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Tag Archives: Joseph Smith


Recorded at Kauai Christian Fellowship on September 22, 2007


Gory Bateson sings his original “Jack Mormon” at the LDS Temple in Los Angeles. He dedicates the song to his uncle Jack, a Jack Mormon. Cinematography by Dee Arbus.


The Book of Mormon by

A. Contradicts Doctrine and Covenants.
1. “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord,” Jacob 2:24. In contrast to this, we read in Doc. & Cov. 132:1 that David and Solomon were justified because of polygamy! Which reference is wrong?

B. Refutes Mormon Doctrine.
1. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are ONE God, not three (Alma 11:44b; Mormon 7:7; 2 Nephi 31:21b and the last sentence in Testimony of Three Witnesses).
2. God is unchanging, not changing (Moroni 7:22; 8:18; Mormon 9:9,19; 3 Nephi 24:6).
3. God is NOT flesh and bones, but instead a spirit (Alma 31:15; 22:9-11; 18:24-28). Remember, Jesus said a spirit does NOT have flesh and bones (Lk. 24:39).

C. Condemns Joseph Smith for polygamy.
1. See Jacob 1:15; 2:23,24,27,31; 3:5; Mosiah 11:2-4; Ether 10:5,7.

Read More »

Joe Smith said : “As man is God was,,, as God is man may become”

I see at least 3 logical dilemmas in this statement. Do you agree?
Logical Dilemma 1: As man is God was

If God was once a man,,, where did man come from? There is no way around the fact that this statement implies that man originated apart from a creator. From my understanding there are only three possibilities for the origin of man.
1. Man was created by God and each kind makes after it‘s own kind. Animals do not evolve from one species to another. This is the biblical model of creation.
2. God created the cosmos and the basic materials for life and set evolution into motion. This is theistic evolution.

Introduced by Ed Decker. No matter what you think of these two guys, this is a piece of history!

Tired of trying to be a prophet, avatar or visionary but can’t get anyone to blindly follow you? Have you always wanted to know how to manipulate people in the name of any deity, religion or philosophy you want to hide behind so you can advance your OWN agenda of nakedly abusing power? Look no further!

Rob Sivulka on topics often that come up in evangelistic conversations with Mormons.

Apologies to Rob and others: the first 10-20 minutes of the talk are unavailable as the video file was corrupted on my computer.

.mp4 file available under the “Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0” license here:

In other words, you can redistribute it freely.

Founder of Freedom Beacon Ministries in Upstate, NY, talks about cult abuse and recovery issues.

My friend Sean (PappaG) wrote this piece on his blog here.

Sean has a Masters degree in Theology, So it is a quite good rebuttal story,, about when the Mormons last visited his house. I think you will enjoy it.

This is Seans second draft and he is requesting any suggestions that you might have. So pop on over to his blog if you have any. Thanks damon

Here are 21 ex-Mormons testimonies that I gathered up from

I post these because they give hope to me that my Uncle,, who is a Mormon Bishop,,,will one day be saved.

Interview with Adam’s Road, an Ex-Mormon Christian Band

Paige Richardson’s Testimony out of Mormonism into the Arms of Jesus

Mitzi Nelson’s Testimony out of Mormonism Into Christianity

Tara Sivulka’s Testimony Out of Mormonism

Brian Mackert’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Lana Larsen’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Randy Larsen’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Tosh’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Gabriel Williams’ testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Gene’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

Dave’s Testimony Out of Mormonism into Christianity

Tricia Lynn Burton’s Testimony Out Of Mormonism to Christ

Mark Champneys’ Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

Angela Haisten’s Testimony Out of Mormonism to Christianity

James Dorrough’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Ginny and Bud Gundersen’s Testimony out of Mormonism

Blaine Hunsaker’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Judy Hartvigsen’s Testimony out of Mormonism to Christ

Cashae Gibb’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

LaKan Gibb’s Testimony out of Mormonism intro Christianity

Zach Collier’s Testimony out of Mormonism into Christianity

Why Mormons Leave: by Sandra Tanner

From a training session for Christians at the first week of 2009 Manti Pageant.

Cessationism is it True?

by coramdeo on Apr.14, 2009, under Religion


First I want to say that I do not believe that Cessationism or Continuationism are “essential doctrines”. Meaning I do not think that your salvation relys on what you believe in regard to them. However, like any theology what you believe will have an affect on your life, and closer you are to the truth the better your life will be. So, like in everything we must desire to adhere to the truth, to discover it, and follow it. When it comes to Cessationism I am no expert, but I do wish to bring here what I have learned. I am in no way so stuck on it that I cannot be convinced of another view.


I have agreed with Eric Kemp who authors the Blog Apologia at to participate in a informal debate on the topic of Cessationism vs Continuationism. I will be arguing for Cessationism and he Continuationism. I will write the first post and he will respond. We welcome your input and questions at any point along the way. This is our way of challenging ourselves while also benefiting you with both sides of the debate.

For your reference I will be using information found in these Sources:

Ligonier: 1. Miracles and 2. God Speaking

Modern Reformation: 3. Spiritual Gifts 4. Cessationism

I will reference material with the preceding number for the source i.e (3).

I do believe, like many, that Cessationism gets a bad rap and that there are many false views, or arguments against it. First I will give a quick summery of Cessationism, then give some bad arguments against it, and lastly give some good arguments for it. I do not plan on going too in depth, but to be concise and if needed go more in depth in my responses.

As a preface I would like to point out that even if all of scripture can be shown to agree with Cessationism to a reasonable degree, that many people will still not believe it, because to be Cessationist means that you got there because you believe other things about the Bible, revelation, early church, apostles, spiritual gifts, Holy Spirit ect, than Continuationists, and if you are Continuationist, in order to become Cessationist you must change your beliefs on all these things and more, so it is no small task. It of course works the other way too, and Cessationists must change many of their beliefs to become Continuationists. This is because each side interprets the Bible differently in many of these non essentials, so you must change how you interpret and view the entire scriptures. Also this is why so many other doctrines are hard for people to change to, because it requires more than just changing your view on one doctrine. So, please just be aware that these discussions may challenge you and frustrate you, but will not necessarily be enough to convince you, because your views are supported by more than one doctrine. I became a Cessationist because of being convinced of other doctrines, of which Cessationism fits in with, and because it fits into how I understand the Bible and its proper interpretation.

Like in the other articles I linked, I too believe that many people do not understand the Cessationist view or have wrong ideas. Its not like we don’t believe in Miracles (1), we believe God is working Supernaturally, just that He no longer uses some of the Spiritual gifts He gave to the early church, because their use is no longer needed. Not all the gifts are gone, just some, just the ones that God gave to build the foundation of His early church and Scripture, and now since they are both done, built, there is no more need for these gifts (3)(4).

The basic belief is that Scripture is complete now, God gave the spiritual gifts of prophecy, tongues, and healings to validate the Apostles teaching while He built the early Church and Scripture. Since they are now built, there is no need for them now. Now God wants us to get direction from His revealed revelation (the Bible) not secret sayings or verbal communication from Him (2). He no longer needs prophecy, healings, or tongues to prove His word is true, we now have Scripture and the Apostles who were shown to be true through their miracles and gifts. Now God can if He wants, give these gifts again, we are not saying that, but that God doesn’t normally or regularly give them like He did in the early Church.

This is one of the main arguments for Cessationism, namely that our understanding of the Gifts and their intended use, differs from Continuationists. Cessationists now rely on scripture alone to hear from God, to prove His Gospel, and to be the catalyst that saves His people. We believe that 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 should be interpreted as signifying that the gifts will cease once the church is built (4). We also believe that Ephesians 4:11-13 seems to say that the Apostles, and Prophets will only be given until the fullness of the church has come, then they will cease (3). We argue that since you do not see Apostles now days, that you wont see Prophets, although you will see teachers, and evangelists. There are a few reasons for this. Apostles have ceased with the 12, Rev 21:14 seems to show that there will only be 12. Also Ephesians 4:11 says that the church will be build on Apostles and Prophets, and thus it can be inferred that when the church is built, these offices will cease. Timothy who is not an apostle is called a pastor / teacher by Paul and is encouraged to continue on even when Paul is gone. I think the N.T is quite evident that Pastors and Teacher are to continue on, but we do not have much evidence that Apostles or Prophets should continue on, and in light of other passages I think it is best to conclude that Apostles and Prophet offices have ceased.

So we believe that God had a time for the Apostles and Prophets, and the gifts of tongues, healings, and prophecy, namely to build His Church and Scripture, but now that they are both built, we have no need for any of them. We are to now rely upon Scripture alone for our revelation from God, we are to pursue love, faith, and joy and not prophecy, tongues, or healing. We are not to rely on experiences, but the evidence found in Scripture as our bases for truth and revelation. God still does work miraculously especially in His work to save people, and might at times even work miracles as responses to prayer, or just to do the work He wishes to do. However, we do not believe that He has gifted specific people with these gifts to use them all the time. Nor do we believe one miracle to evidence that the gifts are back, but that God is working still in this earth. We have a hard time believing the gifts are still here in the same power they were with the Apostles because we don’t see people being raised from the dead (like Peter did) or lame people being healed (like Peter did), or the blind given sight. We hear about such things, but we see no quantifiable evidence that they are real, or that they are consistent, meaning not a once in a while supernatural occurrence. If these gifts were still working today, considering the number of true Christians now days, one would think he would see tons of miracles happening everywhere, all the time, since we do not, it’s safe to say the gifts have ceased.

Bad Arguments against Cessationism:

1. “I have see people prophecy, heal, or speak in Tongues”.

First experiences should never trump scripture, and you should never interpret scripture from your experiences. Why? Well first our hearts are deceptively wicked, and who can really trust our feelings (4). Second we are called to test the spirits 1 John 4:1, and if we need to test them with Scripture, why is there a need to quote something other than scripture (4)? We are meant to use scripture, to test what other people are speaking, what “spirit” are they speaking / teaching in, does it align with scripture? Experiences can support scripture, but they should never contradict, and if they do, either your interpretation or your experience is wrong.

Second other religions speak in “tongues” or “prophecy” or do “healings”, so it seems they can be contrived, and not the real thing. Also people can be insane and hear voices or contrive such things, how are you sure you are sane or that person is?

Third I have found no proof for any true “healing” miracle to be done, at least the kind like done by apostles. This is more for other people to prove, but in all my study I have not seen a person who was blind, not bad sight, but blind, proven by doctors and others, who was given 20/20 vision instantly and proven by others / doctors. Or a person who had a shrived hand or leg, who was restored instantly in front of witnesses proven by doctors. Or a person raised from the dead. Not that miracles do not happen medically, or that things do not happen to people that cannot be explained, but as far as I can tell this kind of thing happens to non Christians and Christians alike. What I am saying is I have not seen or heard proven that any so called Miracle healer being able to actually perform true healing miracles like my examples before, and more often than not these healers have been proven to be charlatans. If this gift is not performed in power, given to specific people who have done it multiple times in big ways, then I do not think there is evidence for it. If it is sparse, given to random people for a specific time, well that doesn’t prove that the gift of healing has continued, but that God works Supernaturally in this world and answers prayers. A good article on this is Faith Healing and the Sovereignty of God.

2. “No where in the Bible is it specifically said that only Apostles and Prophets will cease along with Tongues and Healings”.

No where in the Bible is the word Trinity also, but we infer from careful study of Scripture that the concept is taught clearly. So it is with Cessationism, we believe that although it is not specifically taught, it is taught by inference.

3. “You guys don’t see miracles because you do not have enough faith.”

Where in the N.T does it say that the gifts are only given to people with enough faith? Where does it define enough faith? How do you know how much faith I have? You are assuming to know something you don’t, you are begging the question. You are asserting what you are trying to claim. You are saying “because gifts are for today, and because you don’t see or perform them, you must not have enough faith, because gifts are for today”. That doesn’t prove anything, it is just an assertion. Just like I could say that you do not have enough faith to see Santa Clause, thus you do not see him. It proves nothing, stop oppressing people with this statement. So many people who “could not” be healed by faith healers were told, “well you just don’t have enough faith”, not “it’s not God’s will for you to be healed” or “I’m a big fat liar”, but “God cannot work unless you let Him” (Faith Healing and the Sovereignty of God). Besides not proving anything, it is actually not Biblical. God doesn’t need your permission, or faith to work. Sometimes He seemingly doesn’t work because a person doesn’t have faith, but other times He does. Take Paul, Paul didn’t have faith in Jesus, didn’t want anything to do with Jesus, yet that didn’t stop Jesus from intervening and giving Paul faith, and changing him. Yes, God doesn’t need you, you are not God’s keeper or boss. This is the biggest problem with this response, namely it brings God down, and makes Him our servant, and brings man up, and makes him God’s boss.

