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Mormonism

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Cults By Rev. Paul Seiler

Mormonism

7.1 INTRODUCTION

Mormonism, or otherwise known as 'The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints,' is one of the largest cults in the world. It is the predominant religion in the State of Utah, U.S.A, where it has its headquarters in Salt Lake City. It is active all around the world and has a large following here in Australia.

7.2 THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF MORMONISM.

Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith, who was born on the 23rd December 1805 in the small town of Sharon in Vermont, U.S.A.56 He was the third son of a family of nine children. In 1817, his family settled in Palmyra, New York, where his parents joined the Presbyterian Church.57 According to Joseph Smith's own account, when he was fourteen years old he received a special revelation from God. He had at that time begun to question which denomination he should join. While pondering this question, he went into the woods to pray for wisdom, and it was there that the Father and the Son appeared to him. In this vision, which he claimed to receive, the Father appeared to him and pointed to the Son and said, “This is my beloved Son. Hear Him!” Joseph was told by the “Son” that all the denominations of Christendom were wrong, and all their creeds were an abomination to Him. He was told that he should not join any of them.58 Some years later on, in September 21st, 1823, when he was seventeen years old, he received another vision from God, so he claimed. While praying in his bedroom, an angel, by the name of Moroni appeared to him, and told him that God had work for him to do. He was told about certain golden plates, which contained the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.” These golden plates contained messages, which had originally been delivered to the early inhabitants of America by Jesus Himself, while He was on earth. These plates had been buried by Moroni, when he was a man many hundreds of years earlier. Moroni had put them in a stone box, which he buried in the side of a hill called Cumorah, near Joseph's home in Palmyra, in the State of New York. The angel Moroni told Joseph exactly where to find the golden plates, but did not allow him to get them at that time.59 The following day Joseph went to the hill and found the plates, just as the angel Moroni had told him. However, in accordance with the angel's wishes he reburied the plates and did not begin translation work on them until September 22nd, 1827, when he was granted permission by the angel to remove them.60

In the autumn of 1827, according to Joseph Smith, he began translating the messages on these golden plates into English. The language of these golden plates was 'Reformed Egyptian'. Joseph was enabled to do this translation with the help of the 'Urim and Thummim' a type of miraculous spectacles which the angel Moroni had supplied him.61 This translation work was done in the barn on a certain farmer named Martin Harris. Harris had become interested in Joseph Smith's work and allowed him to do his translation work in his barn. Harris planned to assist Joseph Smith to publish the book when he finished his translation of the golden plates. In order to ascertain whether the golden plates were genuine, he took copies of some of the strange letters that appeared on them, and which Joseph Smith had reproduced for him on paper, to Professor Charles Anton of Columbia University. Smith later wrote that the Professor had identified the letters as Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac and Arabic. According to Joseph Smith's account, the Professor regarded Smith's translation of these words as more accurate than anything he had seen before.

Herein one can see the terrible lie upon which this cult is built. For Professor Anton gave a very different account of this event. When he became aware of Joseph Smith's claims, he wrote a letter, dated February 17th 1834, in which he gave an explanation of exactly what did take place when Martin Harris came to him. This is what he wrote,

 

New York, N.Y., Feb, 1834

Mr E.D Howe

Painesville, Ohio

 

I received this morning your favour of the 9th instant and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be 'reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics' is perfectly false. Some years ago, a plain and apparently simple-hearted farmer called upon me with a note from Dr Mitchell of our city, now deceased, requesting me to decipher, if possible, a paper which the farmer would hand me, and which Dr. Mitchell confessed he had been unable to understand. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a hoax. When I asked the person who brought it how he obtained the writing, he gave me, as far I can now recollect, the following account: A "gold book" consisting of a number of plates of gold, fastened together in the shape of a book by wires of the same metal, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and along with the book an enormous pair of “gold spectacles.” These spectacles were so large, that if a person attempted to look through them, his eyes would have to be turned towards one of the glasses merely, the spectacles being altogether too large for the breadth of the human face. Whoever examined the plates through the spectacles was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning. All this knowledge however was confined at that time to a young man, who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain, in the garret of the farm house, and being thus concealed from view, put on the spectacles occasionally, or rather looked through one of the glasses, deciphered the characters in the book, and having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who stood on the outside. Not a word, however, was said about the plates having been deciphered “by the gift of God”. Everything, in this way, was effected by the large pair of spectacles. The farmer added that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money towards the publication of the “golden book” the contents of which would, as he had been assured, produce an entire change in the world and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm and handing over the amount received to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, however, he had resolved to come to New York and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he had brought with him and which had been given to him as part of the contents of the book, although no translation had been furnished at the time by the young man with the spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax upon the learned, I began to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money and I communicated my suspicions to him, warning him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which of course I declined giving, and he took his leave carrying the paper with him. This paper was in fact a singular scrawl. It consisted of crooked characters disposed in columns and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that paper contained anything else but “Egyptian Hieroglyphics.”

