then determined who is correct in their feeling?
Over the past years, I have read the Book of Mormon through at least twice and God has answered my prayers by continuing to reveal to me the truth about it. He has used many avenues, including speaking directly to my heart to reveal the truth–that this book is NOT God’s Word, that it contradicts the Bible, it contradicts itself, and contains many absurdities that would be hilarious if the choice to believe in it were not such a grave matter.
The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, Junior, called the Book of Mormon, “…the most perfect book ever written….” Three times in one of his other “inspired” works, the Doctrine and Covenants, in sections 20, 27, and 42, he stated that the Book of Mormon contained the FULNESS of the Gospel. And yet as will be shortly shown, the Book of Mormon contains almost none of the doctrines peculiar to the Mormon Church.
One thing the Book of Mormon does contain is a great number of absurdities and inconsistencies, which should be considered strange for the “most perfect book ever.”
The first inconsistency with the Book of Mormon is found in the very second verse of the volume: I Nephi 1:2. The writer, Nephi, son of Lehi, said he was making a record of the story of the supposed migration of Lehi’s family from Jerusalem to the Americas in the language of his father, which consisted of the “learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” Breathes there a Jew today that would not have a problem with that statement.
Being of Jewish descent myself, I can assure you there would be no greater abomination of the Hebrew that to be caught writing or speaking the language of his enemy–an enemy who held him is slavery for 400 years! And furthermore this was not supposed to be ordinary writing. This was supposedly a holy record–scripture itself!
How does God feel about a prophet writing in a language of an idol worshipping people? In Nehemiah 13:24-25, God refused to allow the continuation of a bloodline in which the children of His people spoke in the language of an idolatrous nation. These Jews were cursed and made to swear an oath to God their sons and daughters would not continue that generation.
The bottom line is that if Nephi wrote his record in the language of the Egyptians, if could certainly not be the word of God or have his blessings.
Not only does the Book of Mormon contradict the Bible but it contradicts itself. 2 Nephi 5:15-16 talks about construction of the temple supposedly in the Americas by the Nephites. It says, “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, of silver, and of precious ores, WHICH WERE IN GREAT ABUNDANCE.” (not original emphasis)
The very next verse–THE VERY NEXT VERSE!!!–says, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple, and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were NOT build of so many precious things; FOR THEY WERE NOT TO BE FOUND UPON THE LAND….” (not original emphasis)
Either the items were found upon the land or they weren’t. The sixteenth verse totally ignores the previous verse and turns the meaning completely around. What an error! If I were going to concoct something like the Book of Mormon and try to pass it off as Holy Scripture, you would think I would have enough sense to proofread it!
If these two verses are God’s Word, they were surely written by a god who can’t make up his mind the way something happened.
Much of the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the King James Version of the Bible. This is why Mormons insist they use only the KJV, even though Joseph Smith made his own “inspired” version which is used today by the Reorganized Church, headquartered in Missouri. Mormons proudly point to the similarities between the Book of Mormon and the KJV to prove the former’s veracity as the Word of God. This however, proves nothing.
Anyone can write something, stick lots of random KJV text in it and say, “Look! It must be scripture for the text compares with the Bible.” This is absurd. And to prove Joseph Smith, who claimed he translated the Book of Mormon from “reformed Egyptian” by the “gift and power of God,” merely copied the KJV, one needs only to turn to 2 Nephi 15:25. This verse copied from Isaiah reads, “…and the hills did tremble, and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the streets.”
The key word here is “torn.” The word is also “torn” in the KJV, but in the original Hebrew, the word is suchah which means “as refuse.” The text should read, “…and their carcasses were AS REFUSE in the midst of the streets.”
The King James Version of the Bible is a very beautiful and time-honored translation. But it does contain a tiny few areas of shakily done translation. This is why it is important to study the Bible with several different translations, and to return to the original Greek and Hebrew where necessary. Of course, Joseph Smith, not being a learned student of the Bible, and having only the KJV at his disposal could not know the word suchah was “as refuse.” This obviously means that he did not possess the “gift and power of God” when making his “translation.”
The LDS make a great deal over the fact that we are saved, or made righteous with God by our good works and obedience to the commandments. They choose to use the term “exaltation” rather that salvation. At the same time, they say the Book of Mormon teaches Mormon doctrine. And yet I have counted 17 doctrines peculiar to Mormonism not found in this book which Joseph Smith claimed contained the “fullness of the gospel.” In fact the Book of Mormon contradicts most of these doctrines. I am not saying here that the Book of Mormon teaches Christianity. What I am saying is its theology is closer to what orthodox Christians believe than what Mormons believe.
The first of these contradictions one runs across when reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning is found in 2 Nephi 25:23. Are we saved, or “exalted” by obedience, tithing, fasting, being married in the temple–or are we saved through the finished work of Christ through the grace of God? This passage says, “…believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.”
This is very similar to Ephesians 2:8-9 that says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The passage in 2 Nephi actually takes the idea of being saved, exalted, or whatever, by grace and solidifies it A STEP FURTHER! It says “after all we can do.” In other words, all our trying to get ourselves saved is fruitless. We do it all and get nowhere. When God does it all, it happens! Not exactly Mormon doctrine.
Mormonism teaches there are three degrees of glory. They use 2 Corinthians 12:2 as their proof-text, saying if Paul was caught up to the third heaven, there must be at least two others. And I agree. There are three heavens. The first heaven is the clouds and the atmospheric heavens (such as “the B-17 took to the heavens to seek our enemy planes”), as seen in Genesis 1:8, Psalms 77:17-18, and Psalms 104:2-3.
The second heaven is the starry space, in other words, the solar system, the Milky Way, the physical universe (such as “the planets Mars and Venus are our closest heavenly neighbors”), as born out in Genesis 15:5, Genesis 22:17, Genesis 26:4, Deuteronomy 1:10, Isaiah 13:10, and Isaiah 14:13. Third heaven is the abode of God, the place with many mansions that Jesus went to prepare for us as seen in Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 14:12-14, Isaiah 66:1 and Revelation 21, verses 2 and 10.
The Mormon idea of three heavens is, first, the Celestial Heaven where the most faithful Mormons go, the Terrestrial Heaven where the less than totally obedient Mormons and other religious people, such as Christians go; and finally the Telestial Kingdom where the unholy wind up. These ideas, quite naturally, are fantasy, and have absolutely no Biblical support.
The Mormons do believe there is a place called Spirit Prison, where the “sons of perdition” go. These are excommunicated Mormons and others who stand in direct opposition to the Mormon system. Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie says in his book Mormon Doctrine that these “wicked ones can escape Spirit Prison.” “Repentance,” says McConkie, “opens the prison doors to the spirits in hell; it enables those bound with the chains of hell to free themselves from darkness, unbelief and sin.” He further states that they can leave that which “…imprisons them and dwell with the righteous in the peace of paradise.”
The Bible, of course, teaches no such second chance to redeem oneself beyond the grave. And even though the Mormons boldly declare there is no fiery lake of everlasting punishment as the Bible says, the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 28:23 says “Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, WHICH IS ENDLESS TORMENT.” (not original emphasis)
Nephi believed in an eternal punishment of the wicked, why doesn’t the LDS?
The Mormon Church insists there have been no changes in their scriptures although a study would show that there have been literally thousands of changes in the Book of Mormon over the years. When shown the differences between early editions of the Book of Mormon and the current one, most Mormons generally say, “those were mostly punctuation and grammatical changes.” This is ignorance of the facts on their part since in addition to the over 3,000 doctrinal changes, there have been several thousand more made in syntax and punctuation. Usually appeals to check non-Mormon publications, which graphically show the changes, fall on deaf ears.
Assured by his bishop, the Mormon will challenge those stating there are changes to show even one. Here is a glaring change that can answer that challenge rather quickly. A 1961 edition of the Book of Mormon is fairly easy to come by. One can usually be found in a public library or used book store. Many Mormons still have them in their homes. Turn to 2 Nephi 30:6. It says, “And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto to them from the hand of God; and their scales of darkness shall begin to fall away from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away, save they shall be a WHITE and delightsome people.” (not original emphasis)
The 1982 edition of the Book of Mormon, also called Another Testament of Jesus Christ, renders this passage “…they shall be a PURE and delightsome people.” And the footnote, cross-referencing 2 Nephi 5:21 has been eliminated from the 1982 edition. Why? Because of the 1978 “revelation” by the prophet of the church that those of the Negroid race were no longer under a curse of God that denied their males the priesthood. While one might suppose it could be considered commendable to extend the priesthood to all Mormon men regardless of color, that does not give the right of current Mormon theologians to change what God supposedly wrote 2500 years ago.
By the way, it is interesting to note the ridiculousness of the “white and delightsome” doctrine. The Book of Mormon teaches the Lamanites, the unrighteous decendants of Laman, son of Lehi and brother of Nephi, were cursed of God. This curse was supposed because the Lamanites destroyed the Nephites in a series of great battles on the American continent.
According to the book of Mormon, a Lamanite accepting the “gospel” would be miraculously transformed into a “white and delightsome person.” Here’s the problem: There are many American Indians, who the Mormons say are descendants of the Lamanites, who have accepted Mormonism and have been baptized into church membership. I know a few. Not one I know has ever turned into a Caucasian. If one ever did, the television networks and other national media would have a field day. Needless to say, this has never happened and never will.
One of the amazing things about the Book of Mormon is its claim to be a record of ancient peoples living on the American continents long before western civilization developed. A problem occurs, however, when one examines some of the individual words found in the Book of Mormon.
In 1 Nephi 10:9-10 the word “baptize” is found. The word baptizo, meaning “I immerse,” from which “baptize” comes, is one of three Greek words found in the first two books of Nephi. The first passage in 1 Nephi was supposedly written in 592 B.C. In 2 Nephi 29:3, supposedly written in 45 B.C., the word “Bible” is used. This word comes from biblos meaning “collection of books.” The word “apostle” is found in 1 Nephi 14:20, which the Book of Mormon says was written in 592 B.C. This word comes from the Greek “apostolus” meaning “messenger.” Suffice it to say that none of these words existed almost 600 years before Christ, long before the Greek language developed. It is a shame (or perhaps, a blessing for our study) that Joseph Smith did not do his homework before putting together the Book of Mormon.
Another problem arises in 2 Nephi 26:26. Nephi says, “…Behold, hath he commanded any that they should depart out of the SYNAGOGUES, or out of the houses of worship? Behold, I say unto you, Nay.” (not original emphasis) Synagogues? How did Nephi know about synagogues? The synagogue was an establishment created in the times between the Old and New Testaments. They certainly weren’t around when Nephi, Laman, and their father Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem for the Americas. The Book of Mormon footnote lists this time as between 559 and 545 B.C.
This word study becomes even more preposterous when one looks at Jacob 7:27. It’s the French word adieu. Adieu? ADIEU??? There, of course, was no French language around in 421 B.C. when this was supposed to have been written.
It gets even worse. The 40th chapter Alma is also page 30 of the Westminster Confession, a product of the Protestant Reformation thousands of years later. The ultimate absurdity is found in 2 Nephi 1:14. This verse is a Shakespearian quote, of all things, taken from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, line 80. Poor Willy Shakespeare. He deliberately plagiarized the son of Lehi some 2000 years later, after this “prophet” wrote the same words in Egyptian on a continent discovered by western man only a few years before Shakespeare’s birth. Can you see the foohardiness of believing anything such as this to be the Word of God?
Even though the official line of the Mormon Church has been an opposition to polygamy since the Manifesto issued by President Wilford Woodruff on October 6, 1890, Joseph Smith not only advocated, but encouraged the practice, saying complete exaltation was not possible without it. Even current elders in the church plan polygamous relationships in the next life. To say that polygamy is a basic tenant of the Mormonism is at best a gross understatement.