Think about this too. The early church didn’t believe in Tongues, so they didn’t have “faith” in them, but then bam! Flames of fire and the Holy Spirit descending on them in the upper room, and then they spoke in Tongues. So faith doesn’t need to exist first, meaning faith in that Gift, only Faith in God. Thus, if only Faith in God is enough, there are plenty of people around with enough Faith in God, yet God doesn’t give any “gifts” to them in the way you want. Thus your only two options are: you are wrong, or you are pessimistic about how many people are truly saved, when the Bible seems to say a great number of people will be saved, uncountable number. Since you think there are so few people with true faith now days.

Things Continuationists must respond to:

1. If you are going to claim that Prophecy, Tongues, and Healings exist now, then you also are going to have to claim that Apostles and Prophets exist now. But in order to be an Apostle you must have seen the risen Lord in person. Commonly called the 5 pillars of the church, Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Pastors, and Evangelists.

2. Prophecy is adding to scripture. The nature of O.T Prophecy is communication directly from God, thus it is added to Scripture. The Canon is closed, God is not adding to the Bible any more, so there is no need for this type of Prophecy. And this type of Prophecy would only be adding to Scripture, and if true, on the same ground as Scripture. It was appropriate for the Apostle’s time because Scripture was not finished yet, but now that its finished, there is no need for it. All we need is Scripture as our authority, and it would be undermined if people were running around Prophesying.

3. Is the Canon closed or not? Is God still adding to scripture or not? If no, then why would he need the gifts of Tongues, Prophecy, and Healing now? If yes, then why haven’t we added any more books to the Bible? Are you saying that the Bible isn’t sufficient now? It must not be if you think that the canon is still open.

4. I think the biggest point is that the Bible seems to teach that God would build His church on the Apostles teachings, and that once He has built the foundation of His church on them, He would no longer call people as Apostles nor gift them like He used to. You must argue against this language, and then defend why God would need to add to His Scripture more, because it seems that Apostles and the gifts were meant for that main purpose, namely the creation of the N.T.

In conclusion your beliefs will ultimately be determined on what you believe on certain issues (I am only going to do either or, although there might be many more beliefs, I am going to take the mains ones:

Either you believe that God has given us Scripture alone as His means to teach us, and spread His Gospel, or you believe that God uses the Bible with Prophecy, Tongues, and Healings. But then why not Church leadership too like the Catholic Church? Or why discount Mormons and other false religions, because they speak in Tongues and Prophecy?

Either you believe the Bible is complete or it isn’t. But if it isn’t how do you know what things should be added, and why haven’t we added anything more?

You either believe God gave certain gifts in power for the building of His church, or you believe He gave those gifts for all church ages, even though there is little use, or evidence that they are here, and have to argue that they are limited because of the lack of faith. But again where is it in the Bible? There are plenty of people with faith, why aren’t they all acting accordingly?

You have to believe that either man is dependent on God for gifts like even Faith Eph. 2:8, or God is dependent on men’s Faith to act. Either God gives us the faith, and then we exercise it and He works, or else He waits for us to have faith (apart from Him) and then He works. One seems pretty Biblical one doesn’t.

In the end, we all can be brothers and sisters in Christ and still disagree on these things. But like I said before I do believe that they will have huge ramifications on your own life, joy, and spiritual growth. Let us be Biblical, and gracious to each other, and seek the truth. Let us lay aside our pride, and where we are wrong admit, and where we are right humbly assert. Let us not be so reliant on experiences for our evidence that we miss what God is actually saying in His holy Word. This article is by not means comprehensive, but is intended to spark conversation and debate. I will respond to any criticisms or questions to the best of my ability.

The Ball is in your court Eric. Have fun!

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Which Mormon group is the “Restored Church”?


We will study this question by first (in Part 1) looking at the various divergent Mormon sects, then (in Part 2) examining why this division constitutes further proof that Mormonism can in no way be considered a “restoration” of Christianity.

Part 1: How many Mormon sects are there?

The more important Mormon groups

1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

2. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS)(Independence, Missouri, USA) now renamed to the Community of Christ, under president W. Grant McMurray,

This groups came into existence in the 1850s under the leadership of Joseph Smith’s son, Joseph Smith III. This group believes Joseph Smith II was nominated by the founding Joseph Smith as his successor. The Utah-based LDS group, however, disagrees.

Interestingly this group owns the historical Mormon properties in Kirtland, Ohio; this being the outcome of court case with the LDS group, the courts having decided the then RLDS had more claim (from a doctrinal standpoint) to be the church founded by Joseph Smith Jr. than the Utah–based LDS group.

In the 1970’s the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints began to experience what many lay members considered to be serious problems with the hierarchy of the church trying to change the church. The main changes were “a major shift in the General Church teachings a de-emphasis of the Book of Mormon, the Second Advent and celestial life in favor of more conventional Protestant-like Christianity” (Saints Herald, January 1974, p. 52).

What Is The Difference between the LDS and the RLDS (now Community of Christ)?

Salt-Lake City based LDS uses KJV or Joseph Smith’s Translation (aka the “Inspired Version”); their second President, Brigham Young, taught God the Father was once a man (Adam), a doctrine which has never been revoked; teaches “eternal progression” to godhood; use secret temple rites; practises baptism for the dead; temple marriage is for eternity; God the Father Son and Holy Spirit are three separate “Gods”; accepts the Pearl of Great Price as Scripture.

Independence Missouri- based RLDS (now Community of Christ):uses “Inspired Version”; do not believe God was once a man; does not believe in “eternal progression” claim never to have used secret temple rites; claim Zion is Missouri; does not and never did, condone baptism for the dead; marriage only for earthly life; believes God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit exists in three different “modes” not Persons; rejects the Pearl of Great Price.

Both sects of course claim to be the “restored” church. When the LDS missionaries come knocking, they wil not tell you that the second largest Mormon group (the Community of Christ) believes very much differently from the Utah based LDS group.

3. Church of Christ -Temple Lot (Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri)- one early leader, Granville Hedrick, called Joseph Smith a “fallen prophet”. This group teaches that there has been apostasy from the restored gospel faith. This group was also involved in a lawsuit with the RLDS over ownership of the Temple Lot. By 1869 they purchased the original “temple lot” in Independence Missouri.

How does the Temple Lot church differ doctrinally from the LDS and RLDS?

In contrast to the LDS and RLDS, the Temple Lot group have no first presidency, high priests or patriarchs, and no prophet as leader (having 12 “apostles” instead). In common with the RLDS group, they reject the Pearl of Great Price, the doctrines of celestial marriage and eternal progression, and baptism for the dead.

Lesser known groups

The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Independence, Missouri, USA) Founded 6 April 1991 at the Waldo Avenue Church in Independence, Missouri. The RLDS Church was declared “out of order” and the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded in its place. In 1992 and 1994, two small schismatic groups, in their turn, left this group.

There also exist fundamentalist groups that do not accept the revelation which ended the practice of polygamy.

The Church of Christ With the Elijah Message (Blue Springs, Missouri, USA).

The Church of Jesus Christ (based in Pittsburgh, USA).

The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times (Mexico) now defunct.

The Church of Jesus Christ (Cutlerites) (Independence, Missouri) founded by Alpheus Cutler, 1853 – distinguished between church and kingdom

The Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (based in Louisiana USA). Rejects the Doctrines and Covenants standard LDS work

The Restored Church of Jesus Christ (Independence, Missouri, USA) – also claims to be founded by Joseph Smith, Jr.

The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days (Manti, Utah, USA) these believe “that the fullness that Joseph Smith Jr. restored has been corrupted”. The Manti group split into two groups in late 1994.

Further information on several of these groups can be found at . For a comprehensive list of Mormon sects, please see the book “Divergent Paths of the Restoration” by Steven L. Shields (1990) which discusses more than a hundred different mormon sects.

So we see that there exist many Mormon sects, with even the main groups differing widely on doctrinal points.

Part 2: What do the divisions in Mormonism tell us?

Mormons will point to the apparent unity of their church and say it is proof theirs is the one true church. Mormon missionaries will not tell you, however, that the Utah-based LDS church is one of over a hundred mormon sects, or that there are numerous differences in doctrine between the Utah-based LDS group and the next largest group, the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS).

Do not for one moment, dear reader, believe that the Mormon religion resents a unified faith system that consists in some “restored gospel”. Mormon claims therefore to hold the true “restored” and “everlasting” gospel ring very shallow indeed when we discover that their doctrines are products of the 19th century, and that, like so many other religious sects, divided into multitudinous doctrinally divergent sects after the death of their first leader in 1844 and subsequent decades.

Is it not so much easier to simply conclude that there never was any “restoration” because there never was any apostasy?

This is the obvious answer, and the correct one. (Other pages on this website deal with this subject also.) None of the Mormon sects claiming to be the “restored” church are what they say, precisely because there was no “restoration”!

It is also of no value for LDS to counter that the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism are as great, if not greater, than the divisions betweent the Mormon sects.

(Important to remember: it is not necessary for a Catholic to defend the divisions of Protestantism; Protestantism, in the same way as Mormonism, is divided because it is in error.) This Mormon argument can be a bit confusing when first encountered: in witnessing to the truth, a Catholic only has to point to the unity of Catholicism, not the disunity of Protestantism.

Also, the authority of the Catholic Church had been accepted for the first 15 centuries; the authority of the sect of Joseph Smith’s followers was repudiated as soon as he was dead. The authority of 15 centuries will not be broken by the rebellion of a few Protestant leaders whose teachings themselves subeequently underwent countless divisions.

Remember, the Mormons claim to present the “restored gospel” so any divisions among them is automatic proof they do not have this. In contrast, the sects which left the Catholic Church over the centuries present no proof that the original teaching of the Church has been corrupted, a requirement for the Mormon “restoration” in the first place. (We will not even begin to discuss the glaring absence of Mormon doctrines from the early centuries of the Church)

It is also of no use for Mormons to claim one sect is true, and all other groups broke away from it. This view requires that the original sect be known. But both the RLDS and the LDS claim this title, as well as many other groups! Historically there were many sects after the death of Joseph Smith. The US courts ruled that the RLDS (now Community of Christ) was the closest to Smith’s original church. Where does that leave the Utah-based LDS group? Which was first?

Even more importantly, the Mormon sects cannot show that there was an “apostasy” in the early days of the Church. Without this evidence, of course, all their talk about “restoration of the gospel” is pointless.

So what do we see? The doctrine of the Catholic Church has been maintained a unified whole for 20 centuries, the doctrines of Mormonism split in every direction after the death of its founder Joseph Smith. The doctrines of Protestantism likewise split in every direction after the Protestant revolt established a foothold.

The one true Church has exhibited doctrinal unity through 2,000 years and now has over a billion adherents. That is the Holy Catholic Church. Her source of unity is not the empty boasting of some self-appointed prophet but the Holy Spirit. Those who seek the truth need look no further. Herein is unity as given by the Holy Spirit. Outside is chaos. The sincere Mormon reader is urged to look at the claims of the Catholic Church and to prayerfully seek the true Christ where He may be found.


Mormonism has split into a variety of sects since its foundation less than two centuries ago. Such division bears the hallmark of a religion invented by man. Mormon founder Joseph Smith once boasted:

“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” Joseph Smith, Mormon founder, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409

The followers of the Latter – Day Saints did run away from him, into over a hundred different sects.

The Catholic Church, in contrast, has preserved a supernatural unity throughout 2000 years, a unity promised not by man, but by the Holy Spirit. 




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God the Father was Married to Mary (His daughter)

Most Mormons are unaware of the fact that early LDS leaders taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Brigham Young, second President, and Prophet of the LDS Church stated:

This matter was a little changed in the case of the Savior of the world, the Son of the living God. The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by another Being. Do you inquire by whom? He was begotten by God our heavenly, father (Journal of Discourses, 11:268; emphasis added)

LDS Apostle and General Authority, Orson Pratt explains clearly:

but it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas, both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father the spirit having been begotten in heaven many ages before the tabernacle was begotten upon the earth. The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father.

Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father: we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. It would have been unlawful for any man to have interfered with Mary, who was already espoused to Joseph; for such a heinous crime would have subjected both the guilty parties to death, according to the law of Moses. But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure; He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself; or to prescribe rules for his own conduct.

It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).

Orson Pratt agrees with Young when he says, “the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. Keep in mind Pratt was a Mormon Apostle he was a General Authority of the LDS Church.

The worst part of this teaching is: in LDS theology, all of human-kind are the literal off-spring (by sexual relations) of God the Father and one of His wives in heaven. Thus, God the Father married Mary, His own daughter, and begot Jesus by her. But, if Mormons say that they disagree with this pagan teaching they are, to be sure, repudiating a LDS Prophet and Apostle as false teachers.




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Brigham Young Student Art Project Censored For Proving Existence of Gays
Posted by Lacy Hart 12/09/2008 09:56 AM

Gay people exist.

Does such a well-known fact offend you? Are you suddenly going into spastic convulsions whilst lamenting the thought that somewhere out there men and women exist who prefer companionship from someone of their own gender?