I have thus given you a full statement of all that I know respecting the origin of Mormonism, and must beg you, as a personal favour, to publish this letter immediately should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics.

Yours respectfully,

Charles Anton, LL.D

Columbia University.62

 

Martin Harris did not heed the Professor's warnings, since he mortgaged his farm in order to raise money for the publication of the Book of Mormon. He was one of the eleven witnesses who, according to the preface in the Book of Mormon, actually saw the golden plates. However, he later confessed that he had not actually seen the golden plates. He said this:

"Well, I did not see them just as I see the penholder, but I saw them with the eye of faith. I saw them as plainly as I see anything whatever about me, although at the time they were covered over with cloth."63

It is evident from the remark above that he did not actually see the golden plates, since they were covered with a cloth, rather he saw them with the “eye of faith”. One cannot but be amazed that people could have been deceived by Joseph Smith. It just demonstrates how clever the devil is at deceiving the minds of unbelievers.

During the period of 1827-1829 while Joseph was translating the golden plates more people joined Joseph's new religion, and among them was Oliver Cowdery, an itinerant school teacher. Oliver became Joseph's scribe, he wrote down what Joseph alleged the plates contained. According to Joseph Smith, Cowdery went with him into the woods in May 1829 to pray, at which time they were visited by John the Baptist, who conferred upon them the Aaronic priesthood.64 The difficulty is explaining why both Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery were later excommunicated from the Mormon cult and described as “thieves” and “liars”.65 When it is considered that these men are among those eleven witnesses mentioned in the preface of the book of Mormon, it certainly raises questions concerning the credibility of the book of Mormon.

The Mormon Church officially began on April 6th 1830, when Joseph Smith, with his two brothers, Hyrum and Samuel, along with Oliver Cowdery and Peter and David Whitmer, officially founded, “The Church of the Latter Day Saints.”66 The Mormon cult underwent a tremendous initial growth. Within six years of its starting it had some 1600 members.67 In the year 1831 the nucleus of the cult relocated to Kirtland, Ohio, U.S.A.68 It was from that location that Joseph Smith made his initial thrust into Jackson County Missouri. He received a revelation from God, indicating that Jackson County Missouri was the land of promise in which to build the city of Zion. He purchased sixty-three acres of land there with the hope of building this city. However all did not go well for them in Missouri, for the citizens of that county did not share Joseph Smith's vision. It was not long before the Mormons fell into disfavour and mobs began to attack them, so in 1833 they were forced to leave.69 They moved further west in Missouri, where they founded another town. However, they also ran into problems there. They eventually made their way to Hanock County, Illinois in 1839, where Joseph Smith achieved his dream in some measure to establish a Mormon city. There they built the first Mormon city, which they called “Nauvoo”, in which they erected well over two thousand homes and a temple and various other structures.70

However, their Mormon community at Nauvoo ran into difficulties due largely to their practice of polygamy. This dubious practice resulted in raising much opposition from their neighbours in Hanock County. In addition, a number of disillusioned Mormons left the cult and founded a newspaper which they called “The Nauvoo Expositor”. With this newspaper, they vigorously attacked Joseph Smith and the practice of polygamy. Joseph Smith was so angry with them that he ordered his men to destroy the printing press and burn every issue of the paper they could find. When the owners of the press complained to the authorities, Joseph Smith and his brother were arrested. On June 27th 1844 a mob stormed the gaol where Joseph and his brother were being kept, and murdered them.71 This, unfortunately, did not put an end to Mormonism, in fact it really paved the way for Joseph Smith to be regarded as a martyr. If he been allowed to live longer, then he would, no doubt, have discredited himself with all his lies and deceit, but his martyrdom ensured his perpetual enshrinement in Mormon history.

After the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young assumed leadership of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Not long after he became the new leader, the State of Illinois informed the Mormons that they had to leave Nauvoo. So in February 1846 some four hundred wagons headed west under the leadership of Brigham Young in an epic journey. On July 24th, 1847 they arrived at the Salt Lake Valley, in the State of Utah, where they established a new Mormon city. Salt Lake City has been the headquarters of the Mormon cult ever since. Brigham Young retained his position as leader of the Church of the Latter Day Saints for more than 30 years. During that time the cult grew considerably.

Brigham Young was a very ruthless man. An incident that occurred on the Mormon trip to Utah, well demonstrates this point. While on their journey to Utah, he ordered John D Lee to kill all the people on a wagon train. Brigham Young was responsible for the massacre of one hundred and fifty people, including women and children. Twenty years later John Lee was tried, convicted and imprisoned for this crime. He confessed to the crime, but maintained that he was simply acting under the orders of Brigham Young.72

What then does history demonstrate about the characters who founded the Church of the Latter Day Saints? It demonstrates that Joseph Smith was a fraud and a con-man and that he has ultimately led millions of people into believing a lie. History demonstrates that the second leader of the cult, Brigham Young, was nothing short of a mass murderer. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them” These men demonstrated by their fruits that they were not children of God, but children of the devil. Mormonism today boasts millions of members world-wide. How do we account for its apparent success? The only explanation of this is that these men were of their father, the devil, who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and by means of his power they were able to deceive so many.