Smith even backed up this doctrine with a “revelation” from God. Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 1, says, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, JUSTIFIED my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines.” (not original emphasis)
Smith says God revealed to him that David and Solomon and the others were justified by Him BECAUSE of their practice of polygamy. What does the Book of Mormon say about polygamy? It strongly condemns the practice. Jacob 2:23-28 is most emphatic in its denunciation of David and Solomon’s polygamy. In fact, verse 24 reads, “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was ABOMINABLE before me, saith the Lord.” (not original emphasis)
On one hand, God spoke to Joseph and said polygamy brings justification. But he told Jacob of the Book Mormon it was an abomination. Either it was necessary for Jacob’s justification, or Smith’s practice was an abomination. It can’t be both. Mormon scripture (Doctrine and Covenants) has contradicted Mormon scripture (Book of Mormon), or God just can’t seem to make up his mind.
Orthodox Christian doctrine teaches that God created the earth and the universe by His spoken Word. Genesis 1:3 says, “And God SAID, Let there be light: and there was light.” God merely spoke all of creation into existence from non-existence. Job 26:7 says, “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”
Mormonism is in opposition to this teaching. Joseph Smith said that the world was not created in this fashion but rather organized out of “space debris.” In explaining Smith’s revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 93:33, Bruce McConkie says, “It is an utter false and uninspired notion to believe the world or any other thing was created out of nothing….”
Christianity says God spoke the worlds into existence, Joe and Bruce say “no way.” What does the Book of Mormon say? Jacob 4:9 says, “…by the power of his word man came upon the earth, which was created by the power of his word. Where, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created….” Again, who are we to believe? Can we believe a theological system that so severely contradicts itself right in the pages of what it claims to be holy scripture, “inspired by God?”
The Book of Mormon tells of how the Lamanites made offerings and sacrifices unto God. Mosiah 2:3 states, “And they also took of their firstlings of their flocks, that they might offer sacrifices and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses….” But something is wrong here.
In Alma 10:3, the Book of Mormon specifically states that the Nephites and Lamanites were descendants of the tribe of Manasseh. According to the law of Moses, no one from the tribe of Manasseh, or any other tribe but Levi for that matter, could offer sacrifices! Exodus chapters 28 to 31 and Numbers 3:7 are most explicit about this. Reference is also found in Nehemiah 7:63-65, and in the New Testament in Hebrews 7:12-14. No one other than a Levite, and more specifically, one of the sons of Aaron could offer sacrifices.
For someone else to offer sacrifices up to God would be an abomination. if the Nephites and Lamanites of the Book of Mormon were making burnt offerings, either they did so in defiance of a Holy God, or maybe the story never happened at all.
Mormons base much of their theology around the belief that we are placed in right standing with God not through faith, but rather by good works. The Mormon missionary working to win converts quotes liberally from the book of James in the King James Bible, emphasizing verses that declare “faith without works is dead.”
Of course, the Christian would agree. However in the case of the Mormon “restored gospel,” we have a reversal of “cause and effect.” The Latter-day Saint would say that we must perform acts of righteousness in order to be saved, or as the Mormons say “exalted.” The Christian, on the other hand, would say that good works prove that one has already placed his faith in Jesus Christ, and would agree with the words of James in chapter two, verse 18, who says, “I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
The Bible is quite clear that salvation is not obtained through any works when it says in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name [Jesus] given among men whereby we must be saved.”
So how are we saved? By obedience to the restored gospel, as the LDS church requires, or through the name of Jesus? The Book of Mormon echoes Acts 4:12 and contradicts Mormon theology in Mosiah 3:167 by decreeing, “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”
It is amazing that Joseph Smith’s “most perfect book ever written” doesn’t even preach Mormonism? It preaches a right relationship with God through the name of Jesus–something which again points out the contradictions between Mormonism and what its “scriptures” say.
Jesus Christ, speaking to the Jewish ruler Nicodemus, was quite clear when he said that no man could enter into the Kingdom of God without having been born a second time. Jesus went to explain Himself by saying that the first birth is by water. Anyone who knows about the physical birth of a human being knows this. Jesus then said we must be born again, this time of the Spirit, or “from above.” He explained how in John 3:16, the most often quoted verse of the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You will note here that Jesus did NOT say, “Whosoever is baptized,” “Whosoever is obedient to the ordinances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” or “Whosoever believes Joseph Smith to be a prophet,” will enter into the Kingdom of God.
Mormons do not ordinarily use the Biblical term “born again” and in fact, most do not understand the term in it’s scriptural sense. Although what Jesus said in John chapter three comes though with crystal clarity, the Mormon has had his vision clouded by leaders of his organization who denounce the Biblical position that it is ONLY by attaining a personal relationship with Christ can we be placed in right-standing with God.
Bruce McConkie, in an address entitled “Our Relationship with the Lord” which was delivered at a Brigham Young University devotional held March 2, 1982, attacked all who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, when he proclaimed, “Those who truly love the lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential BARRIER between themselves and all the members of the Godhead. (not original emphasis)
“I am well aware that some who have prayed for endless hours feel they have a special and personal relationship with Christ that they never had before. I wonder if this is any or much different, however, from the feelings of fanatical sectarians who with glassy eyes and fiery tongues assure us they have been saved by grace and are assured of a place with the Lord in a heavenly abode, when in fact they have never even received the fullness of the gospel.
“I wonder if it is not part of Lucifer’s system to make people feel they are special friends of Jesus when in fact they are not following the normal and usual pattern of worship found in the true Church.” McConkie, speaking as one of the General Authorities of the Latter-day Saints, has made it abundantly plain the born-again experience as described in the Bible is not for the Mormon.
Does the Book of Mormon echo LDS doctrine on this subject. Mosiah 27:24-26 quotes the character Alma as saying, “For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be BORN AGAIN; yea, born of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.” (not original emphasis)
It sounds more like Alma is speaking of biblical Christianity rather than Mormonism. Once again, the leadership of the LDS has contradicted the Book of Mormon.
Mormons truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father in the literal sense. They honestly believe that God the Father (and not the Holy Spirit) visited Mary nine months before the birth of Jesus and had physical relations with her. This idea seems almost abominable to a Christian. The point is, however, if Mary had physical relations with God the Father, Joseph, or anyone else for that matter, she could not be a virgin at time of Jesus’ birth. The matter is as plain as black and white. In order to believe the way the Mormons do, one cannot believe in a virgin birth.
Does the Book of Mormon support this? Alma 7:10 states, “…And behold, he shall be born of Mary of Jerusalem (not Bethlehem?) which is in the land of our forefathers, she being a VIRGIN, a precious chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.” (not original emphasis)
Again, the Book of Mormon has contradicted the current teachings of the Mormon church. Either Mary was a virgin as stated in the Book of Mormon or she wasn’t. This is an issue in which there is certainly no middle ground. The Mormon who would read this passage in Alma would certainly become confused, and rightly so.
Mormons make much over “continuing or progressive revelation.” In other words, doctrine that is correct today might not be correct tomorrow. That is why the Mormons believe they must have a modern day prophet to lead them. While Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Final Word on any subject, Mormons believe God speaks through the prophet and can change anything said or done in the past. An example of this can be found in the 1978 “revelation” from then-President Spencer W. Kimball concerning those of the Negroid race.
For 148 years, the Mormon church denied their priesthood to Blacks. This was because Brigham Young, probably a racist, claimed October 16, 1859, in the Journal of Discourses 7:290-291 that the curse of “…a flat nose and black skin….” had been place on the descendants of Cain (Blacks).
Then the “revelation” of 1978 came saying that black men (no woman, regardless of color, was eligible) could now receive the fullness of the ‘gospel,” which included the priesthood. The real reason for this was not the growing U.S. civil rights movement, but rather the Mormons’ situation in Brazil. Anyone, according to pre-1978 Mormon teachings, who had as one drop of negro blood in them could not hold the priesthood, and therefore could not participate in ceremonies in any Mormon temple. Most Brazilians have some African blood, and the Mormons quickly discovered although they had a new temple in Brazil, no one could enter it!
So, God changed. He was a God who forever cursed Blacks, and then became a God who blessed Blacks. This is only one example. Mormonism is loaded with times God “see-sawed” on the issues…usually to fit the Mormon whims at the time, or to “cover their tracks” from an inconsistency found in their theology. Does the Book of Mormon support this concept of a changeable God? Not according to Alma 7:20 which says, “…by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; NEITHER DOTH HE VARY FROM THAT WHICH HE HATH SAID….” (not original emphasis). Again, the Book of Mormon does not teach Mormon doctrine.
John 4:24 declares “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Mormon theology disagrees. McConkie in Mormon theology says that John 4:24 is mistranslated. McConkie says the passage should read “…For unto such God promised his Spirit, And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and truth.” Never mind what the original Greek text reads. This is a classic case of what happens when Mormon teachings conflict with the Bible. Mormon authorities simply change the rules to fit how they want to play the game.
One of the strangest tenets of the Mormon religion is that God the Father has a body just like human beings. In the 130th section of Doctrine and Covenants, verse 22, Joseph Smith tells us that “…The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s….” The reason for this belief is to support the Mormon position that God was once a man himself who lived on a planet other than Earth, and though faithfulness to Mormon teachings, was rewarded with the honor of being God over Earth itself. This, of course, destroys the true reason for Jesus Christ coming to Earth in the first place. According to the Bible, Christ came to show us what God would look like and act like in bodily human form. If you want to see the body of God, look not to the Mormon way of thinking, but to Jesus Christ.
Does the Book of Mormon support the view that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones? In Alma 18:24, 28, Ammon a Nephite, chief among the sons of Mosiah, is having a conversation with King Laboni, a descendent of Ishmael. Ammon was attempting to reason with the king concerning God. The text reads, “…And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And he answereth, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth. And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yea. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth? And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things….” Note that Ammon didn’t talk about a man with flesh and bones who became God, but rather portrayed the Father as the Spirit that created all things. At this point, the reader of the Book of Mormon is forced to decide between contradictory views of the Father, both presented by Mormon writings.
Anyone who is familiar with the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints knows one of their basic beliefs is that those who do not accept the Mormon “gospel” in this life will have a chance to do so in the next. This is, of course, why Mormons practice their ritual of “baptism for the dead.” Living members of the church are baptized by proxy for family members, friends, and sometimes total strangers. This, the Mormons say, is because baptism is a necessary part of the “gospel,” and the dead have no physical body to baptize. Many a Mormon proselyte was brought into the church because he or she needed the hope that “dear departed Aunt Sally,” or someone else who did not receive Mormonism in this life, could have a chance in the world to come.
This Book of Mormon that the LDS so highly revere does not support this doctrine anywhere, and actually says in the plainest of language that this belief is WRONG! Alma 34:31-35 says, “…now is the accepted time and the day of your salvation…For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance even unto death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil, and he doth SEAL you to his…and this is the FINAL state of the wicked.” (not original emphasis)
It is plain to see that any Mormon who accepts the Book of Mormon as the word of God cannot accept the teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and vice versa.
It is easy to see, when considering the Mormon view that God has a body of flesh and bones, why the Mormon believes that He cannot live in the human heart. How could a god with a body possibly do that? For this reason, Joseph Smith writing in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 130, verse says “…the idea that the Father and Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian (Christian) notion, and is false.” The “gift and power of God” which Joseph used to translate the Book of Mormon must have taken a holiday, because he was not reminded of what he had “translated” in Alma 34:36 which read, “…the Lord had said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell….” Again, Mormon scripture has contradicted Mormon scripture. Either God is a Spirit Who can dwell in righteous men’s hearts, or he has a body of flesh and bones and lives somewhere else. Again, they can’t have it both ways!
Alma 46:15 says “…And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ, who should come.” There are several problems with this passage.
