Mormonism

Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints

Their sincerity is beyond question. And they represent the most basic of human values- patriotism, sobriety, family responsibilities, and hard work.

 

Mention “Moonies or Hare Krishna” to the average person and he’ll respond with disdain. But the word Mormon generally evokes an immediate nod of approval. The Donny and Mary Osmond image is no sham. Mormons are known to shun tobacco, cigarettes, and premarital sex while revering family life and free enterprise.

 

They have low cancer rate and score higher than the general populace when it comes to physical fitness. Who wouldn’t admire a religious group that promotes the Boy Scouts and receives “fast offerings” to care for widows as well as the poor and indigent?

 

The suspicious history and strange beliefs of Mormonism are often over looked on the assumption that sounds morals make a good religion.

 

Most people know little of Mormonism doctrines and beginnings. They may be familiar with the names Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney now running for the 2008 presidential candidacy, George Romney Mitt’s Father, Taft Benson, have been visible Mormons on the political scene. 

 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s concerts have earned the respect of music critics. Only a few have heard about the odd practices of proxy baptism for the dead and celestial marriages.  Truly to understand Mormonism, one must sift through all the hidden doctrine and public relations ploys of Latter-Day Saints and go back to the small town of Palmyra, New York, in the year 1820.

 

Joseph Smith, Jr. is revered by millions of Mormons as a seer and prophet. The contemporaries who knew him and his parents were less gracious. Neighbors viewed the Smith family as “illiterate, whiskey-drinking, shiftless, and irreligious.” Joe (as he was known) was said to be indolent with a penchant for exaggeration and untruthfulness. His mother, Lucy Mack, practiced magic ad had visions. His father, Joe Sir, was known as a persistent treasure seeker always trying to dig up the fabled booty of Captain Kidd. The founder of Mormonism often accompanied is father on these expeditions and was himself fond of the occult, especially divining and fortune telling by “peep stones.” 

 

One day in 1820, while praying in the woods, Joseph Smith, Jr. received his fabled vision of God and Jesus. In 1823 another personage, an angel named Moroni, appeared at his bedside. The visitor claimed to be the son of Mormon, the departed leader of an American race known as Nephites. Moroni told him about a book of golden plates that contained “the fullness of the everlasting Gospel” Four years later, in the hills named Cumorah (near Palmyra, New York), Smith unearthed the plates. Buried with them was a pair of large supernatural spectacles known as the “Urim and Thummin.” They were to be used in translating the hieroglyphics on the plates, a language called

“Reformed Egyptian” (Archaeologists and Egyptologist deny there is any historical evidence to validate the existence of such a form of communication.)

 

Joseph Smith immediately began his work of translating the plates. He claimed later that during this time John the Baptist (sent by Peter, James and John) appeared to him and administered to him a divine ordination.  When the translation work as completed (with the help of Oliver Cowdrey, an itinerant school teacher, and Emma Hale, his first and only legal wife) he returned the golden plates back to the angel Moroni.

 

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. On April 6th of the same year, Cowdrey, Smith, and his brother Hyrum and Samuel officially formed the Church of Jesus Christ, now known as the Church o Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

 

The Book of Mormon is the cornerstone of Mormon faith. It (along with other Smith volumes, Doctrines and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price) is considered to be the final authority. Just what exactly does the Book of Mormon contain? 

 

It purports to tell the story of two middle-Eastern people who migrated to the Americas. The tale unwinds in a series of books written between 600 B.C. to A.D. 400, when an ancient civilization called Jaredities came from the Tower of Babel to Central America. Being a wicked group they perished s a result of their own immorality.  A later group of Jews led by a righteous man named Nephi fled Jerusalem to avoid the Babylonian captivity and ended up in South America. They divided into warring factions, the Nephites and the Lamanites.  The latter annihilated the Nephites in a fierce struggle near Palmyra New York in AD 428. The victory earned them a curse of having dark skin. They continued populating the continent and became the American Indian Race.

 

Prior to the demise of the Nephite leader, he compiled a record of his civilization and of the appearance of Jesus Christ that Jesus made to them after the resurrection. He described how the Lord met them in South America and commissioned them to institute the ordinance of communion, baptism, and the priesthood. The entire account was recorded on the golden plates which Mormon buried and was found by Joseph Smith 1,400 years later.  

 

Before continuing with the historical saga of Smith and his successors (according to the Utah branch), Brigham Young, the Book of Mormon deserves some scrutiny, for it claims equality with the Bible. It purports to be the sealed book mentioned in Isaiah 29, and a record of the other sheep Jesus spoke of in John 10:16. But its proofs are questionable and its inconsistencies glaring. While it aspires to be an additional revelation to the Bible, it contains verbatim references in King James English, though it was supposedly written many centuries before the A.D. 1611 Authorized Version.