7.3 THE MORMON'S VIEW OF THEIR OWN ORGANISATION.

The Mormon cult has a high regard for its own importance. It believes that the Christian Church fell into a state of apostasy just after the apostolic age, and that it had remained in this state of apostasy up until the foundation of the Mormon Church in 1830. They believe that Jesus Christ re-established His Church in the last days, through His prophet Joseph Smith. They hold the Christian Church to be apostate. Note the following remarks, made by Orson Pratt, one of the early apostles of the Mormon cult:

"They [the Christians Church] have nothing to do with Christ, neither has Christ anything to do with them, only to pour upon them the plagues written .... All who will not now repent, as the authority is once more restored to the earth, and come forth out of the corrupt apostate churches and be adopted into the Church of Christ and earnestly seek after the blessing and miraculous gifts of the gospel shall be thrust down to hell, saith the Lord of hosts.73

This quote makes it clear that Mormons consider themselves to be the only group of people true to God. They send out their young Mormon missionaries to bring people out of the apostate Christian Church into the true Mormon Church. Mormons take a very dim view of Protestantism, and do not consider the Reformation as a genuine work of God. In their understanding the Reformation was not a work of God, since none of the Reformers were given direct revelation from God. James Talmage, a prominent Mormon leader, said the following in regards to the Church of the Latter Day Saints:

"The Latter-day Saints declare their high claim to be the true church organisation, similar in all essentials to the organisation effected by Christ among the Jews. This people of the last days profess to have the Priesthood of the Almighty, the power to act in the name of God, which power commands respect on earth and in heaven."74

 

It is evident by such remarks that Mormon's regard themselves as the only true church, with a priesthood sanctioned by God. In their understanding, if you don't belong to the Church of the Latter Day Saints then you are not in the true Church.

7.4 THE MORMONS HAVE A DEFECTIVE VIEW OF SCRIPTURE.

The Mormons have a defective view of the Holy Scriptures. Their official Bible is the King James Version, which they regard as incorrect in many places. They have a very low view of the reliability of the Bible. For among the many things that Joseph Smith set out to do was to revise the Bible, which he considered to be full of mistakes. Note the following comment of John Widtsoe, regarding Joseph Smith's attempt to revise the Bible:

"The prophet Joseph Smith, from the beginning of his ministry, gave some time to revising passages in the Bible which had been translated incorrectly or so rendered as to make the meaning obscure."75

In actual fact, Joseph Smith did not attempt a give us a better translation of the Bible at all. He did not examine the Hebrew or Greek texts of the Bible, comparing manuscripts, as is the case in authentic textual criticism. What he did was to completely rewrite certain passages of Scripture, in the light of his supposed new revelations. Among the changes that he introduced was to add a completely new section to the third chapter of Genesis. In this addition, he gives an account of how Satan came before God and offered to be sent into the world to redeem mankind, if only he could receive God's honour. When God refused to grant him his request, he rebelled against God.76 He also added an entirely new section to the sixth chapter of Genesis, in which he gave an account of Adam's baptism by immersion.77 This is to mention just a few of the changes that he made to the Bible. The peculiar thing about this is that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints does not use Joseph Smith's revised Bible, although they regard it as legitimate. A former President of the Mormon Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, said the following with regards to Joseph Smith's revision:

 

The revision of the Bible which was done by Joseph Smith at the command of the Lord was not a complete revision of the Bible. There are many parts of the Bible in which the Prophet did not change the meaning, where it is incorrect.... However, all that he did is very helpful, for the major errors have been corrected.78

If the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to revise the Bible, and he partially completed the task, then why doesn't the Mormon Church publish their Bible with Joseph Smith's alterations? The only consistent Mormons, in this regard, are the "Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints," a breakaway Mormon group, who have published a Bible with Joseph Smith's additions in it, and use it as their official version of the Bible.79

What then can we say regarding the Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible? We must point out to Mormons that the Bible clearly teaches that there is no room for further revelation. The final book of the Bible concludes with these solemn words:

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the hol y city, which are described in this book." (Revelation 22:18,19 )

7.5 THE BOOK OF MORMON.

One of the characteristic features of a Christian based cult is the claim of extra biblical revelation. The Mormons do not disappoint us in this respect, since they make no apology in claiming to have extra-biblical revelation. As we have already witnessed Joseph Smith added new sections to the Bible. The most important book for the Mormons is not the Bible, which they regard as full of mistakes, but it is the "Book of Mormon," which they claim is the inspired word of God. The title page to the book of Mormon reads as follows:

"The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ".

This title shows that the Mormons regard, "The Book of Mormon" as being equally inspired as the Holy Bible, although superior to it, because unlike the Bible, it has not been subjected to the introduction of many mistakes.