Well, if you’re a member of Brigham Young’s homosexuality-intolerant administration, chances are you’re already angrily pounding a response into the comment box below.

Last month, a BYU student named Michael unveiled his fine art portrait project on his blog.




The premise:

These are some of the final images for my fine art photography project. These portraits are of students of BYU who identify themselves as homosexual and a person that supports them. With all of the dissenting views regarding this topic in the past few months I have felt very strongly about this project. The portraits will be shown in pairs. The idea is that there are gay and lesbian individuals not only in the Mormon culture, but also at BYU. I also chose to photograph someone who is a support to this person. This could be a family member or friend. This support person may also identify themselves as homosexual and both people may provide support to each other. I am not telling the viewer who identifies themselves as homosexual, because I hope the viewer will realize that placing a label with the portrait only creates divisions in our society and furthers stereotypes. It is my hope this body of work can be a vehicle for tolerance, support, love and change.

As it turns out, Michael’s project is “offensive,” because it proves that—gasp—homosexuality isn’t a myth and/or celebrates something that is considered deplorable by Mormons.

And so, the administration quietly pulled it from the display at the fine arts department.

I know it’s Brigham Young, so my expectations for this so-called institution of “higher learning” should be appropriately tempered, but…

What’s next, BYU? Censoring the yearbook pictures of students identified to be gay?

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Legislators’ anti-gay sentiments come back to haunt Mormons
Paul Rolly

The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/05/2008 10:13:14 PM MST

Had the Utah Legislature not balked so vehemently at any hate-crime legislation that included protections for gays and lesbians, the state might now have better tools to prosecute those committing hate crimes against members and property of the LDS Church.

That’s the irony emerging from the ugly aftermath of California’s Proposition 8 vote banning gay marriage in that state. Because members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the urging of their ecclesiastical leaders, played such a prominent role with their money and time in the passing of the proposition, their church is now a target.

Church services have been disrupted by protesters, members have been blocked from entering churches, glue has been poured into the locks of church buildings, glass doors of churches have been shattered by BB guns, LDS temples have received packages containing mysterious white powder that proved harmless, and church buildings and signs have been spray-painted.

But the perpetrators, if caught and charged in Utah, don’t face penalty enhancements for targeting a specific group for harassment. That is because a majority of Utah legislators, not wanting to appear to be coddling people who are gay, refused to include them in hate-crime legislation as a special class.

The best that LDS victims of hate crimes can hope for in Utah is that their suffering be considered an aggravating factor when judges sentence a perpetrator and parole boards determine how much of the guilty party’s sentence must be served before granting parole.

Legislators could have included a penalty enhancement for a hate crime. If, for example, a crime normally would be charged as a third-degree felony, it could be bumped to a second-degree felony if committed against a protected class.

Indeed, that was the model of hate-crimes legislation that proponents tried for a decade to pass. But in order to constitutionally justify a penalty enhancement, which most states include in such laws, protected groups must be defined.

That was always the stumbling block on Capitol Hill. For a hate-crime enhancement, it had to be shown the victim was targeted because of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability or — the bill killer — sexual preference.

Rep. David Litvak, D-Salt Lake City, sponsored the bill that finally passed in 2007. He acknowledges it is not as tough as it could have been, but the compromise was necessary to get it through the Legislature. There are no protected groups defined in the marshmallow law and prosecutors must show the crime had a negative effect on a whole class of people before it can be considered an aggravating factor.

Many of the legislators who fought against the hate-crimes bills expressed concern about discrimination against Mormons.

A few years ago, Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Provo, led the move to force a legislative audit of the University of Utah’s medical school because of speculation that male Mormon applicants were being discriminated against. So now, because of the anti-gay sentiments expressed at the Mormon-majority Legislature, when LDS Church members actually are singled out for harassment or discrimination, their tormentors get a pass, pretty much, even if their actions can be proven to be hate crimes.

LDS Church leaders did not oppose including sexual orientation in the earlier versions of the bill. When the church issued a statement to that effect, Gayle Ruzicka, head of the right-wing Eagle Forum, said the church was implicitly opposing the legislation because its statement did not say it supported the language.

That prompted a church spokesman to say that the Eagle Forum does not speak for the LDS Church.




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Why The LDS/Mormon Church Will NEVER Be Part Of The Body Of Christ
An answer to the efforts of people like Greg Johnson (Standing Together), Richard Mouw (Fuller Theological Seminary), Craig Hazen (Biola University), Ravi Zacharias (RZIM) and many others who are attempting to forge some kind of “Evangelicals And Mormons Together” alliance out of thin air
by Sandy Simpson, 10/26/05


There has been a continuous effort, since the Evangelicals And Catholics Together (ECT) debaucle, to widen the definition of what Christianity is by those mentioned above, among many others. The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) has an agenda to try to carry out the unbiblical mandates of the false apostles like C. Peter Wagner to “overthrow” the governments of the world and take over everything, which also means they have to manufacture “revival” where there is none and never has been. So in order to fulfill the false prophecies of the false prophets of the NAR, people involved in this heretical movement, like Richard Mouw, are waving their wands over the Mormons and dubbing them “Christian” to the consternation and embarrassment of Christians who understand the teachings of Mormonism that they cannot and will never give up.

So let’s put this whole sham of building bridges with the Mormons, on the way to another “ECT” type document, to rest for good. The Mormons will NEVER give up their “sacred texts”. Here are quotes to show how they view the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith from a few of their web sites. Notice that the Mormons don’t just have two “sacred” scriptures, the have four.

“The Book of Abraham is now included in “The Pearl of Great Price” and is one of the four Mormon sacred books, along with the Bible, The Book of Mormon, and The “Doctrine and Covenants”. (Mormonism – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS),

The Bible is the only sacred book in the world today, breathed by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture (refering to the Bible) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

Romans 16:25-27 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

None of the books that the Mormons call “sacred” except the Bible are, in fact, sacred. But the Mormons will NEVER give up their false scriptures because that would mean the end of their whole organization. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are seen as both equal “sacred” texts by Mormons.

“A Hermeneutic of Sacred Texts: Historicism, Revisionism, Positivism, and the Bible and Book of Mormon” (

“An Ensign to All People: The Sacred Message and Mission of the Book of Mormon” (

The Book of Mormon is called a “sacred chronicle” even though it is full of historical fabrications and lies, and has been proven so by many researchers.

“Though not a secular history of the Nephites per se, the Book of Mormon is a sacred chronicle or, to use Elder Boyd K. Packer’s language, “the saga of a message.”1 (Boyd K. Packer, “The Things of My Soul,” Ensign 16 (April 1986): 59.,

Joseph Smith urged Mormons to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon.

“The Prophet’s statement challenges all to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon rather than to watch from the sidelines and just talk about this sacred record.” (The Most Correct Book: Why the Book of Mormon Is the Keystone Scripture,

Notice that Joseph Smith is called “The Prophet” above. This brings us to the second damnable heresy of Mormonism, of which there are many. For a fuller detail on the false teachings of the cult of the LDS, go here for information.

LDS Church/Mormonism

The Mormons revere and follow a false prophet and heretic.

Joseph Smith’s statement, therefore, is a concise declaration that the Book of Mormon is the “most correct of any book” because it has the power to change individuals into more correct (Christlike) people. This change can only come because of better understanding Christ as the “keystone” figure of the Book of Mormon, and by applying the atonement, which embraces all of the “precepts” that bring one nearer to God. (The Most Correct Book: Why the Book of Mormon Is the Keystone Scripture,

The fact that Joseph Smith calls the Book of Mormon the “most correct of any book” is not only false teaching, it is a lie. What does the Bible say about liars?

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Smith is viewed as a prophet on a par with the prophets of the Bible, in fact higher because he allegedly got a newer revelation from God for this “last dispensation”.

If the people of today were to ask, as men did in the Savior’s time, “Whence has this man (Joseph Smith) wisdom?” we unhesitatingly declare: “He received it from on High.” “Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that “Prophet and Seer” — Blessed to open the last dispensation; Kings shall extol him and nations revere.” (Joseph Smith: Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Address of President David O. McKay for the BYU Founders’ Day Exercises, October 6, 1941. Birgham Young University, Provo, UT.,

From my experience with Mormons in the Pacific Islands, the only way “kings extoll”, island leadership or “nations revere” Joseph Smith and the Mormon LDS Church is if they are paid off to do so, or given scholarships to BYU.

So the case is closed on Mormons being a part of the Body of Christ until the day they, as an organization, forsake their false scriptures and their false prophets and the ridiculous plans of people like Ravi Zacharias, Craig Hazen, Richard Mouw and Greg Johnson! If Mormons want to be saved they must confess thier sins, particularly the sins of being in a cult group, believing in another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel, and their false scriptures and false prophets.

Hey, we had to forsake sin and paganism to be born again. Why shouldn’t they?


P.S. I predicted back in 1998 the progression that this ecumenical/interfaith compromise would take. For those of you interested, read that article here. Unfortunately it is all coming true like a bad dream.




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Church releases first volume of ‘The Joseph Smith Papers’
December 1st, 2008 @ 5:27pm
By Carole Mikita

It is simply titled “The Joseph Smith Papers,” but there was nothing simple about gathering the materials that went into what historians for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are calling a landmark publication.

Before now, only a few historians, and certainly not everyday citizens, were able to examine Joseph Smith’s original 19th-century diaries and journals, which are now rather fragile.

This first volume includes those journal entries and much more during an important seven-year period.

Joseph Smith wrote in one of his journals: “I was very conscious that I had not kept the commandments, and I repented heartily for all my sins and transgression and humbled myself before him whose eyes are over all things.”

The year was 1835, and that one and several others are transcribed into the new book “The Joseph Smith Papers.” There is enough material for 30 volumes.

Gathering it has taken decades because many papers were scattered across the country. Richard E. Turley, Jr., assistant LDS Church historian, says, “We have sent teams out to gather these puzzle pieces, and they have brought them back, and we have carefully fitted them into place. So that by the time this series is complete, you’ll have as complete a picture of the man as we may be able to get during our lifetimes.”

Historians are commenting. Kenneth Minkema, from the Yale Divinity School, says, “‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ rank among the most significant projects in the history of American religion.”

“Joseph Smith has been one of the least accessible major figures in the history of American religion. ‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ will forever change that by producing a monumental critical edition of every document written, dictated or supervised by the Mormon prophet,” said Stephen Marini from Wellesley College

Professor Emeritus Jan Shipps at Indiana University-Purdue University says, “‘The Joseph Smith Papers’ are absolutely central to understanding and interpreting what happened.”

Historians call this important because not only does it focus on the big events in Joseph Smith’s life but also into his personality.

The book’s publisher has printed 12,000 copies, calling volume one unique. CEO of Deseret Book Sheri Dew says, “Created something that is very hard to do, and that is a work that appeals to and satisfies scholars and is also very commercially viable.”

Volume 1 is available at Deseret Book for $49.95. I am told they are going quickly.





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An ex-Mormon explains how a church with mostly good values can promote hatred and intolerance.

Mormon Homophobia: Up Close and Personal
By Sheldon Rampton, Center for Media and Democracy. Posted December 3, 2008.

I recently wrote about the PR nightmare facing the Mormon Church as a result of the prominent role it played this year promoting Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California. At the urging of church leaders, Mormons spent about $20 million on the effort, which probably provided the margin that enabled the measure to pass.

There is some irony in the fact that Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence, who led the Proposition 8 grassroots campaign for the church in California, has a gay son, Matthew, who publicly resigned from the church to protest its anti-gay campaign. Matthew says that after his father’s participation in “two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it’s impossible not to feel attacked.”

Adding to the irony, Gary Lawrence has a new book out, titled How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. His advice to Mormons who want to be better liked is, “Simply be yourself” — advice that drew a sharp response from one blogger, who pointed out that being yourself “is a poor prescription for winning friends when ‘who you are’ is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights.”

The anti-Mormon backlash continues, and some people who have Mormon friends are rising to their defense, including Kaliya Hamlin (also known as “Identity Woman” for her work on issues related to online identity). In a recent blog post, Hamlin complains that “Web mobs” are engaged in “blacklisting and subsequent public harassment and targeting of specific people and specific religious groups for their beliefs and support of ‘Yes on Prop. 8.’ ” She continues:

I take this personally, I have and do work with people who are Mormon — when I played water polo in university and in the Identity field). I respect the LDS church and the people in it — they have good values. …

I think what is going on with the blacklists that are directly targeting people in their private life is wrong. I think targeting specific religious institutions for protest is wrong.

These people and these religious institutions are not propagating HATE, they are just not agreeing that marriage can be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. This is a cultural difference of opinion.

With all due respect, I think Hamlin fails to understand the intensity, seriousness, and yes, hatred underlying Mormon opposition to gay rights. I actually have more personal experience with Mormons than she does. I was raised in a Mormon family and even served a two-year Mormon mission in Japan, from 1976 to 1978. Although I no longer believe in or practice its teachings, my extended family includes many active members. It’s true that individual Mormons are mostly nice people — as generous, thoughtful, intelligent and considerate as people from any other religion or belief system. Unfortunately, it is actually possible to possess all of those positive attributes and still promote hatred and intolerance.