First, according to the Mormons, this was written in 73 B.C. The word Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew Meshiach meaning “anointed one of God.” Even though the Greek language had developed by 73 B.C., how could the Lamanites have known Greek when they supposedly lived on the other side of the Earth, in the Americas, a place they left for 300 years before the development of the Greek language! If Joseph Smith had used the word “Messiah” in this passage in Alma he might have had a case. As it stands, he doesn’t.
Secondly, even if a carrier pigeon had traveled across the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans and brought them the Greek language, how could they know the word Christ when the Greeks were not introduced to the word until after Jesus came?
Finally, how could they be called Christians at that time when Acts 11:26 specifically says that after Barnabas and Paul assembled a church and taught for a whole year, the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch–well over 100 years after the Nephite narrative in Alma 46. Did the Holy Spirit lie when He spoke through Luke in Acts chapter 11? Or is the story in the Book of Mormon merely fiction?
Continuing to travel through the Book of Mormon, the next problem that crops up is Helaman chapter 3, verses 7, 9 and 11. The Nephite, Helaman, is making a record of the migration northward on the American continent by his people. In verse 7 he says, “And there being little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went for became expert in the working of cement, therefore they did build houses of cement, in which they did dwell.”
And in verse 9: “And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of CEMENT…(not original emphasis).” Again, in verse 11: “…And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.” According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the portland cement process was invented in 1756 A.D. The process was totally unknown in 46 B.C., the time of Helaman…but certainly known in Joseph Smith’s time, the nineteenth century. If Joseph had done some research, he might have made the concept of translating the Book of Mormon by “the gift and power of God” a little easier to swallow.
As many know, there is a vast difference between what goes on in the local Mormon meetinghouses and what happens in the Mormon temples. In the meetinghouses, local wards or congregations meet and have weekly services not too far removed from that of many Protestant churches. There are far fewer temples than meetinghouses, most located in several dozen major metropolitan centers around the world. In these places, ceremonies taken place in which marriage partners are “sealed” to each other and to their children. Also taking place are ceremonies for the dead, such as having dead relatives baptized by proxy into the LDS church. During these ceremonies, the faithful Mormon is given certain tokens, names, and passwords, and is told to swear certain oaths to the Mormon church. They are warned never to share these ceremonies with outsiders. When asked by an outsider about the secrets of the temple ceremonies, the Mormon will respond, “I’m sorry, but I can’t discuss that with you…it’s not secret, it’s sacred.”
Well, here’s news for the Temple Mormon: If there is a thing that he can know that another cannot know–that’s a secret!
The Book of Mormon on the other hand denounces the keeping of religious secrets, sacred or not. In Helaman 6:21, 22 it reads, “…But behold, SATAN (not original emphasis) did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites…and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed…And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words….”
Verse 25 says, “…Now behold, it is these secret oaths and covenants which Alma commanded his son should not go forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto destruction.”
Obviously, the Book of Mormon condemns the Mormon temple ceremonies, leaving the Mormon to wonder, “Should I follow the teachings of the most perfect book ever written, or should I participate in these secret ceremonies, repeating the oaths and covenants?”
The 28th verse of this chapter in Helaman is explicit when it says Satan “…dragged the people (who practiced these signs and oaths) down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell,” (Wait! According to the Mormons, there’s not supposed to be an EVERLASTING hell!)
The Book of Mormon describes how Jesus Christ supposedly appears for the first time on the American continent after his ascension in Judea. In announcing his presence, Jesus says, in 3 Nephi 9:18, “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” There is something very wrong about this. Remember the Nephites and Lamanites were said to have come to the Western Hemisphere about 590 B.C., hundreds of years before the Greek or Latin languages were developed. The question is, why would Jesus announce himself and use terms such as “Alpha” and “Omega” of which the Nephites has never heard?
The terms “Alpha” and “Omega” would have been gibberish to the Nephites. That would be about as ridiculous and Jesus calling himself the “Ginixell and Pegwam.” It seems to me that Joseph Smith should done more research on the history of the Greek language. The more ofter it appears in the Book of Mormon, the more problems exist.
The most fundamental difference between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and most other religious groups who claim to be Christian (including Christians themselves), is the Mormon denial of the orthodox view of the Trinity. The Trinity is a fundamental belief about who God is. God is not a single personality as the followers of Muhammed would have us believe. By the same token, there is not a multiplicity of Gods, as the Mormons say. The Trinity is, of course, the belief in One God, Who reveals himself in Three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Mormons are most adamant about preaching the fact that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three completely separate people. They say they are indeed one, but only one in purpose.
It is truly amazing to discover that the Book of Mormon totally contradicts the most central of all Mormon tenets in at least six places. 3 Nephi 11:27 reads, “…verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I [Jesus] am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.” Not one in purpose– but just plain ONE! If this is still a little vague to the Latter-day Saint, lets examine the other places where this subject is discussed in the Book of Mormon.
2 Nephi 31:21 says, “And now, behold, my beloved brethern, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” AMEN! Not three gods. ONE God! The Book of Mormon proclaims the Trinity, while the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims three gods. It would certainly appear the Book of Mormon is closer to what orthodox Christianity teaches than what Mormonism teaches. Again, this time in Alma 11:44, “…Christ the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one eternal God….” (not original emphasis) How plain should it be to the Mormon to read his own book and discover there is only one God? This is almost clearer than the Bible presents it.
The Nephi prophet Abinadi in Mosiah 15:1-5 says, “…I would that ye should understand that God himself [not one of three gods] shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son–The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and the Son to the Father–And THEY ARE ONE GOD, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, BEING ONE GOD, suffereth temptations, and yeildeth not to the temptation….” (not original emphasis) These are powerful words to a Christian…a little scary to the Mormon.
In Mosiah 6:15 Abinadi continues to prophesy, saying, “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.” Not Christ the Lord, who is one in purpose with the Eternal Father, Not Christ the Lord, who is one of three gods along with the Father and the Holy Ghost. And certainly not Christ the Lord, who appeared as one of two separate personages to Joseph Smith in a vision, one pointing to the other telling Joseph that, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him.” Either Joseph Smith lied or was delirious when he saw this vision–or the Book of Mormon is NOT “the most perfect book.” Once again, the Mormons a trying to have it both ways!
The Mormons use the most shallow of circular reasoning processes when the say on one hand: “If Joseph Smith saw the Father and Jesus as two different people, they couldn’t be the same.” On the other hand they say: “If God the Father and Christ were one in the same they would have appeared to the Prophet as a single entity.” With no corroborative evidence or witnesses, we are left to hang our eternal destination of the claims of a vision by a youth already convicted in a court of law for fraudulent practices. (The Church’s denial of Joseph’s involvement in the crime of pretending to find hidden treasure by divination cannot explain away court documents, reprints of which are available, showing his conviction in the case of NEW YORK vs. JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR, March 20,1826. The Mormons have tried to prove that these court records were changed, but their attempts have proven fruitless.)
Ether 3:14 declares, “Behold I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son….” In Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie tries to explain this verse away with double-talk. He says Christ is called the Father in three senses. First, He is the Creator. No problem with this. Secondly, he says that he is the Father of all who are born again. This may be true, but he must be more than just the Father of the redeemed. For Christians, God is acting in his role as the Father is also the Father of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If He were the Father of the born-again Christians only, he would not be as the Book of Mormon describes him in Ether 3:13, and the word “Father” would not have been capitalized. Third, McConkie says Christ is CALLED Father because the Father has put his own name on Christ to authorize him [Christ] to speak on his behalf. What a wonderful way McConkie has of explaining away a serious mistake in Mormon doctrine. McConkie could have also been a very successful used car salesman.
When my ex-father-in-law was challenging my beliefs and choice of a place to worship, he told me that if a church was the True Church, it would have twelve apostles. The place where I worshipped (Presbyterian at the time) did not have twelve apostles and therefore could not be the True Church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints DID have twelve apostles and that was further proof it was the True Church. This is rather subjective logic. The Bible says nothing about why there were twelve apostles. Twelve may have been an arbitrary number Jesus selected, or perhaps the number 12 was special to the Jews. After all, there were twelve tribes of Israel. It is true that Matthias, in Acts 1:15-26, was selected over Barsabas Justus to replace Judas Iscariot as an apostle and kept the number at twelve, but was not Saul of Tarsus also an apostle? If twelve was to be an inflexible number, without which an organization could not be God’s True Church, don’t you think Jesus would have said so when he had the opportunity?
Nevertheless, Mormons say there HAVE to be twelve apostles. But do the LDS have 12 apostles? There are indeed twelve men in Salt Lake City who make decisions on behalf of the Mormon theological system, and sit as the board of directors of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there is a also thirteenth apostle in the LDS organization! His name is John. He is the son of Zebedee, brother of James, a Galilean fisherman who was born around the beginning of the first century A.D.
Yes, the Mormons believe John is alive today and they have “scriptures” from two of their standard works to prove it. 3 Nephi 28:6, 7 states (Jesus Christ is supposedly speaking), “And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. Therefore more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.” Joseph Smith adds the “second witness” in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 7, the first three verses when he (in the form of a “revelation” from God) says, “And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him: Lord, give me the power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shall tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt thou prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples.”
Wow! John is still here! But where is he living and ministering? One would think that someone so important in religious history, who actually walked the Judean hillside with the Savior, would be called upon, at least from time to time, to speak at General Conference. And yet the Latter-day Saints remain adamant about having twelve apostles, no more, no less, in order to be the True Church. I count the quorum of the Twelve in Salt Lake City, and John as number thirteen. If the LDS have thirteen apostles, by their own standard, they cannot be the True Church. Beyond this, there is a far more serious question to ask. The entire reason for the existence of the Church of Jesus Christ, so they say, is because there was an apostasy. After all the original followers of Jesus were gone, the “true gospel” disappeared from the earth. Church leadership, according to the Mormons, was not of God. This is despite the fact that Jesus, in Matthew 16:18 promised us that the gates of hell would never prevail against the church.
According to 3 Nephi 28:6, 7, John never died. There was always a true disciple around. There was no apostasy! 3 Nephi is telling us there is no reason to have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, AT ALL!!!
I have been told by knowledgeable Mormons on many occasions that because the “True Gospel” supports three degrees of glory, the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom and the Telestial Kingdom, that even if I reject the doctrines of the LDS, there is heaven, not hell, waiting for me in the afterlife, probably in the Telestial Kingdom.
While the Mormons admit there will be a group of people that will be condemned, these people are the “sons of perdition.” These include, according to Bruce McConkie, “…those who gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the gospel (Mormon) cause, a knowledge that come only by revelation from the Holy Ghost….”
Those who are “mixed up” like myself, and others who simply dismiss LDS theology as false without the supposed witness of the Spirit (and believe me, I have received no such witness and never will), will not be damned, but will rather enjoy eternity in the Telestial Kingdom. In Mormon Doctrine McConkie says this is “…the resurrected state of all the rebellious, those who come forth in the resurrection of the unjust, those who refused to repent when the gospel was offered to them but who chose to go their own carnal ways, receiving eventually an inheritance in the telestial kingdom.” The LDS party line here is that if I do not believe, I still will not be damned to hell. This is in direct contradiction with what the Book of Mormon teaches!
Mormon 9:23b says, clearly, unmistakably, “…he that believeth no shall be damned….” 2 Nephi 28:23 which I quoted before, paints a pretty good picture of what this damnation is like: “Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.” This is not a reference to the Sons of Perdition as defined by the Mormons, but rather to “…those who preach false doctrines, and those who commit whoredoms….” (2 Nephi 28:15)
Once again, the Mormon has a choice to make. Is he going to believe the doctrine espoused by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or is he to believe the “most perfect book” translated by the gift and power of God.” Thanks be to Our Lord God Almighty that Christians do not have to make that choice. If I were a Mormon and were called on to make this decision, I believe I would conclude that due to this contradiction, real truth is probably elsewhere, and I would begin looking for it, starting with the Bible.