Is it true that God gave further revelation through Joseph Smith? Should we believe the Mormons when they tell us Jesus Christ has given further revelations through Joseph Smith and others? The Church has consistently held from early times that the canon of the New Testament closed with the book of Revelation, the last book to be written. There was no need for further revelations from God since the Bible contains the most perfect revelation of Jesus Christ. The Westminster Confession says the following about the completion of revelation:

"The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, and for man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly stated in Scripture, or by good and necessary reasoning, may be deduced from Scripture. Nothing, whether new revelations of the Spirit or human traditions, is ever to be added to Scripture."80

What then is the conclusion about the Book of Mormon and other supposed Mormon revelations? We must reject such revelations as being false. For the Bible alone is God's complete and final written revelation to man.

Does the Book of Mormon stand up to investigation?

1. No Archaeological evidence supporting book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon purports to be an historical outline of the activities of two ancient civilisations. The first of these great civilisations was “Jaredites”, who supposedly left the tower of Babel about B.C. 2,250 and moved over into Europe. Later they moved from Europe and crossed over to central America. These Jaredites were destroyed as a result of their corruption, and their civilisation was completely wiped out. The second group of immigrants to America were actually Jews, who left Jerusalem about B.C. 600 and crossed the Pacific Ocean to land in South America, to what is now known as Peru. These immigrants divided into two tribes, the Nephites and Lamanites, and began to fight with one another up until the year A.D. 385. In this year the Lamanites almost completely destroyed the Nephites and only two dozen of these Nephites survived. Because the Lamanites destroyed the Nephites, God cursed them and turned their skin black. One of the survivors of the Nephites was Mormon, the son of Moroni. It was Mormon who recorded these historical events on plates of gold and buried them in the hill Cumorah, where Joseph Smith unearthed them almost 1400 years later. What archaeological evidence exists for these civilisations? None! There is not a scrap of archaeological evidence that these civilisation ever existed. Archaeologists have never uncovered any evidence at all that these civilisation existed. The following statement concerning this lack of archaeological evidence was made by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, a leading archaeological institute in the U.S.A:

"There is no correspondence whatever between archaeological sites and cultures as revealed by scientific investigations, and as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Interpretation of archaeological and ethnographic data, moreover, are quite unlike the American prehistory which the Book of Mormon describes.....I do not know of any case where an archaeological site has been identified with any of the names of the cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The most likely ruined cities would be those in the Maya area, and they all have native names which do not correspond to those in your list."81

It is apparent from the above quote that no archaeological evidence exists of these civilisations.

2. The problem of plagiarism.

Among the big problems the Mormons have to answer is the clear evidence of plagiarism in the Book of Mormon. It is very obvious that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon was well versed in the King James Version of the Bible. There are numerous instances in the Book of Mormon, where virtually whole sentences from the King James version are used. The Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon was written by Mormon on golden plates and that it was translated by Joseph Smith. If this is so, then why have quotes from the King James version of the Bible entered in the Book of Mormon? The King James version of the Bible did not come into existence, as a translation from the Greek, until more than twelve hundred years after the supposed initial writing of the Book of Mormon.

Note the following example of plagiarism from the King James version in the Book of Mormon:

 

"And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence. (2Nephi 14:5)"82

Compare that with the King James version of Isaiah 4:5

"And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence." (Isaiah 4:5 K.J.V)

It will be observed from the above quotes that 2 Nephi 14:5 is almost a direct quote from the King James version. How could Mormon, who according to the Mormons, wrote the Book of Mormon in the fourth century A.D., quote a version of the Bible, that was not written until the seventeenth century A.D? This was more than twelve hundred years in the future. But to complicate the matter even further, the King James rendering of Isaiah 4:5 , which the Book of Mormon quotes, is inaccurate. The translator of the King James version incorrectly translated the Hebrew word chuppah as "defence." The word does not mean this at all, it means a protective canopy or curtain.83 Remember that according to the Mormons, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, whom God told to revise the Bible. Well it is obvious that this mistake in the King James escaped his notice. This offers very clear proof of the fraudulent nature of the book of Mormon.

It is evident from the things shown above that the Book of Mormon was not written on golden plates in the fourth century by a man called Mormon, and later discovered by Joseph Smith and translated into English. Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon was acquainted with the King James Version of the Bible, and even reproduced the mistakes in it.

Who then did write the Book of Mormon? There is evidence to suggest that the Book of Mormon was actually written by a retired minister, Joseph Spalding. It would appear that he wrote the Book of Mormon, not as a divine revelation, but as a novel. Joseph Smith got hold of his manuscript, before it was published. When Spalding died, Joseph was free to claim the contents of this book as his own divine revelation.84

3. The many changes made to the Book of Mormon.

Another very serious flaw to the authenticity of the book of Mormon is that it has undergone a considerable number of changes, more than three thousand nine hundred, since the 1830 edition. The original 1830 edition is considerably different in places from today's version. Surely this is good reason to reject the claim that it is the inspired word of God. If it were God's word then no such changes would be required.