From my missionary days, I still own a copy of The Miracle of Forgiveness, a book by Spencer W. Kimball, who was president (and “prophet”) of the Mormon Church from 1973 until his death in 1985. The church still promotes Kimball’s book and supports its beliefs regarding homosexuality, which he outlined in a chapter titled “Crime Against Nature.” It states:

Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter. …
[P]erhaps as an extension of homosexual practices, men and women have sunk even to seeking sexual satisfaction from animals. …

All such deviations from normal, proper heterosexual relationships are not merely unnatural but wrong in the sight of God. Like adultery, incest and bestiality, they carried the death penalty under the Mosaic law. … The law is less severe now, and so regrettably is the community’s attitude to those grave sins — another evidence of the deterioration of society. In some countries the act per se is not even illegal. This “liberalizing” process is reflected in the United States by communities of homosexuals in our larger cities who sponsor demonstrations and draw up petitions to this end, who are formally organized, and who even print their own perverted journals. All this is done in the open, to the detriment alike of impressionable minds, susceptible urges and our national decency.

Mormon abhorrence of homosexuality is so strong that in the 1970s the church even experimented with aversion therapy at Brigham Young University, setting up a center where it tried to “cure” homosexuality. The so-called therapy consisted of taping electrodes to the groin, thigh, chest and armpits of gay men and subjecting them to painful electric shocks while showing them pornographic photographs of nude men. The treatments, which were overseen by the head of the university’s psychology department, were thought to be “effective in reducing homosexual responsiveness.” I happen to know someone who underwent this treatment — in his case voluntarily, because he was desperately trying to comply with Mormon teachings. However, some cases have been reported of people who were subjected to aversion therapy against their will or who were pressured into it with threats of expulsion from college. The experience left many with psychological and physical scars, and at least two men reportedly committed suicide shortly after undergoing treatment.

Hamlin says that Mormons have “good values.” However, Mormon values are precisely what are on display in Kimball’s writings and the actions of the aversion therapists at BYU. And they are core values of Mormonism today. These values are deeply felt and widely believed. They are the basis for Mormon political activism against Prop. 8 in California, and they will undoubtedly continue to drive Mormon political actions against gay rights in the future.

Of course, not all Mormons share this homophobia. There is even a Web site,, devoted to letting “the world know that not all Mormons (LDS church members) oppose gay marriage.” However, this view is in the minority and is strongly at odds with the church’s official position and numerous pronouncements from church leaders over a period of decades. Matthew Lawrence is only one of hundreds of Mormons who have felt compelled to resign their memberships in protest against the church’s opposition to gay rights.

The question remains, of course, whether Hamlin is right that supporters of gay rights should refrain from “directly targeting people in their private life” by protesting and arguing with individual Mormons who have participated in the church’s anti-gay campaigns. Certainly, protesters should refrain from belligerence, threats and intimidation. However, the only way Mormon attitudes are going to change on this issue is through confrontation. (And even then, attitudes will not change easily or quickly.)

On this point, I remember my own experience as a teenager in the 1970s, a time when Mormons continued to cling to another discriminatory value — the so-called Negro doctrine, which excluded people of African descent from the Mormon priesthood. As justification for the priesthood ban, a number of pernicious theories were popular in Mormon culture. I own a book from that era,

Mormonism and the Negro (co-authored by a vice president at BYU), which patiently explains that blacks are “descendants of Cain” and therefore subject to “Cain’s curse” because their spirits were “less valiant” than the spirits of white people. (Although I didn’t know it at the time, even these ideas were an improvement over the statements of Brigham Young in the 19th century, when he declared as a “law of God” that “If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.”)

As a high school student in 1974, I felt privately uncomfortable with the Negro doctrine, but like many members of the church, I didn’t think about it very much. It didn’t become a personal thing for me until one day in gym class, when a black kid came up to me and angrily said he had heard that Mormons didn’t think blacks like him should go to heaven. What did I think of that? He wanted to know.

Technically, he was wrong about the theological details. Mormons actually believed that blacks could go to heaven. They just couldn’t have the priesthood. I tried to make that distinction the basis for a joke to defuse the situation. “No, we think you can go to heaven,” I replied. “We just think you don’t deserve to.” The kid glared at me for a minute, and that was the end of the conversation.

Today, more than 30 years later, I don’t remember his name, but I remember the moment very clearly. I imagine he walked away thinking he had wasted his breath by even talking to me. He certainly didn’t get a satisfactory reply. But the conversation had an effect on me. It left me feeling profoundly shaken and uncomfortable about a church practice that until then had seemed like a theoretical abstraction of no particular relevance to my own life. Over time, that discomfort helped inform my thinking and changed my attitudes.

There were Mormons and non-Mormons who challenged the Negro doctrine long before I ever heard about it. For most of them, challenging the status quo was unpleasant and sometimes was met with hostility — all the more so because on that issue, as with the issue of gay rights, Mormons simply did not believe that they were guilty of promoting hatred or discrimination. It took years for attitudes to change on the Negro doctrine, but in 1978 the Mormon Church officially announced a revelation — from none other than Spencer W. Kimball — which gave black Mormons the same priesthood rights as everyone else. I remember when it happened. (I was in Japan at the time, knocking on doors and trying to get people to read the Book of Mormon.) Most members of the church were palpably relieved when the Negro doctrine was finally abandoned, but nevertheless it took pressure and personal confrontations to make this change happen.

On an issue like this one, where there are entrenched attitudes and strongly held beliefs, change comes one conversation at a time, haltingly, with discomfort and difficulty. Some Mormons are having those conversations as they discover that members of their own family are gay. Others are now having the conversation thrust upon them as people “target them in their private life” to challenge their political activities. However discomfiting these conversations may be, they need to happen if attitudes are ever to change.





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Christianity True-Response To a Mormon Inquirer: An Honest Answer to An Honest Inquiry By Russ Wise

Dear Inquirer,

Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in a dialogue concerning your faith and Christianity. Note that I said – your faith and Christianity. I did not, nor do I, assume that Mormonism and Christianity are one and the same. I suspect you picked that idea up from my earlier writing which you referenced.

Before I begin my discussion of your questions let me ask you for clarification of a couple of earlier statements you made in your email.

First, you made the comment: I will be the first to agree, our Church leaders have and will continue to exclaim that The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY true living church upon the face of the whole earth. I sensed that you may not be in full agreement with their position. Perhaps you are! Then again I may be reading too much into your comment. I would appreciate a clarification.

Second, at the end of your second page you made the following statement: Who here on earth has the power and Authority to say what is really what? Christians say the Bible is our authority, I believe that, but Muslims don’t. My question for you is this, Is the Bible truly your authority? Or do you also accept the Book of Mormon as well? If so, then you have a dilemma, because, as a rule, the Bible does not agree with the Book of Mormon on points of theology. The only places that I would be in agreement would be those portions where Joseph Smith included major portions of Scripture (the Bible) into his text.

If you are still with me, let me make an attempt to answer your questions. Your first question is centered on the idea of whether Christianity is the true source of salvation. Can we know for sure – beyond doubt? I believe it is, and I also believe we can know that Christianity is the only true source for an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ – beyond doubt. Your second question (Who is to say Christians is the way, and not Muslims?) is similar, so I will blend the answer into one response.

You are indeed correct in that there are a multitude of options for one to be “saved” when it comes to religion. The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: Can I know for certain which understanding of salvation is true? Is there evidence for me to consider that offers substantial information regarding the truth claims that will affect my eternal condition? A kindred question is this: Can I have complete faith in the one who makes these truth claims? Another question would be, What is their authority? Can their claim be verified?

Christians have verifiable evidence to support the idea that Jesus is the only source of salvation, whereas others – including Muslims – do not. Let me explain: Hindus accept Krishna as their god and he is believed to be their way to enlightenment (salvation). Muslims accept Muhammad as their prophet and the one who has the final revelation from God regarding the state of mankind and salvation.

Christians, on the other hand, believe that Jesus was both fully human and yet divine. The issue that we need to address is this: Is there any verifiable difference between Jesus and the others? I contend that there is without doubt. Jesus is the only one who claimed deity and was able to justify His claim. Krishna, Muhammad, and all the other founders of their respective religions died and remain in their graves. Jesus, on the other hand, died but He, unlike the others, was resurrected. This one act sets Jesus apart from all other individuals who would claim to be man’s avenue for salvation. Jesus, through His resurrection, gave authentication to His claims. Jesus alone overcame death. The others, quite simply, could not pass the test!

What were Jesus’ claims? He not only claimed to be God, but He claimed to have bodily resurrected. First, let us look at His claim to deity. In John 8:58 we read that, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” And what was the response, they picked up stones to stone Him because He made Himself to be God by saying He was the I AM -a claim to deity. John 10:25-33 gives us another indication that Jesus considered Himself to be one with the Father. Again, the response was to stone Him for saying that He and the Father were one. The Jews took up stones, not because of His “good works” but for blasphemy n Because You, being a Man, make Yourself God. In Hebrews 1:8-13 we find where the Father gives legitimacy to Jesus as God. He says, Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.

Jesus also accepted worship. If He were not God, but merely a man He would have been condemned. In Matthew 8:2 we read where a leper worshipped Him. Jesus did not correct the man and deny him. He accepted the leper’s worship – as God. John 9:35-39 likewise offers us another example of Jesus accepting the worship of a (formerly) blind man.

The Old Testament prophesied His coming. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.1 Krishna and Muhammad along with all the other founders of religion fail the test.

Christianity in reality is not a religion as much as it is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is not a listing of Laws that one must obey to be acceptable to God. It is a relationship that is based on God reaching out to mankind through His Son – Jesus. Therefore, salvation is not determined by what I do, but what He did for me. In other words, Christianity is centered on what God did for us, not what we attempt to do for Him.

Your second question is perhaps the most important. Who is the final Authority? This question is partially answered in the discussion above. However, it is of most importance to recognize that Jesus is not only divine and therefore trustworthy as our God and Messiah, but also that His Word – the Bible, is equally trustworthy.

Our final authority is the Scripture. The Old and New Testaments alone. As Christians, we believe that no other text contains the authority that the two Testaments hold as the Word of God. They alone are inspired. The Qu’ran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Book of Mormon, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Jehovah’s Witnesses), or any other text does not have the authenticity of the Holy Bible.2 The Bible, therefore, becomes our standard for truth. The question that begs an answer is this: Can I truly know that the Bible is the Word of God? Or is it simply one choice among many?

As Christianity stands or falls on the person of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, so our understanding of Jesus stands or falls on the reliability of the Bible. They are inter-twined. One is dependent on the other for authentication.

We can have faith in the Bible as our source for truth. We can likewise know that the Bible is God’s undeniable Word for us. The Bible is our guidebook for how to live a fruitful life for God. The Bible, unlike other religious texts, has archeological authenticity.

The greatest reservation that many have regarding the Bible is that it is said to have so many different translations and subsequent interpretations. Varying translations are of man’s creation, not God’s. Man has unwittingly imposed his own interpretation and conclusions on Scripture without adequate understanding of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Because modern man decides to impose a gender-neutral translation on the public or to speak of God as female or worse yet, an “it”, does not invalidate the original. When in doubt, look at the documentary evidence – the first century writings rather than the layered interpretations of finite men. When we attempt to interpret Scripture we must apply the internal evidence test. That is, we use Scripture to shed light on itself rather than using external sources – like our personal understanding or opinion.

As mentioned above, the Bible stands apart from all other texts in that it alone has archeological authentication. The Book of Mormon cannot claim such. Yes, I know the L. D. S. answer to the query, but it does not satisfy. If their pre-supposition is true, then why did God not take the other Testaments to the heavenlies as well? Personally, I’m not willing to stake my eternal security on the church’s (L. D. S.) weak belief. I am willing, however, to stake my security on the Bible and its verifiability. In short, I need more than the church saying, just trust me or just because!

I am going to forgo a lengthy discussion of biblical archeology at this time. There is overwhelming evidence elsewhere. See my endnotes for further reading and evidentiary material. Allow me to close with this final thought. When we seek a viable belief to put our faith in, we first need to ask ourselves several questions.

One, does the belief system have continuity? Does it contradict itself on any level? As an example: Is God believed to be a single deity or is He a multiple deity. Mormon apologist, Bruce McConkie in his revered text, Mormon Doctrine, makes this statement, “Three Separate Personages – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods (p. 576-577).” However, when we look at the Doctrine and Covenants we find the following, “And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship (20:19). Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end (20:28).”