Just about any Christian Sunday school member over the age of seven has heard the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9. God was obviously displeased with the efforts of the people to build the tower and confounded their language, thus destroying their ability co communicate with one another, lest they complete the project. Genesis 11:9 is very specific in stating that “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of ALL the earth….” (not original emphasis)
Ether 1:34, 35 tells a different story of the Tower of Babel. The book of Ether tells a story of a people called the Jaredites who like the descendants of Lehi, migrated from the Middle East to the Americas, only the Jaredite migration happened about 1400 years earlier, around the time of the Tower incident. Verse 34 says, “And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, a man favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.” Verse 35 reads, “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.”
Either ALL those at Babel had their language confounded, or only some (to excluded Jared and his brother) did. This can’t be both ways. LDS theologians, of course, try to wiggle out of “foul ups” like this by blaming it on the mistranslating of the Bible. (It has always been curious to be me that the only places the Bible is mistranslated, according to Mormons, is where the Bible is in opposition to LDS doctrine.)
So, let’s check the translation. There are only three words in the original Hebrew used for the word “all” in the book of Genesis. The word acaph is used only in Genesis 42:17 and translates into English as “put all together” or “gather.” The word liyn (pronounced “lean”) is used several times in Genesis, but translates into the two-word English phrase “all night.”
The only other word for “all” used in Genesis is kol which is used many times, including in Genesis 11:9 when God confounded the language of ALL the earth. Kol in English means “all; in all manner; or whosoever.” In other words, everyone together, the whole group had their language confused. Not “some,” “all but two,” “nearly everyone,” or “everybody but Jared and his brother.” It can only be concluded that the story told in Ether 1 is false, and there the Book of Mormon cannot be God’s word.
Continuing our journey through the Book of Mormon, we come next to Ether 2:23. In this verse, a warning is issued to the Jaredites. Chapter 2, beginning with verse 6 details how the Jaredites, allegedly at God’s direction, built barges for the trip to the western hemisphere. The warning reads, “And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessel? For behold, ye cannot have the windows for they will be dashed to pieces….” I can think of another reason they could not have windows. Glass windows wouldn’t be developed for another 3500 years!
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, glass windows first came into being in the 15th century A.D., a full three-and-a-half millennia after the Tower of Babel which was built approximately 2000 B.C.
But, of course, Joseph Smith didn’t know this when in the early 1800’s he “translated” the Book of Mormon by the “gift and power of God.” Obviously Joseph didn’t get very high marks in history and science in school, or else he would have quickly caught this glaring error.
The only thing “dashed to pieces” here is the believability of the story of the Jaredites.
Obviously Joseph Smith, while claiming to be a prophet, seer, and revelator, was no mathematician. His story of the Jaredites contains a description of their supposed journey to the western hemisphere in Ether 6. Verse 8 tells us that. “And it came to pass that the wind DID NEVER CEASE TO BLOW towards the promised land while they were on the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.” (not original emphasis) Verse 11 says, “And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.” That’s 344 days and nights with a constant wind.
Let’s do a little arithmetic here. Let’s assume the wind sometimes blew at 30 or more knots, sometimes at five or less knots–a conservative estimate of an average of 10 knots constantly (remember, it did not cease to blow). They were on the water 344 days or 8,256 hours. 10 knots equal 11 miles per hour. Multiply 8,256 times 11 and the result is 90,816 miles. This is 3.5 times around the world! Assume an average wind of 20 knots and you get a trip of 7 times around the world!
You know, the combination of the North and South American continents is a pretty big place. In fact, if one were traveling west from the Middle East across the Mediterranean or around the Horn of Africa through the Atlantic, or east from Asia across the Pacific, the Americas stand as a mighty big “roadblock.” The continents stretch over 10,000 miles from north to south across the globe.
Now you would think if they missed it the first time, they surely could have hit it the second or third time around. This is certainly no cruise I want to be on! The only obvious conclusion that can be drawn here is that the story is fiction, and not very well researched fiction either. Such fiction cannot be the Word of God.
There is more which proves the Book of Mormon is a story from more recent than ancient times. Ether 7:9 tells the story of a “mighty man” named Shule who made swords of STEEL for an army he had marshaled. Don’t forget, the stories of the Jaredites took place around 2000 B.C., mostly after the time of the Tower of Babel, a time before even Abraham lived. This is completely impossible since, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the first steel forges were developed by the Greeks and Chinese some TEN centuries later. Again, the Book of Mormon is has failed in its attempt to be considered as credible.
By contrast, archaeology has proven the accuracy of the Bible time and time again, with respect to utensils, weapons, coinage and other accoutrements for a specific period in time. If the Book of Mormon is God’s Word, then it was surely written by a god who couldn’t get past History 101.
Ether 9:17-19 lists all the things the Jaredites supposedly had with them in the New World. There was all manner of fruit, grain, there were silks, fine linen, there was gold and silver, there were animals: cattle, oxen, sheep, swine, and goats. Verse 19 says, “And there were horses and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms.” (What on earth are cureloms and cumoms—Even Webster and the Encyclopedia don’t seem to know!)
Wait a minute! Did that say “elephants?” Elephants?? While it is true those other animals, cattle, oxen, etc., have been on the American continent for sometime (although not before Columbus), where are all the elephants?
The only elephants to be found currently in the western hemisphere have been brought over in recent times and can be found just about exclusively in circuses and zoos. Perhaps the Mormons can explain away this problem by saying that the elephants of Jared’s time have now become extinct.
If these elephants are now gone then where are the fossils? The remains of dinosaurs, who lived much long ago that the Book of Mormon story, have been found. But no bones or other evidence of elephants living in these or any other times have been discovered. Either the Book of Mormon is false here, or the elephant fossils have been “beamed up” aboard a UFO in outer space, perhaps piloted by Elvis and co-piloted by the Loch Ness Monster. It makes about as much sense as some passages of the Book of Mormon.
The ministry of the Holy Ghost is one of the central themes in all Christianity. Knowing that Jesus Christ would not be permanently on earth to assist His disciples, the Spirit was sent as a Comforter and Teacher. The followers of Jesus were baptized with the Holy Ghost in Acts 2, some 50 days after Christ ascended to be with His Father.
The Book of Mormon, in Ether 12:14, tells of how Nephi and Lehi, “…were baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost. Remember that Lehi and his son Nephi supposedly lived some 600 years before Christ. John 7:38, 39 specifically states (Jesus speaking), “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus WAS NOT YET GLORIFIED.” (not original emphasis)
After Jesus was glorified, after His resurrection, after His ascension, the disciples, about 120 of them, tarried in Jerusalem in the upper room. When the day of Pentecost was fully come and the group was in one accord, the Holy Ghost was poured out for the first time. There is absolutely no way Lehi and Nephi could have been baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire 600 years before Jesus CAME TO EARTH, let alone before He was glorified. Again, the Book of Mormon author has made a major theological miscue.
To understand where the next questioned passage in the Book of Mormon came from, it is necessary to understand something of Joseph Smith’s background. In one of the stories Joseph told about how he first received his visions which began the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith–History 1:8, Joseph talks about what he claimed to be a time of great evangelistic activity among the various Christian denominations in the area around his home in Palmyra, New York, around 1820 (newspaper and other historical accounts of the area of that time do not indicate this). Smith said, “…so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person as young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.” In verse 9, he states, “The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason of sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and the Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.”
Understand here, that Joseph Smith is a fourteen year old boy, who by his own admission “is unacquainted” with Christian doctrines. But in the imaginations of this lad, there IS a way to deal with it all. First, what young Joseph sees as confusion and strife is nothing more that what we have today–minor doctrinal differences between Christians. Christians may differ on things such as whether baptism is by emersion or sprinkling. They may not agree on a form of church government–democratic or a panel of elders or presbyters–but they do agree on the issues in which eternity is at stake: Who God is, Who Christ is, how one achieves eternal life, etc.
But, nevertheless, it’s Joseph-to-the-rescue. Young Joseph, in the same manner as he later declared himself “Prophet, Seer and Revelator,” will straighten out all the spiritual “confusion” of his day by declaring all organized Christianity as error and abomination, and HIS way correct through the “visions” he received, and the golden plate he is supposed to have found. There is no better example of this than what is written in the Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 14 decrees that, “…there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God (Mormon), and the other is the church of the devil (non-Mormon); wherefore, who so belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God (Mormon) belongeth to that great church (non-Mormon), which is the mother of abominations, and she is the whore of all the earth.”
It is evident that Joseph Smith continued this thinking when we read the vicious attack on the Bible in 2 Nephi 29. Almost the entire chapter declares the Bible as incomplete and inadequate. The central passage, verse 6, tells us that, “Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible….” The passage goes on to attempt to vindicate the Book of Mormon from here. This “scripture” was obviously necessary in order for Joseph to defend the Book of Mormon against knowledgeable Christians who realize the truth–that the Bible is inerrant, true, and complete in and of itself.
All of this study into Joseph Smith’s mind-set leads us to the final book in the Book of Mormon, the book of Moroni. One of the minor differences, as noted before, between Christian denominations is their form of baptism. Joseph, who had no conception of what the really important issues were (salvation, nature of God, etc.), saw this as a major issue. He saw the Presbyterians and the Methodists sprinkling little children, in what is called in their churches baptism, and decided it wasn’t for him or his followers. He obviously felt that baptism was an adult decision.
It is not my point here to debate whether adult baptism is right or wrong. The point is, Joseph made sure that it was written somewhere that children were not to be baptized.
Moroni 8:9, 10 is quite clear in an epistle from the prophet Mormon to his son Moroni, “And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is a solemn mockery before God that ye should baptize little children. Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach-repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea teach PARENTS that THEY must repent and be baptized….” (not original emphasis)
The Book of Mormon tells every LDS adherent that it is the parents, the adults that must be baptized. And yet today the only adults that are baptized among the Latter-day Saints are those who are proselyted as adults. Children who are born into Mormon families, or children of parents who have been proselyted are promptly baptized at the age of eight years–whether they understand the concept of repentance or not. I have spoken with many who were baptized in the Mormon church at the age of eight who said they were doing because they were told to, or that was expected of them, and actually had no idea what it was all about. One ex-Mormon once described her memories of her Mormon baptism as a “dip in a kiddie pool.”
As before, the Book of Mormon does not teach what Mormonism teaches, creating a dilemma for the Mormon as to which to follow.
The biggest thing that separates Christians from Mormons is their theology of God. If a religious organization is incorrect in their knowledge of “who God is,” then the rest of their doctrine proceeds from a false premise.
Orthodox Christianity teaches that there is one God who reveals Himself in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He has existed from all eternity-past, and will exist through eternity-future. He is God from from everlasting to everlasting, and He has always been God, creator and preserver of the universe, and always will be God. Christians believe that God the Father is Spirit, and sent Jesus to reveal what God is like in a body. Jesus explained, when He was on earth, that He could not stay here permanently in His first incarnation. That is why the Holy Ghost was sent after Jesus was glorified, so that we would have a Comforter, a Teacher, Someone to go along side of us us until we see Jesus eye-to-eye. The Holy Ghost, of course is also Spirit, and is just as much God as the Father and Jesus.
For the Mormon, however, there is no such trinitarian God. Mormons believe that God was once a man named Elohim, who was born on a planet revolving around a star named Kolob (one astronomers have yet to find). The Mormons say Elohim was faithful to the same teachings they believe today, and was elevated to godhood, as was his “Heavenly Father” before him on another planet somewhere. Elohim was rewarded with his own planet, Earth, to populate and be god over. This is why the Mormons believe God has a body of flesh and bones.
Among the billions of spirit-children that Elohim and his many goddess wives conceived (that would one day take up bodies on Earth) was Jesus and his brother (possibly twin brother) Lucifer. There was a council of the gods, and Jesus’ plan for becoming Savior of the planet Earth was adopted (Lucifer’s plan was rejected). Mormons also believe the Holy Ghost is different from the Holy Spirit. They say the Holy Spirit is not a personage, even though in the original text of the Bible the same word (parakletos) is used for both the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost.