 

These analogous passages even include some seventeenth century translator’s errors, a strange coincidence for a book supposedly predating the KJV. In addition, the Book of Mormon credits these New World immigrants with metal producing capabilities, a claim not confirmed by archeological research.  Mormons even described elephants roaming the Western hemispheres, though no skeletons have ever been found.   

 

The Smithsonian Institute flatly denies any correlation between American archeological discoveries and the information contained in the Book of Mormon. A Mormon publication, “Joseph Smith’s Testimony”, concludes its glowing appraisal of the Book of Mormon by citing a total of eleven witnesses. What the pamphlet’s author failed to note is that three of them (Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris) were later denounced by smith. The other eight included five who were related to David Whitmer. Of the final three witnesses, one was Smith’s father and the other two his brothers, hardly an objective company of jurists.

 

Who wrote the Book of Mormon? God…Satan…Smith…or another mortal are the only possible sources. Some who doubt its divine inspiration suggest that Smith may have been a fanciful thinker who borrowed King James English and nineteenth century historical speculations to produce a fictitious novel. Others contend that one of his converts Sidney Rigdon, stole a manuscript entitled: Manuscript Story by Solomon Spaulding, a minister writer who died in 1816.

 

A few insist Smith’s writing bear strong similarity to that of Rev. Ethan Smith who authored “View of the Hebrews.” Most Evangelical critics espouse the Spalding plagiarism explanation, noting that Smith always dictated his writing from behind a curtain.

 

No matter who really wrote the Book of Mormon, its revelations and followers caused quite a stir wherever they went challenging all other sects and flaunting their polygamous ways. (Smith, it was said had  33-48 wives)

 

Persecution drove them from New York to Ohio and then Missouri where the governor asked them to leave. Smith’s clan ended up in Nauvoo, Illinois, where with hard work and dedication they built the largest city in the state Smith told his followers that Nauvoo meant “Beautiful Plantation” in Hebrew, and obtained a charter that made it a city state with its own military.  But Joseph and his brother Hyrum ran afoul with the law and ended up in jail in 1844. An outraged mob beset their cell and they both were murdered after a shoot out with the mob.  This lawless act of murder insured instant martyrdom for Joseph Smith.

 

A split immediately followed the shooting. One group led by his widow, felt that the mantle of leadership should fall on Joseph’ son. They left for Independence Missouri, to settle on the site where the prophet had declared Christ would return. That body, now known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was first named The Church of Christ. Later on it was named The Church of the Latter-day Saints. Finally it was renamed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All of these names were supposedly given by revelation.


Though they claim a common origin and reverence for the Book of Mormon, the Reorganized Church repudiates several vital beliefs of the Utah group- i.e. Secret Rites, a Plurality of Gods, and Sealed Marriages. Above all they claim to be the only legitimate Latter-day Saint body, saying that Joseph Smith appointed his son to succeed in the Church Presidency. A recent discovered document in Smith’s writing, dated January 17, 1844, seems to confirm their contention.

 

But such historical verification matter little now. The fact is that after Smith’s death, Brigham Young persuaded a majority to follow him on the arduous trek to Utah. In July 1847 Young and his band looked on the Salt Lake Valley and declared, “This is the place.” Brigham encouraged polygamy, took twenty five wives, and by the time of his death in 1877 had collected 140,000 followers. He strongly adhered to the little talkd about Mormon doctrine of “Blood Atonement.”  This doctrine teaches that Christ’s blood, could not atone for certain sins. Such deeds required a man’s own blood. Another person called an avenging angel could kill him as a righteous act he described as, “loving our neighbor as ourselves…if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood…spill it!”  

 

Modern Mormons have suppressed (but not officially repudiated) the doctrine. But still have a stinging memories of the day their second prophet ordered his fellow Mormons to attack and slaughter 120 men, woman, ad children of the Fancher party who crossed Mormon land on their way to California.

 

Brigham Young also espoused two other doctrines which Mormons would like to forget. He taught that Adam was actually God who took on a body and came to Eden with one of his wives, Eve. This Adam-God (the Archangel, Michael) begot Jesus by sexually cohabiting with the Virgin Mary in a physical flesh relationship. He (Christ) was not begotten by the Holy Spirit, Brigham declared emphatically.  It was Young’s espousal of polygamy that gained Mormons the worst publicity. He instructed his followers, “the only men who became gods are those who enter into polygamy.”

 

Even today, Utah is pocketed with fundamentalist Mormons (an estimated 30,000) who engage in plural marriages. They are devout in their belief that they will be barred from heaven unless they follow the covenant of polygamy set forth by Joseph Smith in 1843. In the late 1800’s the U.S. Congress became so concerned the conducted of Mormons that it passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, threatening to confiscate Mormon property and jail its leaders. The Church recanted in 1890, and today most mainline Mormons maintain an image of monogamous bliss.