7.6 THE MORMONS HAVE A HERETICAL DOCTRINE OF GOD.

As we have seen in our examination of other cults, they are characterised by a false doctrine of God. The Mormons are no exception to this, and depart from the historic position of the church, in affirming the doctrine of one God in three persons. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints is thoroughly polytheistic in its doctrine of God, and departs in a major way from historic Christian teaching.

Mormons deny the Trinity.

The Mormons deny the doctrine of the Trinity, in that they regard God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three separate gods. Note the following statement made by Joseph Smith in a sermon he preached:

"I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text [Rev. 1:6 , in the King James Version] for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods...........I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute distinct personages and three Gods...........Many men say that there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that it is a strange God anyhow - three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organisation.... All are to be crammed into one God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God - he would be a giant or a monster."85

The above statement make it abundantly clear that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, have an erroneous doctrine of God. As the above statements were made by Joseph Smith, who was a “prophet,” they cannot be wrong. Yet, they contradict the Book of Mormon, which actually teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. The two following quotes are taken from the Book of Mormon:

"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." (IINephi 31:21)

"Every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame ...and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one eternal God." (Alma 11:44)

It is quite evident from the above quotes from the Book of Mormon that it teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. It is difficult to understand how the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints can teach that the Book of Mormon is another revelation of God, when it teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, which they deny. Their inspired literature most obviously contradicts itself on this point.

Mormons believe in many gods.

Mormons are polytheist, in that they believe in the existence of many gods. As we have already seen they believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate gods. However, they do not stop at that, they believe that there are many other gods besides the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the same sermon quoted earlier, Joseph Smith said:

"The doctrine of the plurality of gods is prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God - that is, pertaining to us.....The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take that view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods."86

It is evident from this statement that Joseph Smith believed in the existence of many gods. He taught that the "plurality of gods is prominent in the Bible," so much so that even a fool could see that the Bible taught the existence of many gods. The same polytheistic doctrine of God was also taught by Brigham Young, the second leader of the Mormons, who said:

"How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were no Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity."87

Mormons are guilty of a false and erroneous view of God. For the Bible is emphatic in teaching that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4 ; Isaiah 44:6 ; 1 Timothy 2:5 ).

Mormons deny the spirituality of God.

The Christian Church has uniformly taught that God is Spirit, and that He does not have a material body. Note the following quote from the Westminster Confession:

There is but one, and only one, living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a completely pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or uncontrolled passions. (W.C.F 2:1) 88

This statement is adhered to by all orthodox Christians, but the Mormons deny the doctrine of the spirituality of God. Note the following statement made by Joseph Smith:

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's: the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of the Spirit."89

Brigham Young, who succeed Joseph Smith as the leader of the Mormons, said:

"When our father Adam came in the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organise this world. He is Michael, the archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken - He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do."90

This peculiar statement indicates that God the Father is to be identified with Adam, and that He came into this world with one of his wives and assisted in organising the world. Such a statement is loaded with numerous difficulties, but one clear inference is that God the Father has a body of flesh and blood, and a number of wives in heaven. So, according to Mormon doctrine, the Father is male and has female wives in heaven. John A. Widtsoe, a prominent Mormon author, put it this way:

"In accordance with Gospel philosophy there are males and females in heaven. Since we have a Father, who is our God, we must also have a mother, who possesses the attributes of Godhood."91

 

Note the words of a well-known Mormon hymn entitled, "O My Father":

"I had learned to call thee Father, through Thy Spirit from on high;

But, until the key of Knowledge, was restored, I knew not why.

In the heavens are parents single? No; the thought makes reason stare!

Truth is reason; truth is eternal, I've a mother there."92

The Mormon doctrine of the material nature of God is far removed from the teaching of the Bible. For as Jesus said, "God is Spirit." (John 4:24 ). To teach that God has a material body, is to deny the teaching of the Bible, and to logically deny that He is omnipresent, for if God has a material body, then He is confined to one place. It is evident that the god, whom the Mormons worship is not the God whom Christians worship. For the God whom Christians worship is present everywhere. (Psm 139:7,8)

Mormons teach that God the Father was once a man.

Not only do the Mormons teach that God the Father has a material body, but they also teach that He was once a man like us. Mormons believe that God, the Father, graduated to His present position over a long period of time. Joseph Smith made the following statement in his famous "King Follet Discourse," which he delivered at the funeral of Elder, King Follet, in 1844:

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! ..... If you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form ... He was once a man like us; yea ... God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did ..."93

Note the following quote from a Mormon writer:

"Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing. He became God - an exalted being - through obedience to the same eternal Gospel truths that we are given opportunity today to obey." 94

The fifth president of the Mormon Church, Lorenzo Snow, expressed this same truth in the following statement: "

"As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become."95

It is apparent from the above quotes that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days Saints believes that God the Father was once an ordinary mortal man, and that He came to this earth in order to receive a physical body. After a period of earthly probation, He died and was raised again. Having passed through His probation, He advanced to the status of the godhead. However, that is not the extent of their error, for they also teach that mortal men may go through the same probation and become equal with God. Such teaching is nothing short of the most blasphemous heresy imaginable. For in Mormon theology, not only is God dragged down to the level of man, but man is exalted to the status of God. Such teachings enable us to see the Satanic nature of Mormonism. For Satan tempted our first parents with the promise that they would become like God if they ate the forbidden fruit. (Gen. 3:4) The doctrines of Mormonism are clearly inspired by the devil, in that they drag God down and put man in the place of God.