Two, does the belief system have correspondence? Does it correspond with known evidence? As an example: How well does it match with, say, known archeological information? When archeologists conduct digs around the Middle East they often use the Bible to enhance their understanding. They do not use the Book of Mormon. The Smithsonian Institution released a document in the Summer of 1979 stating that they have never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a specific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book (letter on file). This letter was released as a result of Mormon missionaries telling prospective converts that the Book of Mormon was in agreement with archeology and the Smithsonian Institution used it as a matter of course.

Three, Does the belief system have comprehensiveness? In other words, does it adequately answer all questions? As an example: If it can be proved that Jesus was merely a man and never resurrected from the grave then it would have devastating consequences for Christianity. To put it another way, can the belief system be falsifiable? If Jesus were not resurrected from the dead then Christianity would be false. It would not be uniquely different from any other religion where they had a dead prophet or founder to serve. It would be just another false belief system.

However, when it comes to the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price we find a number of opportunities to question their veracity. As an example: When we consider the Pearl of Great Price we discover that the Book of Abraham is highly questionable and it does not correspond with known evidence. In essence, it does not have any verifiability with what is known. The reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics that is believed to be the Book of Abraham is in reality, The Egyptian Book of the Dead – a funerary text. It does not mention Abraham at all. The eleven papyrus fragments that Joseph Smith discovered were actually three different funerary writings. One was for a deceased woman by the name of Ta-Shere-Min. Another was for another female named Amon-Re-Neferinub. The third was a Book of Breathings, also known as Sen Sen because of the repetition of this word throughout the text.

A Mormon Egyptologist by the name of Dee Jay Nelson was given the task of interpreting the papyri for the Mormon Church. Upon finishing his work he came to the conclusion that the fragments believed to be the Book of Abraham were indeed Egyptian funerary texts and was fraudulent. As a result, the Mormon Church excommunicated Nelson and his family in 1975. He, Nelson, had previously written the First Presidency to give his findings regarding the papyri and to subsequently resign from the Mormon Church because of the fraud the church had perpetrated on the membership for decades (letter on file).

Tanner, as a result of the above material and volumes more I have in my research files, I cannot in good faith remotely consider the Mormon Church as a source for salvation. I submit the above with humility. My desire is not to “bash” or condemn, but to offer you points of concern that cause me discomfort in relation to a viable belief system. A belief system that best represents the material available to us. Whether it would be from archeology, theology, or known history. The Bible passes the test every time. The writings of Joseph Smith fail the test every time.

I encourage you to continue to ask the tough questions. But, even more so, to diligently seek out the answers – no matter where they may lead you. I have discovered over the years that those who would deceive us usually have a desire to limit our questioning. They do not want us to discover the truth of their weak and inadequate belief system. However, when it comes to Christianity – questioning is encouraged. Questions give rise to understanding and understanding allows us to recognize the trustworthiness and reliability of our God and Savior as the only source for salvation.

Thank you again for your inquiry. I have spent the time involved responding to you because you need an answer – not another cliché. I pray that Jesus will give you understanding regarding all that I have shared with you.


1. McDowell, Josh, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 168-192.

2. Ibid., p. 3-116, 333-349.

Author’s Comments:
This article was written in response to an inquiring Mormon who desired a well thoughtout response to LDS theology.







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The Mormon Temple is the very heart of the system of Mormonism. It is here that certain “worthy” Mormons perform secret ordinances that they believe will allow them to obtain the status of “a God” in the hereafter. Secret rituals are also done in behalf of the DEAD. No worship services are held in this building and non-Mormons are restricted from entering except for a brief period previous to its dedication.

Strange as it may seem, only about 20% of the Mormon population have been through the temple ceremony and fewer than that attend regularly.

Because the Mormon Church considers the temple ceremony as “sacred,” they have never published a dialog of the temple ritual or filmed the ceremony for benefit of the public or even their own people. The devout LDS will almost never talk about the secret activity that goes on behind temple doors.

However, there are numerous eye-witness accounts by “Temple Mormons” who became alienated from the church and have exposed all that goes on in the ceremony. Dozens of these accounts have been published over the years. One such testimony comes from a former temple “Veil Worker” who had performed over 1,000 temple ordinances! As recent as 1990 actual recordings have been made of the temple ceremony.

With all this information, we can accurately examine the secret activities performed in the LDS Temple. Certainly, truth has nothing to fear from investigation. The Bible even tells us to, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

The late Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, gave this information about the “Temple Ordinances”:

“Certain gospel ordinances are of such a sacred and holy nature that the Lord authorizes their performance only in holy sanctuaries prepared and dedicated for that purpose….They were given in modern times to the Prophet Joseph Smith by revelation,…” (Mormon Doctrine,1979, p. 779)

Even though Mormons believe that God is the source of these so called “sacred” and “holy” ordinances, the evidence that will be presented in this tract clearly shows that the Mormon Temple Ceremony is far from holy or Biblical and certainly NOT from God.


For almost 150 years the Temple Endowment ceremony included 3 specific oaths which Mormons believed couldn’t be tampered with or altered regardless of the criticism they had received.

Nevertheless, adjustments had been quietly made over the years in an attempt to make these oaths appear less violent and gruesome. However, in mid April 1990, the First Presidency along with the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church determined that now God wanted some of the “most sacred” elements completely omitted.

The following demonstrates the pagan nature of what is considered the “most sacred” part of the temple ritual, how it has changed, and why it has been removed. The first oath is considered the “First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so; WE AGREE THAT OUR THROATS BE CUT FROM EAR TO EAR AND OUR TONGUES TORN OUT BY THEIR ROOTS.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 18)

The wording of this oath was changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the New Name) covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE TO BE TAKEN.”

It is interesting to note that although the wording had been softened, the Officiator in the Temple Ceremony would still demonstrate these instructions prior to the taking of the oath which must be followed by each temple patron:

“The execution of the penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the !eft ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.”

This oath as well as the representation of the penalty was completely removed April 10, 1990.

The second oath is considered the “Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, grip or penalty. Should we do so, WE AGREE TO HAVE OUR BREASTS CUT OPEN AND OUR HEARTS AND VITALS TORN FROM OUR BODIES AND GIVEN TO THE BIRDS OF THE AIR AND THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

The wording of this promise was also changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the first given name), covenant that I will never reveal the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER (all patrons pause and bring right hand to left breast) MY LIFE (patrons draw hand across chest to right breast) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons drop hands to side).

Again, this oath as well as the gruesome gesture was removed April 10, 1990.

The third oath is considered the “First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood” and was recited in these words by early Temple Mormons:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. SHOULD WE DO SO, WE AGREE THAT OUR BODIES BE CUT ASUNDER IN THE MIDST AND ALL OUR BOWELS GUSH OUT.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

This was later changed to:

“I covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty, RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE (patrons all draw their right thumb quickly across their body) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons all drop both hands to their sides).

This severe penalty along with the gesture was likewise ordered removed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles April 10, 1990.

Even though the graphic penalties have been removed, all Mormons today will still learn the same secret names, signs, and passwords with a “solemn covenant” never to reveal them to anyone except the Lord when they are tested in heaven.

This whole means of gaining entrance into the presence of God by secret passwords, handshakes, and signs is totally foreign to the Bible. Rather than having to pass a heavenly test of secret combinations, the Lord in all His wisdom and power, simply gives us His absolute promise that “he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,…” (I John 5:12,13).


Another radical oath which was in the temple ceremony for over 80 years was so potentially dangerous that it was completely removed in 1927.

Just after the turn of the century, Mormon leaders were questioned in court at great length concerning this oath by the United States Government. The investigation produced eye witness accounts which verified that the oath of vengeance against the United States was an obligation received by Temple Mormons in substantially these words:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol. 4, pp. 495-496)

The conclusion of the U.S. Senate committee was: “the obligation hereinbefore set forth is an oath of disloyalty to the Government which the rules of the Mormon Church require, or at least encourage, every member of that organization to take….the fact that the first presidency and twelve apostles retain an obligation of that nature in the ceremonies of the church shows that at heart they are hostile to this nation and disloyal to its Government” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol 4, pp. 496,497)

Even before Joseph Smith’s death, this idea of “vengeance” was encouraged by Joseph Smith himself. The History of the Church gives this statement attributed to Joseph Smith:

“I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God. I want Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 546)

The oath of vengeance was of such a violent nature that some early Mormons understood it to mean that they were to personally avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum under certain circumstances.

Under the date of Dec. 6, 1889, Apostle Abraham Cannon recorded the following in his diary:

“…Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in the massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs.” (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, page 205)

In 1927, after years of criticism, the First Presidency of the Mormon Church finally ordered the complete removal of this dangerous oath.


Not only do Mormons believe that secret temple rituals are necessary for their own salvation, but they believe that certain ordinances such as baptism and marriage must also be performed in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, made this unbelievable declaration in a sermon given in 1844:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Joseph Fielding Smith, who became the 10th Prophet of the LDS Church, said this about the “greatest commandment”:

“The greatest commandment given us, and made obligatory, is the temple work in our own behalf and in behalf of our dead.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 149)

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to perform any rituals in behalf of the dead, or that any work done for a dead person will somehow help him in the hereafter. In fact, contrary to Joseph Fielding Smith, Jesus said that:

“… the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. THERE IS NONE OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE” (Mark 12:2931).

Because of the close association that temple Mormons have with the dead, many claim to actually have contact with the dead. Mormon President, Wilford Woodruff, delivered a discourse in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City where he made this shocking announcement:

“…two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them….These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 19, p. 229)

This man-made idea of attempting to redeem the dead is certainly out of harmony with the Word of God, the Bible. Psalms 49:7 clearly states, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”

Furthermore, the Bible is absolutely clear that there is no “second chance” after death:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
(Hebrews 9:27)


Among the many unchristian aspects of the temple ritual is the obligation to wear a secret temple garment with mystical markings. This garment is to be worn next to the skin for life and is only to be removed for changing or bathing, and for certain “public appearance” exceptions. This underwear is placed upon the temple patron by a temple worker after he or she has gone through a ceremonial washing of various parts of the body. He is told that this garment will be a “shield and a protection” against the power of the destroyer.

While the original temple garment came down to the wrists and ankles and was not to be altered, the modern temple garment has been abbreviated. Mormon leaders are now placing more emphasis on the importance of the markings rather than the garment itself.

The mystical powers that these secret markings are believed to possess can be demonstrated by a letter sent from the First Presidency of the Mormon Church to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards in which the following appeared:

“Where military regulations require the wearing of two-piece underwear, such underwear should be properly marked, as if the articles were of the normal pattern. If circumstances are such that different underwear may be turned back to the wearer from that which he sends to the laundry, then the marks should be placed on small pieces of cloth and sewed upon the underwear while being worn, then removed when the underwear is sent to the laundry, and resewed upon the underwear returned.” (letter dated August 31, 1964)

It makes one wonder how people can get so committed to following their leaders that they would disregard their own ability to reason as well as shrug off guidance from the Word of God, the Bible. Proverbs 3:5&6 tell us where we should put our trust:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

While temple Mormons are taught that special undergarments will be a “shield and protection” to them, the Bible says that God and His Word is our shield:

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).


Since the days of Joseph Smith the temple ceremony contained a segment referred to as “The Lone and Dreary World,” which portrayed preachers as being employed by the devil. The following dialog is given:

LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?

PREACHER: Yes, that is what I preach.

LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well.

PREACHER: I will do my best.

This mocking of non-Mormon preachers and orthodox doctrine caused so much criticism against the Mormon Church that Mormon leaders determined that now God wanted this “sacred” portion of the ceremony removed.

Therefore on April 10, 1990, this dialog as well as any hints of ridicule of preachers was eliminated.

Interestingly, although Mormon leaders are desperately trying to present a positive, wholesome image to the public, Mormon scripture still makes this sweeping attack on ALL non-Mormon churches:

“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were AN ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL CORRUPT;…” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:19)


Besides these serious problems, the incredible inconsistency of Mormon leaders, prove they are totally unable to reveal God’s will and shows that Mormonism is simply a man made religion changing whatever and whenever is necessary to find acceptance and accommodate the thinking of the world.

No doubt, if knowledge of the temple ceremony would promote faith in the LDS Church, Mormons would be eager to talk about it. But the Fact that it is kept secret from the world and even from the bulk of its members, casts suspicion upon its godliness, especially since Jesus made His teachings open to the whole world.

When questioned about His doctrine, Jesus responded:

“…I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing” (John 18:20).

We encourage you to put your trust in the simple message found in John 3:16:

“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.”




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Inside the minds of LDS apologists – An examination of their tactics and thought patterns.

Formerly, the most visible Mormon apologetic efforts were found in FARMS Review Of Books, a print journal whose contributors were, for the most part, highly educated. With the advent of the Internet, however, defenders of the Mormon faith are much, much more common, and the amateurs can post their views just as easily–and as often–as the professionals.

Having interacted quite heavily with all varieties of Mormon apologists over the years, especially on Internet-based discussion boards, I have identified several key assumptions that dominate their thinking. This essay will help you “get inside their heads” so their defenses can be more easily anticipated. Their beliefs and assumptions are these:

All sources which are favorable to the LDS church are true. All sources which are unfavorable to the LDS church are false.