The Book of Mormon teaches none of this LDS doctrine about God, and actually refutes it. When asking the Mormon the question, “Was God once a man?” they totally ignore their “most perfect book,” which reads, in Moroni 8:18 (the prophet Mormon is speaking by epistle to Moroni), “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from eternity to all eternity.”
Joseph Smith even contradicted his own teachings when he said in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 20, verse 17, “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them….” Do we believe Joseph here, or do we believe his King Follett discourse, published by the Mormons in Times and Seasons, August 15, 1844, where he told us, “I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined God was God from all eternity.” He goes on to tell us how we, as mortals can, like Elohim, become gods ourselves. This is reinforced in the “Kolob story” in the Book of Abraham from Smith’s Pearl of Great Price.
Mormon 9:9, 10 is shockingly against this standard Mormon theology by stating, “For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? And now if ye have imagined up for yourself a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up for yourself a god who is not a god of miracles.”
Mormon 9:19 says, “And behold, I say unto you he [God] changeth not; if so he would cease to be God.” That’s pretty clear. Obviously, when Joseph “translated” this passage of the Book of Mormon, he conveniently forgot it when it came time for the Kolob story and the King Follett discourse.
We have gone through the entire Book of Mormon looking at the problem areas I have discovered over my years of reading its “scriptures.” I have listed and commented on these, in order, from 1 Nephi 1:1 through Moroni 10:34. There is one passage I have left out of sequence, so that I could “save the best till last.”
These verses deal with the crux of the entire issue. Where do we place our trust? In order to believe and accept the Book of Mormon as the Word of God, and ultimately the Mormon “gospel” as true, we must rely totally on Joseph Smith. The Bible claims to be the perfect, inerrant. Joseph says the Bible is flawed and the Book of Mormon is the “most perfect book.” We are told to blindly accept Joseph’s declaration of himself as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and to ignore any information outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In Joseph, we are asked to throw out literally thousands of years of scholarly research into such areas as archaeology, textual criticism, and anthropology, much of this work done by independent scientists and historians with no theological bias or agenda, or religious axe to grind.
Should we trust in Joseph? Can the Mormon trust the man Joseph Smith? The Book of Mormon, Smith’s own work, has the answer. Read 2 Nephi 2:29, “Cursed is he that puteth his trust in man.”
Trust not in the man Joseph Smith, but in God our Father who sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins, and raised Him from the dead so that we might walk in newness of life.
John Taylor, the third Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wrote an eye-witness account of the killing of Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois, June 27, 1844. His writing was canonized as Mormon scripture as the 135th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In verse 3 he reiterates that Smith “…brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and …sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained….” As we have mentioned before, Smith called the Book of Mormon “the most perfect book ever.” He himself said the Book of Mormon contained the “fulness of the gospel” in at least 3 places in the Doctrine and Covenants, 20:8, 9; 27:5 and 42:12.
Webster defines “fulness” or “fullness” (either spelling) as “complete, especially in detail, number, and duration–containing all that is wanted or needed or possible.” In other words, with respect to the Mormon “gospel” (or as most Christians would describe it, “theological system”), the Book of Mormon should have everything the Mormons believe.
The following 17 major doctrines of the LDS church are not found in the “complete, perfect book.” Most of these are central to the Mormon religion, Many are not only found NOWHERE in the Book of Mormon, most are directly refuted by that work:
- God has a body of flesh and bones
- God is a product of “eternal progression”
- Men can become gods
- The pre-existence of spirits
- Eternal marriage
- Three degrees of glory or heaven
- The Melchizedek Priesthood
- The Aaronic Priesthood
- God is an exalted man
- Plurality of Gods
- God did not create the world, but rather organized it
- There is no external hell and punishment
- “Intelligences” are eternal
- Polygamy is NOT an abomination to God
- A “mother” in heaven
- The Book of Mormon is the “Stick of Judah”
- The offices and functions of the following:
- Stake President
- First Presidency
- Assistant to the Twelve
- President of the Church
Mormons will claim the Book of Mormon does not contain these things because “it is only a step in the continuing revelation.” This, however, is not what Joseph Smith, John Taylor, and other Mormon leaders have said. Who’s telling the correct story here?
Webster says “fullness” is containing all that is wanted, needed or is possible. So we are left with a puzzle. if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, which doctrine is correct–the doctrine of the Book of Mormon or the doctrine practiced by the Church. The two positions cannot be reconciled!
After all my study and research of the Book of Mormon, I can only come to one conclusion: it is fiction and not very good fiction at that. If it were submitted for publication today, any serious publisher would give it the rejection slip it deserves.
OTHER MORMON “SCRIPTURES’ EXAMINED (Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price)
Another testimony to the fact the Mormons have a problem calling the Book of Mormon as full and complete, is the Doctrine and Covenants. This work, mostly “revelations” by Joseph Smith and other early LDS prophets, is usually found bound in a single volume with even more “scripture,” The Pearl of Great Price. Along with the Book of Mormon, and the Mormon interpretation of the Bible, these make up what LDS call the “Standard Works,” or writings the Mormons accept as inspired.
The Pearl of Great Price, of which at least one Christian I know calls the “Peril” of Great Price (an appropriate title, since believing its writings can lead one’s soul into peril), contains the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the Writings of Joseph Smith, all of which we’ll examine later. Since most of the “revelations” in the Doctrine and Covenants are subjective in nature, we will only examine the area of a few that went awry and those that present a conflict with mainstream LDS doctrine.
Ask any Mormon who is even roughly familiar with basic LDS doctrine the following question: “Has God the Father ever been anything other than God?” There may be a little “circling” before the answer comes, but when the Mormon perceives you already understand about their doctrine of plurality of gods, he or she will come to admit that, yes, God was once a man as we are, and lived on another planet, and through his adherence to the proper teachings, he was elevated to godhood.
Joseph Smith taught this, in the King Follett Discourse, the Book of Abraham, and other areas. If Joseph were speaking truth from the Lord, why did he have a revelation from God that contradicted all this?
When the Mormon admits that God was once a man, you can then show him Smith’s own words in Doctrine and Covenants 20:17, “By these things we know there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same UNCHANGEABLE God, the framer of heaven and earth, all things which are in them….” (not original emphasis)
Who are we expected to believe? Joseph Smith, the prophet, who preached a god who wasn’t always God in the King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith, the translator, who gave us the story in the in the Book of Abraham, of Kolob, where God supposedly lived when he was mortal, or Joseph Smith the Revelator who tells us in the Doctrine and Covenants that God has never changed and existed from everlasting to everlasting? It is clear from this confusion that Mormon theology cannot be trusted to be consistent.
Joseph Smith recounts his story of his first vision in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith–History chapter one. This is, of course, the current, official account of what happened when Joseph claims he was first called to be prophet. Some historians (mostly non-Mormon, as one would expect) count three, and some up to nine different accounts of this event. Joseph obviously changed his take each time a discrepancy popped up. There is one, however, he forgot to cover.
He says in verse 17, “…I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!” Joseph is claiming here to have seen both God the Father and Jesus–this despite the Bible’s telling us that no human being has ever beheld God the Father (John 1:18). That’s the reason Jesus came to us. To show us what God the Father was like, as He was manifest in the Son. If man could see the Father, there would be no reason for the advent of Christ.
Running the risk that the Mormons would say, “That verse in John must be mistranslated!” as they do with other Bible verses that conflict with the Mormon Standard Works, I point to the fact that Joseph Smith has contradicted HIMSELF! According to Smith, these events occurred in the spring of 1820. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:21, 22 Smith talks about receiving the priesthood, “And without the ordinances thereof and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live.” When did Joseph Smith “receive” the priesthood? Read Doctrine and Covenants 13. This two-verse section tells how Joseph along with Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood. The date is right there at the top: May 15, 1829. That’s NINE years after Smith claims to have seen God the Father–and lived! Did he lie about seeing the Father? Or was the revelation he received about “not seeing God with the priesthood” a false prophecy? Or did he lie about when he supposedly received the priesthood? Or all three incorrect? You make the call.
Mormons point with pride to Section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants as proof Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. This “prophecy,” given on Christmas Day 1832, supposedly tells of the coming War Between the States which began in 1861, just over 28 years later. Mormons say that Joseph Smith foresaw, by divine revelation, the war beginning in South Carolina.
The truth of the matter was that South Carolina had been threatening secession as far back as 1830, and the newspapers of that time–even those in upstate New York where Joseph resided–were full of these reports. Many people saw it coming for many years, but only Smith claimed he knew this (what a lot of other people knew) by the power of God.
The Mormons, when showing this “prophecy” to others don’t make too much of verse three. This states that the South would call upon other nations, even Great Britain, and “…then war shall be poured out upon all nations.” Verse 6 says “…the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine and plague and earthquake….” Hold it a minute! I studied the Civil War quite intensively both when I was in school and since, and I don’t recall any of this! If the British were dispatched to America to help with the Confederacy, they arrived invisibly.
Any prophecy that contains so much as one false element is a false prophecy, as this one certainly is. It is only one of many false prophecies from Joseph Smith, who accordingly was not prophet of God.
In the Mormon sacrament service, their version of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, the elements are not unleavened bread and wine or grape juice as in Christian churches. The bread is just plain sandwich bread as one would purchase in the supermarket. Instead of the wine or juice, there is water.
I’ve often found it amusing that Mormons don’t realize the significance of the bread being unleavened. Leaven is the typology from the Old Testament of sin. When Christ celebrated the Passover just before His crucifixion with his disciples, He said, “This is my body,” and broke the unleavened bread–because in Him there was no sin. Are the Mormons subconsciously saying that their Jesus is sinful? I wonder.
The point I really wanted to make here, however, is that by taking water in their sacrament, the Mormons are actually violating a “divinely inspired” commandment from Joseph Smith! Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is probably the most famous among the LDS. It is called the “Word of Wisdom” and contains warnings against things that Smith believed would cause health problems, along with other directives.
Smith says specifically, in verse six, “…this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.” If this is a commandment from the Prophet Joseph Smith, why don’t Mormons follow it? There are stories that at a later time, Joseph was almost poisoned by some bad wine, and this is why water is used. But in my search through the Standard Works, I can’t find any commandment concerning water instead of wine.
The real reason Mormons use water in the sacrament is spiritual, and escapes their understanding. The wine or grape juice represents Christ’s precious blood which washes away our sin, by grace through faith–a difficult concept for the Mormon. They don’t understand the blood, so they don’t have a problem dismissing it.
Unleavened bread and the red juice are missing from Mormonism, just like the Cross. There are no crosses found in or on LDS churches (the Mormons say focusing on the death of Jesus takes away from the resurrection–I don’t buy that!). The Bible explains the reason a cross is of no value to the LDS when it says in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” It is foolish to the Mormon because he is spiritually perishing.
While we are on the subject of the “Word of Wisdom,” let’s discuss something else. The Mormons say that this prophetic commandment forbids coffee and tea because of their caffeine. This only included ICED tea and ICED coffee along with carbonated beverages that contain caffeine such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
But Joseph Smith said nothing about coffee, tea, or caffeine–and certainly nothing about cold drinks. He said in verse 9, “And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.” Hot drinks, not caffeine. The Mormon who sees nothing wrong with hot cocoa and clear soups, are not taking their prophet at his word. (Interestingly, medical science has recently determined that caffeine in moderate amounts is actually beneficial, in that it stimulates the heart and increases the energy level.)
Here’s an interesting challenge. Walk up to any Mormon and ask “Who is Oliver Granger?” You’re sure to get a puzzled look. Have you ever heard of Oliver Granger? Neither had I.