Mormons have an unbiblical view of the Holy Spirit.

The Mormons have a peculiar doctrine of the Holy Spirit, in that on the one hand they say that an immaterial spirit cannot exist, yet on the other hand they believe that the Holy Spirit does exist. Note the following statement taken from the Mormon publication, Articles of Faith:

"It has been said, therefore, that God is everywhere present; but this does not mean that the actual person of any one member of the Godhead can be physically present in more than one place at one time ...... Admitting the personality of God, we are compelled to accept the fact of His materiality; indeed, and an 'immaterial being,' under which meaningless name some have sought to designate the condition of God, cannot exist, for the very expression is a contradiction in terms. If God possesses a form, that form is of necessity of definite proportions and therefore of limited extension in space. It is impossible for Him to occupy at one time more than one space of such limits."96

This statement clearly shows that according to Mormons an immaterial being cannot exist. Yet in another Mormon publication, Doctrine and Covenants, the Holy Spirit is described as follow:

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's: the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit."97

This is clearly a contradiction, for in one declaration the Mormons state that an immaterial being cannot exist, yet in the other they state that the Holy Spirit does not have a body of flesh and blood. If an immaterial body cannot exist then logically the Holy Spirit cannot exist.

Mormons have an unbiblical doctrine of the Son of God.

Mormons also have an unbiblical doctrine of God's Son. For they do not believe that God's Son is eternal, as Christians do. Mormons believe that God's Son was a spirit-child of God the Father and His wife. They regard Jesus as the first spirit-child of God. In their understanding Jesus was the literal spirit son of the Father and His wife. Note the following quote from their publication - Doctrine and Covenants:

"And now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the First-born; And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the First-born. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father."98

The word 'first-born' is used here in the sense that Jesus was the first-born spirit child of God in heaven. The Mormons actually believe that all humans had a pre-existent spirit, that existed before they were born into this world. They believe that God and His wife produced many spirit offspring, and these offspring have to come into this world in order to get a physical body. In their thinking, the only difference between us and Jesus is that he was the first-born spirit-child of God.

7.7 MORMONS HAVE AN UNBIBLICAL VIEW OF THE ATONEMENT.

The Mormon doctrine of Christ's atonement is vastly different from the teaching of Scripture. For according to their teaching there are many sins that were not atoned for by Christ when He died on the cross. Note the following statements made by Brigham Young:

"There is not a man or woman who violates covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. Your own blood must atone for it, the judgements of the Almighty will come sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking covenants."99

"All mankind love themselves: and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed... I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins...This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it."100

Since Brigham Young's revelations and teachings are considered by Mormons to be inspired, there is no doubt concerning the Mormon position regarding redemption through the blood of Christ. According to Mormonism there are sins that the blood of Jesus Christ is incapable of washing away. Such sins must be atoned for by people shedding their own blood.

Such a doctrine of the atonement is completely contrary to that taught in the Bible, which teaches that Christ's blood does atone for all our sins. For when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid the penalty for all the sins of the elect. If we had to answer for one sin on the day of judgement, we would be cast into hell. The Bible teaches that Jesus' blood cleanses us from all sins (1 John 1:7 ).

7.8 MORMONS DENY THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION BY GRACE.

The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace and through faith, and is not secured by our efforts to keep the law (Eph. 2:8-11 ). However, the Mormon doctrine of salvation involves not only faith in Christ, but baptism by immersion, obedience to the Mormon church and keeping commandments. Note the following remarks made by James Talmage in the Articles of Faith:

"3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion, for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Spirit."101

Such statements make it clear that Mormons do not believe in salvation by grace through faith. Mormons do not regard salvation as a free gift from God and the result of God's grace. They do not view salvation as unmerited on our part, no, for them salvation is something to be earned. Note the following statement made by Joseph Smith:

"Very gladly would the Lord give to everyone eternal life, but since the blessing can come only on merit - through the faithful performance of duty - only those who are worthy shall receive it.....To be exalted one must keep the whole law...... To receive exaltation of the righteous, in other words eternal life, the commandments of the Lord must be kept in all things."102

It is clearly evident from this statement that the Mormons do not consider eternal life to be a free gift, as indicated by the Bible, but is the reward for faithful performance of duty. Note what the Mormon author B.R McConkie says:

"Grace is simply the mercy, the love and the condescension God has for his children, as a result of which he has ordained the plan of salvation so that they may have power to progress and become like him.... All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning that they are resurrected and become immortal because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ... In addition to this redemption from death, all men, by the grace of God, have the power to gain eternal life. This is called salvation by grace coupled with obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Hence Nephi was led to write: "We labour diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to 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."

"Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose ones salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as to pretend and at least, to believe, that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept Him as our personal Saviour, we are thereby saved. His blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us clean.......Finally in our day, he has said plainly: "My blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not"... Salvation in the kingdom of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. But it is received only on condition of faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God."103

These statements by the Mormons make it very clear that they do not believe that Christ's sacrifice alone is sufficient to save us from our sins. They teach that people are saved by the blood of Christ plus by keeping the law. This is clearly contrary to the teachings of Scripture, in fact this was the very heresy that Paul addressed in Galatians. The heretics in Galatia were teaching salvation as, partly by faith in Christ and partly by keeping the law. Paul demonstrated in this letter that justification can never be achieved through the law. The Mormons, in harmony with the other cults, do not uphold the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. They believe that salvation is by faith plus baptism and plus works.

Mormon's belief about baptism

Mormons teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. In their teaching unless a person is baptised by full immersion as an adult then that person cannot be saved. Note the following statement made by Joseph Smith:

"Verily, verily, I (Christ) say unto you (Joseph Smith), they who believe not on your words, and are not baptised in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned." 104

It is evident from this quote that Mormons believe that baptism in water by full immersion is absolutely necessary for salvation. This is to place far greater importance on water baptism than is placed on it by the Bible. The emphasis which Mormons place on water baptism is seen in their practice of baptising people on behalf of their dead relatives. Mormons believe that the practice of being baptised on behalf of the dead was instituted from before the foundation of the world. It is because of this belief that they are the world's leading authorities in genealogies. Joseph Smith taught that those who fail to be baptised for their relatives jeopardise their own salvation:

"Those saints who neglect it (baptism of the dead) on behalf of their relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation."105

The view that water baptism is the means by which a person is saved is thoroughly inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture. The Bible does not teach that baptism saves a person. Jesus clearly commanded His disciples to baptise converts in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19 ) However, while baptism is important, it is not a prerequisite to salvation. God is able to save those who have not been baptised. The Bible presents baptism as an outward sign and symbol of being a child of God. Paul taught that circumcision was only of value if one was circumcised in the heart, so also baptism is only of value if one is baptised in the Holy Spirit. (Roman 2:25-29)

7.9 MORMON'S DOCTRINE OF MAN.

Not only do the Mormons depart from orthodox teaching about the nature of God, but they also are in great error in their doctrine of man.

Mormon's doctrine of man's original state.

The Mormon's also have a very peculiar teaching about the pre-existence of human spirits. They teach that Adam existed as a spirit being before he came to earth, he is identified with the Archangel Michael and even with God Himself. His primary purpose for coming into this world was to receive a body of flesh from God. Likewise, Eve was a pre-existent spirit before she came into this world. She also came into this world in order to receive a body of flesh and blood. Indeed, Mormons teach that all people who have ever lived on this earth in the past, or will inhabit it in the future, existed as spirits before they were born into this world. They do not believe that our existence began when we were born into this world, according to them all people existed as spirits before they were born into this world. Talmage, a Mormon authority, says the following regarding what he sees as a parallel between our existence and that of Christ:

"Yet Christ was born a child among mortals: and it is consistent to infer that if His earthly birth was the union of a pre-existent or ante-mortal spirit with a mortal body such also is the birth of every member of the human family."106

Note the following statement by Brigham Young:

"Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world." 107

A statement made by the first Presidency of the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, makes it clear that the Mormons believe that God has a wife in heaven, who is the mother of all the spirit children:

"All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity; as spirits they were the offspring of celestial parentage." 108

It is evident from such statements that the Mormons teach that all men and women had pre-existent spirits and that all people are literally the offspring of heavenly parents. This doctrine of man has no foundation in Scripture at all. It involves views of God that are nothing short of blasphemous.

Mormons have a defective view of the fall.

Mormons also have a defective view of the fall, in that they do not regard Adam as having sinned by taking the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. They teach that Adam was placed in such a position that he was left with no choice, but to disobey God's commandment. In Mormon doctrine, after Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, she ceased to have an immortal body. Adam, on the other hand, did have an immortal body before he ate the forbidden fruit. Since he was in such a different state to Eve, he could not remain with her. This left him with a very difficult choice to make. If he failed to eat the forbidden fruit, he would no longer be able to remain with his wife, Eve. This would prevent him from keeping God's command to populate the earth. Therefore, Adam chose to disobey the commandment no to eat the forbidden fruit. He did this in order that he might remain with Eve. According to Mormons, Adam's choice to eat the forbidden fruit was a wise choice, since it permitted him to populate the world, as he had been commanded to do. Thus, in Mormon theology what Adam did in eating the forbidden fruit was not sin. Note the following quote from the Book of Mormon:

"And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the Garden of Eden ... And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin ... Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy"

(II Nephi 2:22-25).