Author and historian D. Michael Quinn said it best: “Apologists extend the broadest possible latitude to sources they agree with, yet impose the most stringent demands on sources of information the apologists dislike” (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Revised and Expanded Edition. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998. p. 47). Like clockwork, any statement or document which makes the LDS church look good is automatically assumed to be 100% reliable, whereas any statement or document which makes the LDS church look bad is automatically assumed to be “biased” and “anti-Mormon,” which in an apologist’s mind immediately translates to “false.” Amazingly, they never see their own double-standard, namely that pro-LDS sources are usually just as (if not more) “biased,” only in the opposite direction.

This may seem like an over-generalization, and Mormon apologists are sometimes quick to point that out, but it is, amazingly, true: If one asks an LDS apologist which statement hostile to Mormonism is true and reliable, they are unable to come up with a response.

Anyone who disagrees–however slightly–with any aspect of Mormonism is automatically an anti-Mormon whose views can be dismissed out-of-hand.

Once again, the apologists themselves routinely deny operating this way, but “the proof is in the pudding:” In actual practice, if someone voices his or her disagreement with any part of Mormonism, then his or her views are immediately discounted as being “anti-Mormon,” no matter how many facts, sources, and documentation he or she uses to back up his or her statements.

For example, LDS apologists usually dismiss the horrific accounts of polygamy found in the book Wife Number 19, since the author was a critic of Mormonism. This is in spite of the following three facts:

The author was a former polygamous wife of Brigham Young,

As such, she was often privvy to the goings-on at the highest levels of Mormonism, and
All her formative years took place in early Utah when polygamy was at its height.

Apologists routinely discount her as “a disgruntled former member with an axe to grind.”

Unfortunately for them, she wasn’t born disgruntled. Pro-LDS people never admit that she had a number of extremely good reasons for becoming disgruntled in the first place.

Interestingly, this assumption often spills over onto sincere Mormons who are having struggles with some part of their religion and who innocently ask questions in order to resolve their concerns. Apologists often assume that the questioner is a “troll,” in this case an ex-Mormon trying to bait the apologists or otherwise set a trap for them. As a result of having been treated this way, more than one member has become convinced that LDS apologetics is intellectually bankrupt–along with the church itself–and left Mormonism entirely.

Apologists are unable to distinguish between possibilities and probabilities.

When they come up with defenses for their faith, LDS apologists and their sympathizers automatically assume that the scenario they’ve concocted, however unlikely, is “good enough” to provide Mormonism with an “out,” at which point all criticism is dismissed. For example, when it comes to the Book of Abraham controversy, the characters written down the left margins of three of the four manuscripts prove that the recovered papyrii were indeed the source of the Book of Abraham and not any “missing black and red scroll.” Yet some apologists say that the scribes went “maverick” and wrote the characters in the margins on their own without any input from Joseph. The fact is that Joseph was broken of his habit of loaning out scriptural manuscripts way back in 1828. The idea that he would let scribes “have their way” with such important documents may be an extremely remote possibility, but is not a probability by any means.

If a scientist or anti-Mormon is wrong about one thing, it is safe to assume that he or she is wrong about everything.

FARMS Review of Books was the pioneer of this apologetic tactic. Often, after sniping away at one minor quibble in a critical book, they discount everything in the entire volume and advise their readers to do likewise.

This tactic has since gained great popularity and is used by LDS defenders of all stripes. For example, nowadays, if an article appears showing how some prior scientific assumption has turned out to be incorrect, apologists then “take the ball and run with it,” making arguments which boil down to, “You see? Scientists are often wrong anyway. Therefore we can discount anything they say regarding the Lamanite/DNA issue.” Yet they fail to recognize that although scientists may be wrong about some aspect of the DNA controversy, it hardly follows that they’re entirely wrong on all aspects of it and that the Lamanites are, therefore, the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

Apologists routinely accuse critics of “telling us what we believe.” They follow up by saying, “We are the authorities on what we believe, not the critics.”

This line of thinking is more common among the less-educated apologists. This is because their ignorance of their own history has rendered them unable to recognize that their religion has changed and evolved over the years. Such apologists assume that the church they have come to know–three hours of church on Sunday, Boy Scount campouts, home teaching, Relief Society activity night, etc.–is the way Mormonism always was. Unfortunately, Mormonism in its early years had far more in common with the Branch Davidian compound than it does to Mormonism today.

Defenders of Mormonism put this catch-phrase to good use when they need to deny or discount embarrassing statements from past prophets, especially Brigham Young. They fall into the trap of interpreting all previous prophetic pronouncements through the lenses of modern-day Mormonism as opposed to going by the plain-English meaning. For example, when responding to Brigham Young’s teaching that Adam “is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do,” apologists assume that it is utterly impossible that he meant exactly what he said.

(Unknown to them, this sends the apologists on the slippery-slope of believing that their interpretation of the prophets’ words–not the prophets’ interpretations themselves–are correct. See my webpage on Internet Mormonism vs. Chapel Mormonism for a more in-depth exploration of this subject.)

Apologists often respond to a challenge with the phrase, “that’s been debunked countless times already.”

Although it is true that Mormon apologists have been active nearly as long as Mormonism has existed, it does not follow that all their attempts to refute their critics have succeeded. I am unaware of any objection to Mormonism that hasn’t been addressed to some degree, but at the same time I am aware of very, very few such objections that have ever been addressed competently or believably. Pro-Mormons almost universally fail to recognize that there is a huge difference between an “adequate refutation” and a “lame excuse”–and pro-Mormons produce far, far more of the latter than they do the former. For example, when an anti-Mormon brings up Joseph Smith’s marital infidelities, LDS defenders often claim that Joseph Smith was sealed to his already-married plural wives for eternity only–to provide salvation for them–and not for “time.” This excuse hardly counts as a “debunking” and is, of course, much closer to a “lame excuse,” since these women could just as easily have been sealed for eternity to their legal husbands as to Smith.

All arguments are made in a vacuum.

In other words, defenders of the LDS faith are inconsistent and do not apply their logic in one scenario to all scenarios. A good case is the horse/deer debate surrounding The Book of Mormon. Specifically, they sometimes claim that Book of Mormon peoples used the tapir as a pack and riding animal, but since Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with tapirs he used the name of the animal that filled the same role in his own society–the horse. However, apologists conveniently forget their own argument when it comes to the curelom/cummom debate. They say that Joseph used the original Nephite words because he didn’t know the equivalent English names of these animals.

(This methodology also extends outside of Mormonism. Specifically, apologists rarely, if ever, apply their defenses of Mormonism to other religions. For example, they nearly always extoll the “milk before meat” approach to potential LDS converts, but castigate the Scientologists for their pattern of withholding vital information from their own recruits.)



) Editorialize and label the criticism as “garbage,” point out that it is so foul that it would be undignified to even credit such a rank assault with an answer. Enlarge on how non Christ-like the author is, and thus declare victory in the debate.

2) Explain how nothing can be absolutely “proved” by evidence anyway, and besides the evidence is based on unacceptable assumptions and is therefore tenuous, and ultimately it is all a matter of faith. And remind the critic that the lack of evidence does not prove that something DID NOT exist. Declare the criticism refuted once and for all.

3) Carry-on as if the current criticism is exactly like past criticisms and therefore can be automatically discredited because the past ones are no longer published, presumably because they were all refuted (therefore the current criticism is ultimately invalid because it too will someday be disproved).

4) When confronted with an argument, suggest that if the same category of criticism were used against the critic’s religion that it would destroy all his basis for religious faith. Use this tactic to show the critic that his criticism is worthless because he is using a DOUBLE STANDARD.

Start out by insisting that incomplete information is the same as NO information, and with NO information there is no such thing as contradictory information.

Point-out that the critic is relying on “non-comprehensive” bodies of information to support his doctrinal positions and therefore does not have real proof to support his views either. Also insist that non-comprehensive information is not enough to discriminate between consistent and contradictory information.

Lastly behave as if the LDS “no evidence” situation and Christianity’s “non-comprehensive evidence” are the same thing because neither provides absolute proof of anything.

Declare the critic a hypocrite and a fool for playing with such dangerous kinds of information, and you have won the argument!

5) Provide a snow job of correct sounding, but distantly related trivia that are really irrelevant to the critical issue.

Declare victory once and forevermore, based on the sheer volume of your regurgitation.




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How Joseph Smith created an illegal bank and stole thousands of dollars

While it is common knowledge that Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, few know of his attempt to found a bank in Kirtland, Ohio. This important event in Mormon history was reportedly done because of a revelation that Joseph Smith received. The following excerpt is from Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? page 531:

Warren Parrish, who had been an officer in the bank and had apostatized from the Church, made this statement: “I have listened to him [i.e. Smith] with feelings of no ordinary kind, when he declared that the AUDIBLE VOICE OF GOD, INSTRUCTED HIM TO ESTABLISH A BANKING-ANTI BANKING INSTITUTION, who like Aaron’s rod SHALL SWALLOW UP ALL OTHER BANKS (the Bank of Monroe excepted,) and grow and flourish and spread from the rivers to the ends of the earth, and survive when all others should be laid in ruins.” (Painesville Republican, February 22, 1838, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, page 297)

Wilford Woodruff, who remained true to the Church and became the fourth President, confirmed the fact that Joseph Smith claimed to have a revelation concerning the bank. Under the date of January 6, 1837, he recorded the following in his journal: “I also herd [sic] President Joseph Smith, jr., declare in the presence of F. Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, and others in the Deposit office that HE HAD RECEIVED THAT MORNING THE WORD OF THE LORD UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE KIRTLAND SAFETY SOCIETY. He was alone in a room by himself and he had not only [heard] the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an AUDIBLE VOICE. He did not tell us at that time what the Lord said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well.” (“Wilford Woodruff’s Journal,” January 6, 1837, as quoted in Conflict at Kirtland, page 296)

A brief account of the failed bank is told in Mormon Enigma:

“Construction of the temple had temporarily boosted the economy of Kirtland, but after the dedication the economy declined as poor converts arrived in ever increasing numbers. The old settlers attempted to keep them out of Kirtland by economic pressures, but the Mormon population increased twentyfold while the landholdings only quadrupled. In November 1836 Joseph and other church leaders drew up articles for a bank to provide capital for investments. It was a desperate gamble. Oliver Cowdery went to Philadelphia for plates to print bank notes, and Orson Hyde went to the legislature in Columbus with a petition for a bank license. It was refused. Oliver returned with plates for the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, but Orson Hyde came back without a charter. The plates were so expensive that they printed some specie anyway, writing in “Anti” before the word “Bank” and “ing” after it. The notes read, “Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company,” and the paper passed as legal tender from a joint-stock company. At first the money circulated wildly. When merchants and businessmen who were more sophisticated than the Mormons began to redeem their notes, Joseph could see that a run would ruin the bank. After one month he and Sidney Rigdon resigned as officers but the bank failed. This affected Joseph’s status.

People who were convinced that Joseph had intended a swindle at the outset attacked him verbally and threatened him physically. This disruption forced Joseph to leave the city frequently….

In April 1837 Joseph went into hiding without seeing Emma before he left. (Mormon Enigma, pp. 62)

Fawn Brodie details this about the demise of the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company:

“If the bank needed a final blow to shatter what little prestige it still held among the faithful, it received it when Warren Parrish resigned as cashier, left the church, and began openly to describe the banking methods of the prophet. Parrish was later accused of absconding with $25,000, but if he took the sum it must have been in WORTHLESS BANK NOTES, since that amount of specie in the vaults would have saved the bank, at least during Joseph’s term as cashier.” (No Man Knows My History, page 198)

“The toppling of the Kirtland bank loosed a hornets’ nest. Creditors swarmed in upon Joseph armed with threats and warrants. He was terribly in debt. There is no way of knowing exactly how much he and his leading elders had borrowed, since the loyal Mormons left no itemized account of their own claims. But the local non-Mormon creditors whom he could not repay brought a series of suits against the prophet which the Geauga county court duly recorded. These records tell a story of trouble that would have demolished the prestige and broken the spirit of a lesser man.

“Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totaling nearly $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months, and his followers managed heroically to raise the $38,428 required for bail. Of the thirteen suits only six were settled out of court-about $12,000 out of the $25,000. In the other seven the creditors either were awarded damages or won them by default.