Joseph Smith, purporting to speak for God in Doctrine and Covenants 117 (verse one: “Verily thus saith the Lord….”), says in verse 12, “I [God] remember my servant Oliver Granger; behold, verily I say unto him that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.”
If Joseph Smith’s generation knew Oliver Granger, subsequent generations fumbled the ball on this one. There is no mention of Oliver Granger anywhere in the Standard Words, the History of the Church, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Mormon Doctrine, Journal of Discourses, or any other Mormon writings to this day. There are no buildings, highways, or anything else named for Oliver Granger in Salt Lake City, at Brigham Young University, or anywhere else in Provo, Utah, or in other cities of Mormon history such as Kirtland, Ohio and Nauvoo, Illinois or anywhere else. Who was Oliver Granger? What were his accomplishments? All about Oliver Granger has been forgotten. Not exactly the fulfillment of prophecy from God, I’d say.
(Caution on this: If too big a deal is made about this with the LDS, this prophecy might fulfill itself. We certainly do not want his name suddenly on the lips of the Mormons, and make a cult hero out of him, and find them claiming that Oliver Granger now has a name in sacred remembrance forever and ever. It might be best to simply ponder this one to oneself. Mormon-outreach minister Ed Decker once contemplated having bumper stickers printed that said, “Who is Oliver Granger?” but later thought better of it.
Joseph Smith, of course, got the title the Pearl of Great Price from the parable told by Jesus in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew. As was mentioned before, the Pearl consists of the eight-chapter Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham which has three chapters, and two chapters containing the writings of Joseph Smith. The entire Pearl of Great Price is very short and probably can be read in a single sitting. Joseph Smith didn’t claim to translate anything to get the book of Moses. He claims to have received this information straight from God during the period from June 1830 to February 1831. Smith’s embellishment of the Book of Genesis completely alters the story of Genesis’ first 6 chapters and gives the account first written by Moses the Bible a bizarre twists.
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie confesses this in Mormon Doctrine when he states the account, “….had been so enlarged…and so radically changed the whole perspective of the Lord’s dealing with Adam and the early patriarchs (sic) that for all practical purposes it may be considered as entirely new matter.” McConkie is admitting that Smith had changed the story to fit Mormon teachings!
It seems strange to me that if the Moses of the Bible told story A, and the “revelation” to Smith was story B, why didn’t God just go ahead and tell Moses story B in the first place. Our God is not one to beat around the burning bush. If story B were actually from Moses, then it would have been in the Bible. Moses would never left something this important out of his Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament). The story, if it ever existed, would have been passed down by scribes (who had a holy mission from God to copy the scriptures without the slightest change in a jot or tittle) and the Jews, and Christians would have it today. We don’t have it today (except from the imagination of Joseph Smith) because it never existed!
There can be no doubt that Smith added directly to the Word of God. We are asked here by the Mormons to put our trust, not in the Hebrew scribes who were so meticulous when copying scripture they had to ceremonially wash themselves (washing seven times before writing the name of God), but rather put our faith in a man whose tall tales got him convicted of fraud. Smith violated a direct commandment the Lord had given Moses in Deuteronomy 4:2 which says, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you.” This is one of three warnings in the Bible not to add unto the Word of God.
Mormons are quick to say here, that the entire Standard Works are the Word of God and by not accepting them, Gentiles (non-Mormons) are diminishing God’s Word, which is also forbidden. Let it be known, I am not arguing here that the canon of scripture was locked when the Holy Bible was completed (although I DO believe that), I’m just saying that it is clear from this study that the Standard Works are NOT scripture. If discussing this with a Mormon, he or she will attempt to pin you down with his or her “reasoning” on your supposedly “taking from the scripture.” I try to avoid this when talking to Mormons, as they usually attempt to shift the subject to canonology itself and away from the subject under discussion.
In the summer of 1835, a time when Smith and his followers were quartered in Kirtland, Ohio, a man named Michael Chandler began exhibiting some Egyptian artifacts which included several mummies and papyri with hieroglyphics on them. The Mormons were able to persuade Chandler to sell them the artifacts, and Joseph (with no knowledge of languages) proceeded to “translate” the hieroglyphics into what is now known as the Book of Abraham. This book tells much of the LDS theology concerning the pre-existence of spirits and how God was once a man. Part of the story tells of “war in Heaven” between two-thirds of the pre-existent spirits who fought on the Lord’s side and the other one-third who fought on Lucifer’s side. The one-third lost the war and were to be denied the right to come to Earth with bodies.
The two-thirds who fought for God were to come to earth as human beings. There was also supposedly a group of spirits who were “not so valiant” in fighting for God’s side. For their complacency, they were CURSED to be born as Blacks. This is the Mormon explanation of the Negroid race, and also explains why for almost 150 years black men were denied the right to hold the Mormon priesthood.
The purchase of the papyri was a couple of years before the telegraph came into use, and there was no form of mass communication on the Earth. This is why Smith had no way of knowing that just before his purchase of the papyri, the Rosetta Stone was discovered, unlocking the secret of the ancient Egyptian language. The Stone has writings of three languages, two of which were known. By realizing the messages of the two known languages were the same, these were used to decipher the third language–Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Smith had facsimile woodcuttings made of some of the drawings on the papyri. These were published in the Pearl of Great Price, but shortly afterward, the papyri disappeared and for years, there was no way to prove or disprove Smith’s translations.
Much to the embarrassment (although, of course, they will not admit embarrassment) of the LDS, the original papyri were discovered at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City in 1967. The Mormons proudly (and ignorantly) published them shortly thereafter. Egyptologists, thanks to the Rosetta Stone, have examined these papyri and compared them to the Book of Abraham. The writings actually have nothing to do with Abraham or the time he lived at all. They are actually The Book of Breathings, writings on Egyptian funeral procedures. One of the Egyptologists who examined the Book of Abraham was a Mormon, Dr. Dee Jay Nelson of Billings, Montana. After concluding, as other Egyptologists did, that the Book of Abraham was a fraud, he asked that he and his family resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were shortly thereafter excommunicated.
Joseph Smith did not even translate one single character of the hieroglyphics correctly. He made the whole thing up, probably to promote the racist view against black people he was known to hold.
There are two chapters to the Writings of Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith–Matthew, and Joseph Smith–History. In Matthew, Joseph tries his hand as a translator of the Bible. Joseph reworked the last verse of Matthew 23 and all of Matthew 24. Nowhere does is say WHAT Smith translated these passages FROM. He had no access to the original Greek, the Latin Vulgate, or any other ancient document.
During his lifetime, Smith wrote his own “Inspired Version” of the entire Bible, in which he changed literally thousand of passages of scripture to fit his own doctrines. Surprisingly, the Utah Mormons claim he never finished this work. He did, of course, complete it and a copy is easily obtainable from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints headquartered in Independence, Missouri. They truthfully recognize that Smith did complete his “Inspired Version.”
The “Inspired Version,” like Joseph Smith–History in the Pearl of Great Price, is just another case of Joseph adding superfluously to God’s Word to try to vindicate his own twisted theology.
Joseph Smith–History is Smith’s account of his “first vision” and how he came to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also contained in another volume, History of the Church. All this would be fine if this were the only account Smith made of these events.
The first time this “first vision” was told was in the Mormon publication “Times and Seasons” (where it was published many times over the years)–in 1838–a full 18 years after the events! Why! Because, as was previously noted, there were at least three, and perhaps as many as nine TOTALLY different accounts of this story given by Smith during those 18 years. Reprints of these accounts can be obtained from Utah Lighthouse Ministry (formerly Modern Microfilm, Inc.) in Salt LakeCity. This is an organization which collects and distributes copies of early, authentic LDS documents used by researchers, including the church itself.
These different stories told by Joseph Smith are so wide in their variance that it destroys the credibility of the others. Smith tells totally differing accounts of who appeared to him (sometimes God, sometimes the Father and Jesus, sometimes “many angels”). He tells totally differing accounts of why he went into the woods near his home before “discovering” the golden tablets, and also changes other key elements of his tale many times. To this day, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will give no explanation or even acknowledge these divergent accounts although they are aware of their existence.
I BEAR YOU MY TESTIMONY
One of the things one undoubtedly hears when discussing theology with Mormons is the phrase, “I bear you my testimony.” The Mormon will ofter go off into his “testimony” when he feels “trapped” in a doctrinal argument. It is quite probable you will hear it if you discuss some of the discrepancies in LDS theology previously covered in this book.
“Bearing the testimony” is most often a chant-like response, especially among Mormon missionaries. At the Missionary Training Center on the campus of Brigham Young University at Provo, Utah, missionaries are trained to “bear the testimony” over and over again. It goes something like this: “I bear you witness that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church of God. I bear you witness that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, and that Joseph Smith is a prophet God….” And on and on it goes from there, usually in the form of monotone. It is almost as though the Mormon has been shaken in his “faith,” and is retreating into some kind of shell.
I have come to observe that this “bearing the testimony” is almost a form of self-hypnosis and bears resemblance to the chanting of the Hare Krisna, the mantras of Transcendental Meditation, or other religions incantations spoken repetitively. Some Christians, when witnessing Christ to a Mormon notice an almost “glazed” stare when the “testimony” is borne. The mesmerization can be broken by the person speaking to the Mormon by interrupting the “testimony.” This may seem rude, but must be done if the Mormon is to be brought to Christ. The leader of one Mormon outreach ministry I know says he even snaps his fingers, much as a hypnotist does to bring his subject our of a trance.
It really doesn’t take much to realize that the Mormon “testimony” is no testimony at all. Webster defines “testimony” as “the firsthand authentication of a fact.” Testimony is something given in a court of law, and accompanies corroborating evidence or eyewitness accounts.
It may be fine to “bear a testimony” that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God or that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God–but where is the proof? Where is the physical evidence? Just making a statement certainly doesn’t make it true. That’s one reason I have written this book–to show with physical evidence and structured logic that these things are not of God.
I now bear you my testimony, and it is not anything like the “bearing of the testimony” of a Mormon, for the things I am about to relate are actual events that happened to me. These events, on one hand, are unique to my experience, and yet in another respect are the same as have happened to anyone who has been converted to Christianity–and are in direct line with the physical evidence, the Holy Bible.
This testimony is much as one would give in court, like a confession extracted from a guilty person. For I am guilty. I am a sinner, rotten and nasty. The only goodness in me is that Christ that came to live in me when I accepted Jesus’ atoning death on Calvary’s cross.
I was born in 1947 in Texas, in a area that has come to be know as part of the “Bible Belt,” and area of Protestant dominance that spread across the southern United States from the seventeen century. My family was of both the Methodist and Presbyterian persuasions, even though several generations back I have Jewish ancestors. Those traditions, I am sorry to say, have long since been put aside in my family. The reason that I am sorry to say this is because there is much Christian heritage in Jewish antiquity. Jesus himself and all of the first disciples were, of course, Jews, and many elements of Jewish worship are types and foershadows of Christianity.
When I was one month short of my twelfth birthday, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church my parents and I attended led me to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. He showed me in the Scriptures (as you will see in the next chapter) that I was a sinner, and that I could never receive eternal life apart from Jesus Christ.
He showed me that there was nothing I could do, no ceremony, no deed, to earn eternal life, but that Jesus had paid the entire price for my salvation when He died on the cross. All I had to do was trust in this propitiatory death to escape eternal damnation and go to be with my Father in Heaven when I died (although I don’t think he used a word like “propitiatory.” I was fairly young at the time). He put it in simple terms I, a young person, could understand–because that’s what the gospel is, a concept so simple anyone can comprehend it.
I must admit I drifted away from the Lord for several years after I graduated from high school. After my service in the U.S. Army, I had drifted so far from God that I decided to “settle down” and have a family. I didn’t have a problem with marrying someone who did not believe in God the way Christians do. I married a Mormon. In a way this may have been providential, for without this I would not be involved in this ministry as I am today.