A past president of the Mormons, Joseph Fielding Smith, said:

"The fall of man came as a blessing in disguise, and was the means of furthering the purposes of the Lord in the progress of man, rather than a means of hindering them."109

As is evident in this quote, Mormons do not regard Adam's disobedience toward God as sin at all. They regard the fall as a step upwards for man, rather than a step backwards. In their understanding, if Adam had not eaten the forbidden fruit then this world would be empty of human beings. Mormons do not take seriously the Bible's teaching about man's fall into sin. One wonders how they explain the third chapter of Genesis, in which the guilt of Adam is so clearly set forth. Their teaching on the subject of the fall clearly conflicts with Paul's teaching about the fall of Adam, as expressed in Romans chapter five. For in that chapter, Paul teaches that sin and death entered into the world through Adam. They do not regard Adam as the one responsible for the curse which now rests upon mankind. The Bible, very clearly, condemns Adam's act of eating the forbidden fruit as a serious sin against God.

7.10 CONCLUSION

It is evident from the examination of Mormon material that has been quoted above that Mormonism is a false religion. Its doctrines depart from the teachings of orthodox Christianity in a very significant ways. It rejects the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity, such as the Christian doctrine of the trinitarian nature of God, God's spirituality, man's sinfulness, and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Its teachings are not based on the Bible, but on the teachings of its founders, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Such revelations did not come from God, but from the devil. The terrible tragedy is that there are millions of people who are deceived by this cult.

I hope that the information that I have given you will help you to understand this cult more fully, and that such understanding will put you in a better position to evangelise the Mormons that you may encounter.

56A.A Hoekema op cit p.9

57ibid p.9

58Joseph Smith Pearl of Great Price Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1952, p.47

59ibid p.50,51

60ibid p.54

61ibid pp 56,57

62Fritz Ridenour op cit pp 128-130

63Walter Martin Mormonism Bethany House Publishers Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1984, p.8

64A.A Hoekema op cit p.12

65Walter Martin Mormonism op cit p.8

66A.A Hoekema op cit p.13

67Walter Martin The Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.153

68ibid p.153.

69A.A Hoekema op cit p.14

70Walter Martin Mormonism op cit p.9

71A.A Hoekema op cit p.14

72Walter Martin The Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.156. (Quote taken from the Mormon publication - The Articles of Faith.)

73A.A Hoekema op cit p.63

74A.A Hoekema op cit p.63

75ibid p.19 (Quoted from the Mormon publication, Evidences of Reconciliation, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1960, p.117.)

76ibid p.20

77ibid p.20

78ibidp.21

79ibid p.19

80The Westminster Confession For the Church Today (A modernised text and commentary commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly 1643-49 by Rowland Ward, Published by the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia, 1992, p.15

81Walter Martin The Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.162.

82The Book of Mormon Published by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Utah

83The New Brown, Driver and Briggs Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon, p.341

84Walter Martin The Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.168ff.

85A. A Hoekema op cit p.35 (Taken from a sermon which Joseph Smith preached on June 16th, 1844, and quoted in the Mormon publication, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 370,372.)

86ibid p.35

87ibid p.37 (Quoted from the Mormon publication, Discourses of Brigham Young, arranged by John A Widstoe, Published by Deseret Book Co, Salt Lake City, 1954, pp 22-23)

88The Westminister Confession of Faith For the Church Today op cit p.26

89A.A Hoekema op cit p.35 (Quoted from Doctrine and Covenants 130:22)

90ibid p.40 (Quoted from Journal of Discourses 1:50)

91ibid p.36 (Quoted from John A Widstoe's book, A Rational Theology , 6th edition, Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, 1952, p.69)

92ibid p.36 (Quoted from Ben E Rich Mr Durant of Salt Lake City (Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City, 1952, p.77).

93ibid p.38 (Quoted from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 345-346)

94ibid p.38 (Quoted from Milton R Hunter The Gospel through the Ages (Deseret Book Co, Salt Lake City, 1958, p.104.)

95Walter Martin The Kingdom of the Cults op cit p.178

96Walter Martin The Kingdom of The Cults op cit p.183 (Quoted from Articles of Faith, p.115

97ibid p.178 (Quoted from Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130:22)

98A.A Hoekema op cit p.53 (Quoted from Doctrine and Covenants 93:21-23).

99ibid p.192 (Quoted from Journal of Discourses, p.247)

100ibid p.193 (Quoted from Journal of Discourses, pp.219,220)

101A.A Hoekema op cit p.60 (Quoted from Articles of Faith)

102ibid p.61 (Quoted from Doctrines of Salvation 11,5,6)

103Walter Martin Kingdom of the Cults op cit pp 193,194 (Quoted from B. R McConkie What the Mormons Think of Christ, pp 27-33)

104ibid p.65 (Quoted from Doctrine and Covenants 19:31)

105A.A Hoekema p.65 (Quoted from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.193)

106ibid p.46 (Quoted from Articles of Faith, p.193)

107ibid p.47 (Quoted from Discourses of Brigham Young, p.24)

108ibid p.47 (Quoted from Joseph Fielding Smith, Man: His Origin and Destiny pp.351, 355)

109ibid p.50 (Quoted from the Doctrines of Salvation 1,114.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 12:46  

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