“Joseph had many additional debts that never resulted in court action. Some years later he compiled a list of still outstanding Kirtland loans, which amounted to more than $33,000. If one adds to these the two great loans of $30,000 and $60,000 borrowed in New York and Buffalo in 1836, it would seem that the Mormon leaders owed to non-Mormon individuals and firms well over $150,000.” (No Man Knows My History, pp. 199-202)

Was Joseph Smith to blame for the failure of the bank or “anti-bank” as it was called? Robert Kent Fielding stated the following:

“It was natural that blame for the entire situation should be charged against the Prophet. They had gathered to Kirtland at his command; the idea of purchasing housing lots in the great subdivision scheme had his full support; he had inferred that the bank would not only succeed, but would one day be the most powerful institution of its kind….the Church populace was genuinely disillusioned when the bank failed. It was difficult for them to comprehend that a man who claimed to have divine revelation in religious matters could fail so miserably in economic affairs…. No amount of shifting of blame could obscure the fact that a prophet had failed in a grand project…. As the Sheriff appeared ever more regularly with summons and as the fortunes and anticipations of one after another of the leaders faced the humiliating prospect of publicly acknowledged incompetence and bankruptcy, the discipline and sense of responsibility, which are the heart of all organizations, broke completely and plunged Mormondom into ecclesiastical anarchy.” (“The Growth of the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio,” typed copy, pp. 233, 234, 237 & 238, as it appears in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? pp. 533)

In a thesis written at Brigham Young University, Gary Dean Guthrie stated:

“The State legislature refused the Kirtland Safety Society its charter upon which the name of the bank was changed to Kirtland Anti-Banking Society….Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were tried in court for violating the law, were found guilty and fined $1,000. They appealed on the grounds that the institution was an association and not a bank; the plea was never ruled upon as the bank suspended payments and closed its doors. Other lawsuits followed….

“During the summer of 1837, Joseph spent much of his time away from Kirtland to avoid these lawsuits…. Apostles Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and John F. Boynton were rejected and disfellowshipped.. “The blame of the bank failure fell heavily on Joseph. He had issued a formal invitation to his followers to take stock in the venture and the institution had been organized outside the law. Heber C. Kimball later was to comment that at this moment, ‘there were not twenty persons on earth that would declare that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.’ Six of the apostles came out in open rebellion….Joseph first established the bank by revelation and then had to later admit that because of poor management and other internal and external conditions the project was a failure.” (“Joseph Smith As An Administrator,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, May 1969, pp. 80, 81, 82, 85, 86 and 88, as it appears in Mormonism – Shadow or Reality? pp. 533)

For more information on the Kirtland Bank see the UTLM book The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 1 pp. 11-20.


Most Mormons know a little about the Kirtland bank but of course, church-published material spins the issue to make Joseph Smith come out looking completely innocent of any wrongdoing. What the church doesn’t tell you is that:

When Smith & friends applied for a state bank charter, they were turned down. Smith had already had bank note printing plates made which read “Kirtland Safety Society.” After their charter was rejected, Smith ordered the notes to be issued anyway, but they were stamped to read “Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Co.”, so as to skirt the lack of bank charter.

After the bank and the Kirtland community failed, several former bank executives (all Mormons) testified that Smith and Rigdon had placed a chest filled with junk in their bank’s vault, with a thin layer of silver coins on top, to serve as the bank’s “capital.”

Half of the original twelve apostles, and more than half of the total church membership, left the church because of the Kirtland failure.

In the midst of the troubles, Smith sought to escape them by going on a five-week “mission trip” to Canada. Upon his return, he found that half of his church members had “rallied around a young girl who claimed to be a seeress by virtue of a black stone in which she could read the future. David Whitmer, Martin Harris, and Oliver Cowdery, whose faith in seer stones had not diminished when Joseph stopped using them, pledged her their loyalty, and F.G. Williams, Joseph’s First Counselor, became her scribe.” (No Man Knows My History, p. 205.) (This tells us a lot about the mental states of the “witnesses” to the alleged golden plates.)

Upon being charged with bank fraud, Smith and Rigdon were forced to flee Kirtland on horseback at night to escape mobs who wanted to avenge their financial losses.




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Mormonism and the Magic World View
Author: D. Michael Quinn
Signature Books, 1998
Reviewer: Eric Johnson


The story of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, is absolutely incredible. Here was a young man living in the early part of the 19th century who came from a family that could not have been any more common than spring leaves on a tree. As the story goes, he claimed that he was approached by God the Father and Jesus, told that all the churches were false, and commissioned to lead the restoration of God’s kingdom upon the earth, which apparently had been lost for almost two millennia. Today millions of people claim that he is more important than anyone else on earth, save Jesus Christ alone, and that his teachings on God, church structure, and new revelation were divine.

Just what made this modern-day Moses tick? A number of books from both LDS and Christian authors have been written explaining their differing perspectives of the life of a man who lived only 38 years. Some of these books have caused quite a controversy. For example, Fawn Brodie was excommunicated when she wrote No Man Knows My History half a century ago. A historical biographer, Brodie did not mix her words as she described the sordid details of the life of the prophet. Hugh Nibley was so disgusted by Brodie’s work that he wrote a response entitled No Ma’am, That’s Not History. His response was quite a disappointment for many, even those within the LDS community.

But as far as books on the life of Smith are concerned, probably no volume has stirred more overall controversy than D. Michael Quinn’s 1987 first-edition book entitled Early Mormonism and the Magic World View [hereafter Early Mormonism]. (The only single volume that may have caused even more hand-wringing from LDS apologists is probably Brent Metcalfe’s book entitled New Approaches to the Book of Mormon. It caused such controversy that the reviewers at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) dedicated an entire volume of their series entitled Review of Books on the Book of Mormon to criticize it.)

Quinn is a former professor at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University who was excommunicated in 1993 for apostasy based on his historical writings. Instead of trying to deny Joseph Smith’s penchant for occultic activities, Quinn—who says he “remains a DNA Mormon”—concluded that Smith’s background truly did involve divining rods, seer stones, a hat to shield his eyes in order to see hidden treasures, amulets, incantations, and rituals to summon spirits. Smith was a magician first class, Quinn believes, but he holds that Mormonism’s founder was also a man of God who used his magical tools to communicate with the Almighty God of this universe.

To say the book caused LDS leadership consternation is truly an understatement. The original volume, which used numerous “subjunctives, qualifiers, and qualified-qualifiers” such as “possibly,” “might,” and “apparently” due to the insistence of his editors who did not want Quinn to lose his church job, went out of print because “escalating publishing costs” made it so that they could not even reissue a paperback version for the 1987 hardcover price. Also, Quinn asked the publisher not to reprint the book until a revised version was ready. Thus, “by the 1990s otherwise-poor college students were paying $100 for a battered copy, while avid collectors shelled out $350 for a ‘mint-condition’ copy of (it)” (p. ix).

As he pointed out on pages ix-x, Quinn’s changes to the revised version were four-fold. One, he switched to endnotes rather than citing within the text, and he dropped a booming bibliography that he claims would have taken 80 pages to print. Second, he added new information. The third change was the addition of material extremely harsh towards his vocal critics—most of whom are LDS scholars—for the abuse he had taken in the previous 11 years. Finally, he wanted to take care of some errors and refine the text.

To read this book will require plenty of time and careful patience. Early Mormonism is not a book to be rushed through. After all, Quinn is famous for his copious endnotes. The book has 685 pages, and 257 of those pages—close to 40 percent of the book!—are endnotes. (A little more than half of the book is text.) You can’t ignore them, though, because he strategically places very important information there. It is also a good idea to consider his sources. Although he lists no bibliography, the endnotes contain the bibliographic information, and if I would guess, I would say that he utilized more than a thousand resources. Unless you look the individual endnote up, you will not know where the reference came from because he usually gives no hint within the text itself.

For this book you will need two bookmarks, and by the end of the book you will have certainly soiled the edges of the back pages, as you have to continually flip back and forth. (Most frustrating is when you put the book down to get a drink, preferably something caffeinated, and your tome falls from the couch to the ground, losing your place not once but twice. Just get used to it.) The 94 pictures and illustrations just before the endnotes are also helpful to reference.

Is Quinn’s book worthy to be read? This is what this limited review will try to determine from an evangelical Christian point of view.

Joseph Smith: Involved with the magic world around him

Quinn admits that what he writes in his book is not what readers might find in a brochure given out at an LDS temple open house. “Instead, they will discover that the LDS prophet certainly participated extensively in some pursuits of folk magic and apparently in others…. I have found that the ‘official version’ of early Mormon history is sometimes incomplete in its presentation and evaluation of evidence. Therefore, official LDS history is inaccurate in certain respects. …LDS apologists often do not inform their readers that pro-Mormon sources corroborate the statements made by anti-Mormons” (p. xxxviii).

According to Quinn, there is no denying any of the accusations “anti-Mormons” have made against Smith for decades. For instance, Quinn goes into a full description of how Smith and his brothers used divining rods—he acknowledges that they were occultic tools with contact with the spirit world—in their seeking buried treasure (pp. 33ff). Smith was also experienced with the seer stones that would give the owner special access to the buried treasures (pp. 41ff). Even Smith’s mother and father were avid seekers after Captain Kidd’s buried treasure, utilizing these seer stones. Quinn gives a good background to the three seer stones owned by Smith, especially the prophet’s favorite, the chocolate brown stone.

Many Mormon scholars criticize the linking of Smith to divining rods and seer stones and say the evidence is inconclusive. To these Quinn writes on page 47: “Mormons traditionally have rejected outright the nearly contemporary accounts from hostile non-Mormons in favor of LDS accounts written long after the event. For example, Mormons readily accept the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s sermons which were massively reconstructed more than a decade after he spoke. In one instance, the official History of the Church published a 128-word section of his sermon twelve years earlier. This was someone else’s expansion of five words in the original manuscript report of Smith’s sermon. Apologists extend the broadest possible latitude to sources they agree with, yet impose the most stringent demands on sources of information the apologists dislike. Both scholars and casual readers should give greater attention to the reports by Palmyra neighbors of statements and actions the neighbors witnessed.”

Tracing magic footprints from early Judaism into the Age of Reason and beyond, Quinn attempts to show that religious people have, for the most part, always been very involved in these other things. He shows how Christians before Smith’s day were very involved with such things as horoscopes and folk magic. “The majority of early Americans were “unchurched” and participated in folk religion,” he writes (p. 27). Only one of 10 white Americans during Colonial times were churched, Quinn points out, and “several generations of the Smith family were influenced by the magic world view before the 1800s” (p. 31).

The idea that Smith participated in occultic things because they were part of the American society at that time appears to be a very big point with Quinn. He writes, “…early anti-Mormon authors and modern LDS apologists shared the assumption that if Mormonism’s founding prophet engaged in ‘money-digging,’ then his religious claims could be discredited. However, the substantial evidence of their participation in treasure-seeking in no way discredits Joseph Smith or his family. This was even the view of some of their neighbors who had no interest in the family’s religious claims. Magic and treasure-seeking were an integral part of the Smith family’s religious quest” (p. 30).

Quinn is not happy with attempts by LDS Church revisionists to deny Smith’s foray into the occult and folk magic realm around him. While this is the apparent attitude church members have now, it wasn’t always like this, he says. The attitude change began in the 1880s, he says, when the last of those in the Mormon leadership who had been familiar with Smith and the occultic practices died. “Their successors had more in common with denominational Christianity than with the folk religion of many first-generation Mormons,” Quinn writes. “It is astonishing how some LDS apologists can misread (or misrepresent) all the above evidence for the magic use of seer stones and divining rods…” (p. 59). After noting that BYU biblical professor Stephen E. Robinson denied that these things had anything to do with magic but rather were influenced by the Bible, Quinn is very strong. “This is self-parody by an LDS polemicist,” he writes in part (p. 60).

The average Latter-day Saint does not want to dwell on his founder’s penchant for using magic stones, peeping into a hat to help him translate scripture, and frequent outings in search for buried treasure. “Modern Mormons are not simply better-educated than their ancestors,” Quinn writes on page 319. “They are differently educated…. Twentieth-century Mormons have adopted the scientific world view…For children from the age of five onward, standardized public education since the 1890s has left no room for the magic world view, except to dismiss it as ‘superstition.'” In addition, “by the last quarter of the twentieth century, the LDS church also became increasingly authoritarian and obsessed with conformity.” (Quinn should know since he was excommunicated in 1993 for his differences with the “only true church upon the face of the earth.”)

Quinn laments, “Modern Latter-day Saints give little, if any, place in their lives for the magic dimensions of folk religion, the esoteric, or the occult” (p. 320). He disagrees with these modern Mormons, “admir(ing) current Jews, Christians, and Mormons who privately adopt any magic practice that speaks to their inner bliss. Some call this a ‘new age’ religion, but I see it as a very old expression of religiosity” (p. 326).