Just before this marriage, I was challenged by my future in-laws to investigate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Even though I was not strong in the Lord, the Holy Spirit within me gave me a witness that what they had was wrong.
I could not give a good reason why I did not want to become a Mormon, so I began a study, mostly of the Mormon Standard Works. My study of the Latter-day Saints, and the Christian approach to their theology, led me into a deeper study of the Bible and a deeper love for Jesus and what He had done for me. I enrolled in International Bible College in San Antonio, and later attended both Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. The major area of my studies were on cults and non-Christian religions.
In 1972, I became a licensed and ordained minister. I served as both an evangelist and supply-pastor before forming LDS Outreach Ministries which deals in outreach to Mormons and informing Christians about Mormonism. I consider myself first to be a Christian, with denomination being of little importance. My beliefs stem from a strong Baptist background, but have been modified somewhat by Pentecostal and Charismatic experiences I have had. I am currently a member of an Assembly of God congregation.
Again, let me say that the kind of church one attends is of no relevance when compared to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One may be a Lutheran, a Quaker, an Episcopal, or any other denomination, but one only has the guarantee of everlasting life through the blood atonement of Jesus Christ our Lord.
So here is is: My Testimony. My life without Jesus Christ was shallow and incomplete. Basically, I had a God-shaped hole in my heart that only Jesus could fill. People today try to fill this hole with their families, with recreation and leisure, with alcohol, with drugs, and yes, even with religion–but only Jesus Christ can fill it. My life is full today, even though there are still areas that need work.
My youngest daughter has recently been saved out of Mormonism. I continue to claim my two adult children for the Lord. They are still members of the LDS church although I hope they will come to discover what I discovered about Mormonism and leave the church for the real Jesus. In case you’re wondering how my three children became Mormons, the events leading up that circumstance are not something I am proud of, and believe me they are painful to relate.
My kids’ mother and I divorced in 1984. She had been ex-communicated from the Mormon Church in 1980 for being married to someone who spoke out publicly against the church. The divorce was about other matters beyond the scope of this book. She has never reclaimed her membership in the church to this day.
After our divorce, she received custody of the children and I moved out of state. Through economic hardship she placed the children in the care of her parents, much to my consternation. Mostly because I no longer reside in Texas, I was unsuccessful in my attempts to get custody of them. Their grandparents raised them in the Mormon church. The oldest are now adults, but are somewhat backslidden in their approach to the LDS church (Note here: this does NOT mean they have become Christians).
Following the death of one of these grandparents, my younger daughter, Cathy, who is 14, came to live with me in Florida. In 1987 I married a wonderful Christian woman who shares my love for Jesus and my zeal to see Mormons brought to Christ. We prayed and witnessed, and through the Holy Spirit, Cathy, my younger daughter, after a year of confusion, came to know salvation through the true Jesus Christ. I continue to pray daily for my two oldest children that they will be saved also.
Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ on a personal basis has been the focal point of my life. Being assured that I will spend eternity with Him is a feeling that really can’t be described. I also have the assurance that my earthly father, who was a Christian and died in 1978 is with the Lord. I further have the assurance that my step-daughter who went to be with the Lord in 1987 is in Heaven. She received Christ shortly before she died at the age of 10. I also have the assurance of knowing my mother, as well as my wife, both dynamic Christians, will be there as well someday. I know also Cathy will be there, too.
This is why I have such a burden for lost souls, especially Mormons. I want to see them all in Heaven worshipping and praising the True God.
Anyone can receive God’s free gift of salvation Jesus Christ. The next chapter will explain how–and how Mormons can be won to the Lord as well. It’s not impossible. We’ll discuss that also. Stay tuned.
SALVATION–HOW TO BE ASSURED OF ETERNAL LIFE
What my idea is, or what anyone else’s idea is, of God, eternal life, or any other doctrine, is immaterial. What is pertinent is WHAT IS TRUTH. There can be only one truth. If it were up to me to make the rules, I’d say, “Let everybody go to Heaven regardless of what they believe. I love all people and don’t want to see anyone to suffer eternal damnation. But that’s not God’s way.
I have to, therefore, take my beliefs and throw them out. We must also take all other people’s personal beliefs and throw them out too. Be we Mormon or any other religion or philosophy, we must erase the tape, go back to square one and start with what God has decided from the beginning.
…apart from any unnecessary augmentation from the Latter-day Saints, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christian Scientists, or any other religious organization is not only complete in itself, but tells the beautiful story of God and His desire for a loving fellowship with man. God could not receive love from angels for they are His servants and must follow His directives. After the fall of Lucifer, they had, and still have, no free will. Man, on the other hand, was given by God a free will to either accept or reject Him. That’s how much Our Heavenly Father loves us.
…who created all things (John 1:10), loves you and created you solely for the previously mentioned purpose–to have fellowship with Him. The loving relationship men once had with God was broken by sin when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden. All mankind descended from Adam, and because of that, we have all inherited a sin nature. The Bible calls any rebellion against God sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God….”
Even though there was sin,
…abhorrent to God, in the world, God still loved man and came to Earth in the form of a man–Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father–to provide a way for man to be forgiven and restore the fellowship that had been broken. God demonstrated His love toward us, “…in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
For you to receive this restored fellowship…
…(thus receiving the gift of eternal life) you must receive two things: You must be willing to repent of sinful, selfish ways, turning to God forgiveness as it says in Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out….”
…you must personally receive Jesus Christ as your own Savior and Lord. John 1:12 tells us, “…as many as received him, to them he gave the power [authority] to become the sons [children] of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
You can right now receive the gift of eternal life and come into a loving relationship with the living Savior.
Remember, eternal life is God’s FREE gift to you…
…(It’s absolutely free–no work required. Nobody has to work for a gift!) Ephesians 2:8.9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In other words, we have nothing to brag or boast of ourselves. Salvation is in Him, not our efforts to be good. God is holy. We can never be good enough, of ourselves, for Him.
I am asking you to pray to Jehovah God,…
…Our Father in Heaven, acknowledging you are a sinner and that you cannot be any means save yourself. If you have never prayed before, or have difficulty praying, then pray the prayer I have included at the end of this chapter. Countless numbers of people before have prayed a similar prayer and have been born again into the Kingdom of God.
Finally, proclaim your trust in Jesus,…
…that He died and rose again to save you from eternal death.
Thank the Lord for His forgiveness and His gift of eternal life.
Ask Him to take control of your life and then turn your life over to Him.
Keep in mind that after you have sincerely prayed, you HAVE eternal life.
The Bible gives us the assurance of this 1 John 5:11-13, “And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. These things have I [the Apostle John] written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
These are certainly not the only verses that tell God’s plan of salvation. In fact, out of the 31,102 verses in the Bible, 7,670, or nearly one verse in four, concern the these of salvation, 4,736 of these in the Old Testament alone. 2,934 verses out of the 7,957, or nearly half, in the New Testament deal with this theme, which is the central theme of the Bible.
If you never read another Bible verse in your life, you must read the six I have just quoted in this chapter:
- Romans 3:23
- Romans 5:8
- Acts 3:19
- John 1:12
- Ephesians 2:8,9
- I John 5:11-13
Read them in context. Keep them near and dear to you forever. And do the most important thing you will ever do.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by praying this prayer:
“O, Lord, I realize that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my sin. I am willing to turn from my sin. I now receive Christ as Savior. I confess Him as Lord. I want to follow Him, and serve Him and others in the fellowship of His Name. This I ask in Christ’s name. Amen.”
WITNESSING TO MORMONS
Are there Mormons you’d like to see come to a true saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Does your heart, like mine, go out to Mormons, realizing the fact that without a personal relationship with Jesus they will be cut off from God eternally? Jesus gave us His Great Commission in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature [person].” This includes the LDS for they are lost, trusting in their good works to glorify themselves and not receiving eternal life by grace through faith.
Understand, however, you’ll never win one to Christ without the spirit of love. You must deal with them firmly at times, but always with the love of Jesus in your heart. They must be able to see this love. All the theological reasoning in the world will never get the Mormon saved unless you do not first show him love. He must see that your motives are lovingly honest and sincere.
We’re not talking about winning a person to our side of an argument. This is not like persuading someone to become a Republican or a tennis fan. These are eternal things we are talking about here–the things of God–and they must be dealt with in spiritual terms.
As you were reading through the material in this book you may have thought at times I was a little severe on the LDS. Understand, I love people. I especially love Mormons, for I have a burden to see them accept Christ. It is Mormon THEOLOGY I am against. I do not ridicule the person, but merely the false doctrine he is tangled in. I stand against all these false teachings and challenge Mormons to accept the calling of God to repentance. Sometimes this involves “telling it like it is.” Sometimes it involves criticizing the misdirected leadership that founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Was Jesus Christ any different when he called the Pharisees, “O generation of vipers (sons of snakes)….” (Matthew 12:34)
Equally as important as love, when dealing with the Mormon, is prayer. Don’t ever stop praying for your Mormon friends, your Mormon family members, the leaders of the Mormon church, and especially the Mormons you are currently witnessing to. Remember the Apostle Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
I cannot stress enough the importance of prayer. Pray in faith and you will see results. Maybe not right away, but the results WILL come. Remember that one of God’s answers to prayer is “yes” while another is “wait.” Jesus promised us in John 14:14 that, “If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.”
If, when witnessing to Mormon, you are told, “…you just wanna knock the Church, don’t you?” assure them you are not. Remember, the Church is the Mormon’s security. Your are attacking his stronghold. Tell him the truth. You are not trying to put down the Church, but you love him and want to share with him what Jesus has done for you. Share your salvation testimony. He cannot rightly dispute what has happened in your heart and soul.
Just lift up Jesus. When the Holy Spirit reveals to the Mormon the real Jesus who saves us by grace through our faith and not our good works, he can be led to the Lord. Don’t forget this is spiritual warfare. Any spiritual doctrine that did not come from God came from Satan. It is the enemy that is blocking the Mormons from coming to Christ. Rebuke the Devil in Jesus’ name as you pray.
If you just lift Jesus up, you won’t have to put Mormonism down (too much). Remember when the heart is FULL of Jesus Christ, there is no room for Satan.
Trading proof-texts with a Mormon you are witnessing to is usually not too fruitful, especially when the Mormon can only throw the old “that’s mistranslated” line at you. Once, however, you get past that issue, you might begin by asking the Mormon if he believes God was once a man, and if He was, was He subject to a god before him. The Mormon will, of course answer in the affirmative. Take him to Isaiah 43:10.11 which says, “Ye are my witnesses saith the Lord, and my servant who I have chose: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was NO GOD FORMED, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord and beside me there is no savior.” (not original emphasis)
Any other verses in the Bible that point out the eternal nature of God, those where He exists from everlasting to everlasting for example, would be helpful. A couple of words of caution here: Always use the King James Bible when quoting scripture to the Mormon. Although he believes the Bible is the Word of God only “insofar as it is translated correctly,” he will immediately consider other translations as an abomination. This is what they are taught by their leaders. Try to take a Mormon back to the original Greek and Hebrew where possible. Also it might be best not to try reasoning with a Mormon missionary while he is on his mission. His leaders will reassign him from your area if they think you are trying to witness to him. Besides in all my years of studying Mormonism I have yet to hear of an incident where a missionary was won to Christ while he was on his mission.
Don’t start with the approach that your Mormon friend has to leave the Church. Again, you will be attacking his stronghold. I have heard well-meaning, but ill-trained Christians say to a Mormon something like: “You need to get that spiritual disease out of your life right now! You probably have picked up demons in that organization! They need to be cast from you! Get away from that church before you come to Christ!” Believe me, that approach will never work.
Even when the Mormon makes a decision for Jesus, don’t press him to leave the Church. He will in time, but understand there is a great spiritual battle going on inside of him. There are many reasons why he doesn’t want to leave.