 

Polygamy and the Adam-God theory are not the only unorthodox doctrines of Mormonism. They subscribe to the idea of an anthropomorphic god with physical material dimensions. He is a procreating father (all humans were pre-existent spirits he begat) with a divine mother-wife. It is this conviction that undergirds the Mormon emphasis on marriage and parenthood in this life and the next. Some Mormons believe that Jesus was married to both Mary and Martha, and that he bore children on earth. Good Mormons enter their secret temple dress in white garments to indulge in esoteric Masonic like rituals that seal their marriages for eternity. 

 

The most famous of all Mormons aphorism declares: “As man now is, God once was and as God now is, man may become.” God himself was once procreated in another world, and now humans aspire to the status of procreators that he obtained. Adam did right by eating of the forbidden fruit because it made him capable of fathering the human race.  In other words, “Adam fell that men might be.”  The right to the godhead is not earned by the grace of Jesus Christ, but by being a good Mormon. Followers of Joseph Smith prove their faithfulness by being baptized and married in the temple, being a member of the priesthood and tracing genealogies. As potential father and mother gods, Mormons will ultimately have their own planets to populate.

 

The church has blasted a tunnel out of Utah granite (capable of withstanding a nuclear explosion) to house the ancestral records of devout Mormons. Once departed kin have been identified, posthumous, proxy baptism are preformed, Mormons spend $10 Million a year to maintain the facilities, but for them it is well worth it. Some go through the three hour ceremony on behalf of a non relative they have never known. Mormons are Universalists and believe that everyone will eventually have immortality with only baptized Mormons attaining godhead.  (Article of Faith #2 states: “….all mankind will be saved.”)

 

Topic

                     Christian

                                        Mormon

 

GOD

There is only one God (Isaiah 43:11; 44:6,8; 45:5).

"And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of     Abraham 4:3).

 

God has always been God

(Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15).

 

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

 

God is a spirit without flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39).

 

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's," (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10).
"Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).

TRINITY

The Trinity is the doctrine that

there is only one God in all the universe and that He exists in

three eternal, simultaneous

persons: The Father, the Son,

and the Holy Spirit.

The trinity is three separate Gods: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 35).

 

JESUS

 

Jesus was born of the virgin Mary

(Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23).

 

"The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).


"Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers" (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 547).

 

Jesus is the eternal Son. He is

second person of the Trinity.  He

has two natures. He is God in flesh and man (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things.

(Col. 1:15-17).

 

 

 

Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15).

THE
HOLY
SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is the third person

ofthe Trinity. He is not a force.

He is a person. (Acts 5:3-4; 13:2)

Mormonism distinguishes between the Holy Spirit (God's presence via       an essence) and the Holy Ghost (the third god in the Mormon doctrine     of the trinity).
 "He [the Holy Ghost] is a being endowed with the attributes and     powers of Deity, and not a mere force, or essence," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 144).

 

SALVATION

 

  Salvation is the forgiveness of

  sin and deliverance of the sinner     from damnation. It is a free gift received by God's grace (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 6:23) and cannot be earned (Rom. 11:6).

 

Salvation has a double meaning in Mormonism: universal resurrection and . . .
"The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins," (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 78-79).

 

Salvation (forgiveness of sins) is not by works (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 4:5; Gal. 2:21).

 

"As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements -- 'obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,'" (Articles of Faith, p. 79).

 

BIBLE

 

The inspired inerrant word of God

(2 Tim. 3:16). It is authoritative in

all subjects it addresses.

 

"We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. . ." (8th Article of Faith of the Mormon Church).

This is only a sample of many of the differences between Christianity and Mormonism. As you can see, they are quite different doctrines. God cannot be uncreated and created at the same time. There cannot be only one God and many gods at the same time. The Trinity cannot be one God in three persons and three gods in an office known as the Trinity, etc. These teachings are mutually exclusive.


This is important because faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. Is the Mormon god the real one? Or, is the God of historic and biblical Christianity the real one?


Mormonism is obviously not the biblical version of Christianity. It is not Christian and Mormons serve a different god than do the Christians -- a god that does not exist.  Paul talks about this in Gal. 4:8, "when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods."  Only the God of the Bible exists.  There are no others.  Mormonism puts its faith in a non-existent god.

 

The Evangelical Christian questions how such unorthodox theology could produce such pleasant people who knock on doors and warmly present their case.  This irony is not so hard to understand when one comprehends why an individual may have joined the Mormon Church. For one thing, the new Mormon finds an instant social community of God – conscious values. The positive emphasis on Christian virtues and the intense involvement on a layman’s level causes most new members to simply overlook the blemished history of the LDs’s origins.

 

Family pressure prevents many disillusioned Mormons from forsaking the Church, particularly if they are second or third generation adherents.  People today often have a pragmatic approach to religion that tends to see theology as a cumbersome commodity. They want something that works, something that will bring them emotional security and shared goals. Mormonism delivers, and for millions, that is good enough.

 

 

For further information on how to reach Mormons for Christ go to:

 

http://www.hismin.com/

 

 

Peace!