One is fear. Satan will continue to place doubt within him (as he does within us all). You must pray for your Mormon friend and assure him he is on the right road with Christ.
Another is family and friends and the possibility of ostracization by associates. There is comfort in our friends. We enjoy their company. It is the same with family. We don’t want to leave them. And we certainly don’t want to be put down for going off in a new direction if our associates think it is is wrong way. We need to comfort the new convert with the words of Jesus, “…There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time…and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:28, 29)
Another reason Mormons don’t want to leave the LDS church is because they don’t understand Christianity or the Christian church. We as Christians do not claim to attend the only true church. As long as their are people in churches, there will be problems, because people are not perfect. We only claim to have the Only True Way, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must cling to Him alone and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us to a church where Christ is proclaimed and the Bible is revered.
In over 22 years of outreach ministry to the Mormon people, I have never counseled anyone to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I feel that just lifting up Jesus will allow the Holy Ghost to lead the Mormon in the proper direction. Once the real Jesus comes in and lives within a person, he can’t help but leave.
Leaving the Church is not the issue. Which church to join is not the issue. JESUS IS THE ISSUE! Like the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 2:2, “…For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
And again; LOVE, LOVE, LOVE; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
APPENDIX Z–SUMMARY OF MORMON THEOLOGY
God was once a man as we are now. His name was and is Elohim. He was born and lived during his mortal life on a planet near a star named Kolob. When he was a mortal, he worshipped a god who was once a man himself from another planet somewhere else in the universe.
Elohim was faithful to the correct religious teachings of his planet, similar to those we on Earth call Mormonism. Through obedience to these teachings, he elevated himself to godhood. He was given the planet Earth to be god over. With bodies of flesh and bones, as tangible as man’s, he and his many goddess wives had continuous sexual relations, producing spirit children, most of whom have come or will come to Earth as human beings. By being obedient to the teachings, they too have the opportunity to become gods themselves and to someday be rewarded with their own planets to be god over. This principle is called “eternal progression.”
A created being. One of Elohim’s spirit children, who was elected savior of the planet Earth by a council of the gods. Brother of Lucifer. As a mortal, was most likely married to at least three women. Possibly had children whose descendants probably included the Prophet Joseph Smith.
There are two types of salvation. The first is general salvation secured by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All men, regardless of their belief will be resurrected because of the atonement of Christ. They will then go to one of three eternal destinations: the Celestial Kingdom, the Terrestrial Kingdom, and the Telestial Kingdom.
The second type of salvation is actually “exaltation.” By being totally obedient to Mormon teachings, such as participating in the temple rituals for the dead, and being celestially married, one can possibly attain the Celestial Kingdom which includes godhood. Good people, religious (yet non-Mormon) people, plus Mormons who do not totally adhere to the highest ordinances will attain the Terrestrial Kindom. Evil people, rapists, thieves, witches and warlocks, and others like them will attain the first heaven or Telestial Kingdom.
Excommunicated Mormons, and others who have directly opposed the work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the “Sons of Perdition” and go temporarily to a place call the Spirit Prison, but will eventually make it to the Telestial Kingdom. No one will be damned throughout eternity.
The Bible is full of mistakes and errors, mostly in translation, but some passages regardless of context can be used if they support Mormon theology. If a Bible verse contradicts Mormon doctrine, it is mistranslated.
The Book of Mormon is the most perfect book ever written or published. It contains the fullness of the gospel (Mormon theological system). The Doctrine and Covenants, which is the prophetic utterances of Joseph Smith and several other Mormon prophets is also goes for the work known as the Pearl of Great Price. These four works are known as the Standard Works. Recent Mormon prophets, including recent prophet Ezra Taft Bensen, have also said that utterances by any Mormon prophet are to be taken as scripture.
The United States Government will someday fall and the U.S. Constitution, which is a God-inspired document will hang by a thread. The Mormon church will save and set up a theocracy in which the Latter-day Saints will control all commerce and government. Christ will return and set up his kingdom in Independence, Missouri.
The original church set up by Jesus Christ in the first century apostatized and had to be restored in the nineteenth century by Joseph Smith. The current prophet of the Mormon church is the only person with the authority to speak for God. People are not to think for themselves in religious matters, for the thinking is done for them by the leaders of the church. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the only true church. All others are an abomination to God.
TO WATCH A SEVEN MINUTE ANIMATED VIDEO EXPLAINING THE ABOVE AND MORE, CLICK HERE.
APPENDIX B–GLOSSARY OF MORMON TERMS
APOSTLE–One of the twelve men who operate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Salt Lake City and sits on the boards of directors of its many corporations.
BISHOP–The leader of the local LDS congregation.
BOOK OF MORMON–Volume telling the story of ancient Jews who migrated to the American continent many years before the birth of Christ.
BRANCH–A Mormon mission. A congregation smaller than a ward.
BURNING IN THE BOSOM–A subjective feeling Mormons are asked to seek to “confirm” the truth about the church.
BYU–Brigham Young University. Located at Provo, Utah. One of America’s largest private colleges. Owned by the LDS Church.
CHURCH–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The only true church. The visible expression of Mormonism.
DEACON--A church office held by Mormon males who have reached the age of 12 years.
ENDOWMENTS–Special “blessings” held by priesthood members who have participated in temple ceremonies. A part of the temple marriage ceremony or ceremony given to a missionary just before his mission begins.
ETERNAL MARRIAGE–Mormon temple wedding ceremony. Cannot be viewed by non-Mormons. Vastly different from other religious or civil wedding ceremonies. Includes the idea that marriage extends into the next life.
ETERNAL PROGRESSION–The idea that God was once a man, and men through obedience to the Mormon Church can become gods.
FIRST PRESIDENCY–The president of the Mormon Church and his two counselors. Also refers to a state president and his counselors.
GARMENTS–Holy underwear given to Mormons during the temple ceremony. Must be worn at all times the rest of their lives. Some Mormons believe garments have the power to protect their wearers from harm.
GENERAL AUTHORITIES–Current prophet of the church, his counselors, the apostles, and other church leaders in Salt Lake City.
GENTILES–Non-Mormons (even Jews!).
GOSPEL–Mormon theological system.
JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES–Volume of sermons preached by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other early Mormon prophets and other leaders.
MANIFESTO–Proclamation issued by the fourth Mormon prophet, Wilford Woodruff in 1890. Was supposed to stop the practice of polygamy. Considered scripture and found at the conclusion of the Doctrine and Covenants.
MIA–Mutual Improvement Association. Organization for Mormon young people.
MISSION–Usually two years spent by Mormons, mostly young men and women, traveling about to teach Mormonism.
MORONI–Character of the Book of Mormon. Son of the prophet Mormon. Became an angel and directed Joseph Smith in the formation period of the church.
NEPHI–Character of the Book of Mormon. Son of Lehi. Came to the Americas from Jerusalem many years before Christ. His descendants, the Nephites were destroyed by his brother’s descendant, the Lamanites, who became American Indians.
PEARL OF GREAT PRICE–Mormon scriptures containing the Book of Moses, the Book of Abraham, and the writings of Joseph Smith.
POLYGAMY–Having more than one spouse. Actually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Saints has practiced polygyny (having many wives) rather that polyandry (having many husbands).
PRE-EXISTENCE–The belief that we as human beings existed before our present lives as spirits in another world.
PRIESTHOOD–Authority to act on God’s behalf held by Mormon males over the age of 11. Includes both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods.
PRIMARY–Organization for Mormon children.
RECOMMEND–A document prepared and signed by a bishop, authorizing a Mormon to be admitted to the temple to participate in its ceremonies.
RELIEF SOCIETY–Organization for Mormon women.
REORGANIZED CHURCH–The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (note the spelling–different from the Utah Mormons). Headquartered in Missouri. Claim they and not the Utah church descended from Joseph Smith. Does not believe in eternal progression or polygamy.
REVELATION–Religious utterance by the sitting prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Equal to scripture as the Word of God.
SAINT–Member of the LDS Church.
SALVATION–A two-fold doctrine. General salvation is the resurrection of all humans, regardless of their relationship with God, made possible by the death of Christ. The second is “exaltation.” It is working one’s was to the highest heaven through obedience to the Mormon Church.
SEVENTY–A branch of the Mormon priesthood that is responsible for the development of missions.
STAKE–A group of several wards. Similar to a diocese.
STAKE PRESIDENT–The leader of the Stake.
STANDARD WORKS–The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and whatever portions of the Bible that are not mistranslated.
TEMPLE CEREMONY–Celestial marriage in the temple, or the reception of endowments by missionaries. Includes issuance of garments to the participants. Also includes “baptism for the dead.”
WORD OF WISDOM—Doctrine and Covenants, section 89. Warnings by Joseph Smith against tobacco, hot drinks, alcohol, and other practices.
1. Smith, Joesph. The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1982.
2. Smith, Joseph. The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1982.
3. Smith, Joseph. The Book of Mormon, 1961 edition. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1961
4. Martin, Dr. Walter. The Maze of Mormonism. Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books. 1978.
5. Dake, Finis Jennings. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Atlanta, Georia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc. 1963
6. The Encyclopedia Britannica. 1990 Edition.
7. The King James Bible.
8. Richards, LeGrand. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company. 1976
9. Carroll, Dr. J. M. The Trail of Blood. Copyright 1931 by the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky.
10. Smith, Joseph. The Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. 1982
11. McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine. Second edition. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc. 1976.
12. The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House. 1958
13. Strong, James, S.T.D., L.L.D. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, Compact Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House. 1977
14. Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of Cults. Revised and Expanded Edition. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers. 1985
15. Ropp, Harry L. The Mormon Papers. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press. 1977
16. Gilchrist, J. Lawson Introduction to the New Marked Reference Bible, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers. 1972
Born in 1947, Dave Mitchell is a native of Lewisville, Texas and became a Christian in 1959 at the age of 11. After service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Dave married into a Mormon family and was “challenged to investigate” the LDS church. This study led him to enter the Christian Ministry in 1971. He attended International Bible College in San Antonio, completing his undergraduate work at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas and is an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The major area of Dave’s study has been cults and world religions.
Dave has served as an evangelist, prison and street minister, and pastor. He has been involved in outreach to Mormons for over 22 years. He has lectured on Mormonism on college campuses and in countless churches. He is currently president of LDS Outreach Ministries, an organization with a two-fold mission: Minister to the needs of former Mormons and inform Christians about Mormonism and other cults. He is a licensed Southern Baptist minister and is also an ordained minister in the Pentecostal church. Independent of his Christian work, Dave has been a professional journalist for almost 30 years, writing for radio, television and magazines, and also has been a broadcast personality at a number of stations, including several Christian radio stations.
Currently a member of an Assembly of God congregation, Dave is married to the former Claudia Naber and has three children.
Requests for additional information and speaking engagement sould be directed to:
Dave Mitchell, Next Step Outreach:
13463 78th Place North, West Palm Beach, FL 33412;
To my family: My wife Claudia; Dottie, Roi and Cathy; and to my mother Dorothy
I especially want to thank my wonderful wife Claudia and also my mother who helped me with the proofreading of this text. Special thanks also goes to Michael Smith, President of My Color of Hollywood, Florida, who designed the covers.
Words cannot express the gratitude toward my parents, Roi and Dorothy Mitchell, and Rev. Walter C. Easton, Jr., former pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church of Garland, Texas. These are the three people that led me to the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Booklet version published by LDS Outreach Ministries
All Scripture quotations in this book, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
Copyright 1994 by James David Mitchell
Published by LDS Outreach Ministries
An updated edition is on the way for late 2012 or early 2013, to be published by Xulon Press, Maitland, Florida, USA.
ALL RIGHTS RESEERVED. NO PORTION OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE PUBLISHER. YOU MAY NOT USE THE PRINT BUTTON BELOW.
Printed in United States of America
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