The facts are that magic and the occult played a huge role in the very foundation of the LDS religion. Quinn works hard to show this to be true, as he factually supports his points. Consider the following:

  • Smith used his divining rod and stone for finding buried treasure as late as the fall of 1825 (p. 54). Saying that Smith’s family and friends were also involved in such escapades, Quinn wrote on page 240: “Joseph Smith (founding prophet and president of the new church) had unquestionably participated in treasure-seeking and stone divination. Evidence indicates that he also used divining rods, a talisman, and implements of ritual magic.” In addition, “two-thirds of Mormonism’s first apostles had some affinity for folk magic” (p. 240).
  • Smith would place his seer stone into a hat and bury his face into the hat “so as to exclude the light, he could see as a clairvoyant” (p. 55). This was supported by such witnesses as Martin Harris and Smith’s wife Emma (pp. 169-173). The fact that the same brown stone Smith used to look for buried treasure was used to “translate” the Book of Mormon is not emphasized by Smith’s followers (p. 172). Yet when Mormonism’s original leadership died off in the 1880s, “LDS authorities typically regarded seer stones as unusual relics of an ever-receding sacred past” (p. 253).
  • Smith was arrested in the mid-1820s “as a disorderly person” because “he was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, etc” (p. 56). Pointing out Christian Wesley Walter’s discovery of the 1826 court record showing how Smith was tried in court for being a “Glass looker,” Quinn says many Mormons vehemently denied this fact because they felt this would show Smith to be a fraud. In fact, LDS researcher Francis W. Kirkham stated that “if such a court record confession could be identified and proved, then it follows that his believers must deny his claimed divine guidance which led them to follow him,” thereby making him “a superstitious fraud” (pp. 56, 57). He adds, “LDS apologist Hugh Nibley also wrote that if genuine, the court record ‘is the most devastating blow to Smith ever delivered.'” However, Quinn, says, this was “a self-defeating line-in-the-sand…to draw, and LDS apologists now accept the transcripts of this 1826 testimony to be valid” (p. 57).
  • While Quinn doesn’t believe that money was Smith’s main motivation for digging for buried treasure, it was certainly a big reason why he did it (p. 65).
  • Smith’s mother Lucy Mack Smith “did not deny that her family participated in occult activities. She simply affirmed that these did not prevent family members from accomplishing other, equally important work” (p. 68). Quinn also pointed out that Smith and his family never denied the allegations of occultism and magic when early antagonists such as Eber D. Howe (Mormonism Unvailed, 1834) produced testimony affirming this truth (p. 323).
  • Drawing magic circles, “which has been central to the ritual magic of incantation, necromancy, and treasure-hunting,” was done by Smith and observed by his neighbors (p. 70; 101). Since Smith owned implements such as a dagger for drawing the circles and seer stones, “it is irrational to claim that the Smiths did not actually use those objects they possessed, which were so important to their acknowledged interest in buried treasure” (p. 322).
  • “Both friendly and unfriendly sources show that astrology was important to members of the Smith family” (p. 72). They believed that the success in their pursuits of buried treasure “depended in a great measure on the state of the moon” (p. 74). In fact, Smith’s mother and father as well as Smith himself and Emma were married on days that coincided with favorable days related to the new moon. Smith founded his church on a Tuesday (April 6, 1830) rather than a Sunday to coincide with the full moon (p. 291). In addition, the children Smith fathered both by his wife Emma and other polygamous wives were, for the most part, conceived in either February or September when his “ruling planet (of Jupiter) governed generation.” Mormon scholars, he notes, don’t like any correlation between astrology and Smith, but “where LDS apologists claim to see only coincidences, I see logical consequences of astrological belief” (pp. 76-79).
  • Quinn wrote: “Throughout his ministry, Joseph Smith affirmed the reality of witchcraft and sorcery. While the 1830 Book of Mormon contained ancient condemnations (Alma 1:32, 3 Ne. 21:16, 24:5, Mormon 1:19, 2:10), his revelations in 1831 and 1832 reaffirmed the reality of sorcerers (D&C 63:17, 76:103)” (p. 291).
  • As far as Smith’s knowledge of occult works and other materials that he could have borrowed from, Quinn says LDS apologists who deny Smith’s access to books are contrary to the evidence. “Newspaper advertisements and library holdings prove access, even if they don’t prove possession or page-turning,” he said (p. 145). “Textual parallels involved books published as recently as the late 1700s and early 1800s. Some of these clearly were available to the Smiths” (p. 322).
  • Palmyra’s bookstores were filled with “sophisticated publications” and rare books that Smith could have accessed (p. 180). “During the 1820s bookstores near Joseph Smith’s home were selling thousands of hardback books for 44 cents to a dollar each” (p. 182). Despite his mother’s insistence that Smith did not read, “he later quoted from, referred to, and owned numerous books which were advertised in his neighborhood as a young man” (p. 192). As far as his familiarity with books on the occult, “the Mormon prophet’s knowledge of such literature is not a myth. The myth is LDS emphasis on Joseph Smith as an ill-read farmboy” (p. 218). Quinn adds, “Of the books Joseph Smith donated shortly before his death, 75 percent of the pre-1830 titles can be verified as either directly available in the Palmyra area or as being promoted there.” A number of these books were out of print for more than a century (p. 189).
  • The idea that the name of Nephi replaced Moroni in the 1842 Smith-published Times and Seasons was not a clerical error, Quinn believes. “Because the names sound nothing alike, clerical error is unlikely in the manuscript recording of Smith’s dictation. The use of Nephi in the manuscript history about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon seems instead to be the prophet’s intentional substitution of another name for Moroni” (p. 199). Nephi’s name is connected with occultism, Quinn points out.
  • A revelation given in D&C 129 in 1843 regarding the determination if someone was a worldly messenger from God or Satan was related to occultism. Smith said a person who wanted to ascertain the difference should try to shake hands with the messenger. Feeling air would mean this was a representative of the devil. The occultic world used a similar test. According to the 1856 Transcendental Magic, which said in part: “What is commonly called Necromancy has nothing in common with resurrection…The proof of this is that spirits, at least the specters pretended to be such, may indeed touch us occasionally, but we cannot touch them…we cannot unmoved feel the hand pass through that which seems a body and yet make contact with nothing” (p. 226).
  • The very idea of three degrees of glory (multiple heavens) is “compatible with occult views. Even ‘degrees of glory’ was an occult phrase connected with the ancient mystical beliefs of Judaism.” Quinn rightly points out that, despite FARMS’ insistence that the idea of the Mormon three-tiered heaven comes from the Bible, “the phrase ‘degrees of glory’ is nowhere in those biblical verses.” The idea occurs with certain English occultists (p. 216). Showing that FARMS was wrong regarding the existence of pseudepigraphic texts mentioning multiple heavens, Quinn declares, “Despite the rhetoric of LDS apologists and polemicists, ‘meaningful content’ occurs within a context and Joseph Smith’s environment included books, practices, and oral traditions of the occult” (p. 217).
  • Although many have presupposed that Mormonism’s temple ceremony has Masonic roots, Quinn disagrees. “I believe that the underlying philosophy and purpose of the two were fundamentally different. Mormon revelation, in fact, proclaimed that the LDS endowment directly restored what Masonry acknowledged it had only some connection with—the occult mysteries of the ancient world” (p. 227). He gave several different examples to support his point, including this: “Freemasonry’s minor emphasis on the heavenly outcome of its rituals was a chasm between Freemasonry and the Mormon endowment. A concept of heavenly ascent was completely absent in many pro-Masonic writings before the 1840s. However, such an ascent was central to the occult mysteries of the ancient world” (p. 229).
    Other fundamental similarities between the ancient mysteries and the Mormon endowment are: “1) Revealed by God from Beginning, but Distorted through Apostasy…. 2) Worthiness of Initiates…3) Washings and Anointings, New Name, Garment…4) Vows of Non-disclosure…5) The Lesser and Greater Rituals…6) Presentation through Drama…7) Oath of Chastity…8) Sun and Moon…9) Mortals “Exalted” to Godhood…10) Prophets, Priests, and Kings…11) Gods” (pp. 230-234).
  • Mormons are taught that the LDS garment is a physical and spiritual protection, sort of like a spiritual amulet or good luck charm. Quinn notes the irony of how some modern Mormons tend to shy away from this view, although a great number of Latter-day Saints still cling to the idea that bad luck will more likely come when they fail to wear the garments. Quinn also show how Canadian researchers discovered that “Mormons use luck-charms and amulets in sports competition more than non-Mormons.” In fact, the athletes used such practices as “double-knotting one’s shoelaces, wearing socks inside out, wearing ‘lucky’ item of clothing, or wearing a lucky charm” (pp. 276-277).

I’m not quite sure what to make of Quinn’s constant point that Smith’s occultic views were not very different from his day. If people are not following God, it is unclear to me why Quinn would attempt to make folk magic appear innocent and even OK. His argument that many Christians of the 18th and 19th centuries believed like Smith is meaningless because Christianity is not a religion about the people who follow Jesus. Rather it is about following the commands and examples given by God through the Bible. Just as we should not imitate the sins of fellow believers (if they are even believers at all), so too should we not legitimize sin just because the culture around us believes a certain way. I think Quinn goes way too far to show how occultism’s roots could exist within true Christianity, which he believes to be Mormonism.

Warning his young charge Timothy of false doctrine, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:4, 6: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith…From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling.” Second Timothy 3:2-5 explains what it would be like in the last days: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers…traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”

The Bible is very clear that Christians should be wary of the culture around them. Jesus declared that “broad is the way that leadeth to destruction” while true believers who are few in number should “enter in at the strait gate.” The idea that many people (including supposed professing Christians) from the earliest half of the United States’ history were involved in magic does not give an open license for Christians to follow this example. As the proverbial saying given to us by our parents goes, “If your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you follow?” Of course not. Again it is puzzling why Quinn spends so much time, effort, and ink showing how “Smith learned from village mentors how to use a divining rod; a seer stone; a hat to shield his eyes in order to see hidden treasures; and amulets, incantations, and rituals to summon spirits.” (back cover).

I agree with Quinn when he says “how different from current norms early American religious practices could be.” I just disagree with the idea that these are the types of things God wanted his people to follow when his revelation to us, the Bible, does not encourage such practices.

Does the Bible teach in a magical worldview?

Quinn spends much of the first chapter attempting to disprove the Anchor Bible’s assertion that the Bible “prohibits the practice of magic or presents it negatively in a number of places.” Quinn believes the Mormon founder was not very different from the biblical prophets who preceded him. His premise is that Smith should be deemed a prophet of God if it is true that the Bible is loaded with magical imagery. After all, if biblical prophets were allowed to explore this world while having solid relationships with God, why couldn’t Smith?

Quinn gives examples in the first few pages of his first chapter to show how the Bible encouraged the use of magic, including:

  • “…Jewish tradition also held that King Solomon’s ‘wisdom included his vast knowledge of magic and medicine'”
  • The Old Testament has “neutral or positive references to a wide range of magical and divinatory practices”
  • “Jewish and Christian lore contains many references to occult incantations, to amulets, charms, spells, exorcisms, all related to speculative angelologies and demonologies”
  • The magical power of God’s name (YHWH)
  • “The patriarch Joseph had a special silver cup in Egypt with which ‘he divineth'”
  • The casting of lots that took place in both the Old and New Testaments
  • Moses’ brass serpent that saved the lives of anyone bitten by snakes just because they looked at it
  • A corpse that came to life upon touching Elisha
  • The healing of people who touched the handkerchiefs of Paul
  • Speaking in tongues

Most amazing is that Quinn does more than hint that Smith’s magic was little different from that practiced by Jesus. He writes on page 4, “In many of the miracles of Jesus, the techniques paralleled closely the magic practices of the ancient world…Like Jesus, pagan magicians used spittle to heal the blind, put their fingers in the ears to heal the deaf, employed the same series of separate acts involved in some of the more detailed Gospel healings, and used foreign words as part of magic spells and incantations.”

He adds on page 5, “Some scholars of the New Testament and ancient history have acknowledged that Jesus performed acts which were closely paralleled by magic practices among the pagans. These Christian scholars have insisted that these ceremonies in the Gospels were not magic, no matter how closely they mirrored contemporary magic practices, because it was Jesus who performed them. That seems an assertion of faith rather than a conclusion based on existing documents.”

The Bible’s View of Occultic Magic

While this review is limited, I would like to show why I disagree with Quinn’s premise that the Bible supports Joseph Smith’s foray into the magical world. The Bible very expressly forbade the Jewish people to be involved with such practices as magic, sorcery, and divination. Consider, for instance, Deuteronomy 18:10-11. Among other things, it said no one should be found among God’s people who practiced these things:

  • Divination. This practice involved extracting information or guidance for a god. Examples include Balaam, the soothsayer, who was hired to curse Israel (Num. 22:7; 23:23; Josh. 13:22) and the witch at En Dor (1 Sam. 28). The Bible says we are not to be involved with such practices (2 Kings 9:22; 17:17; 23:24: Isa. 2:6; 8:19; 44:25; 47:9, 12; Jer. 27:9; 29:8; Ezek. 13:9; Micah 5:12; Gal. 5:20). According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [hereafter ISBE] under “Magic”: “Though in many lists in Daniel the various types of Babylonian diviners and sorcerers are mentioned without express disapproval, the entire context makes it clear that such arts are no match for one who depends upon God for wisdom (Dan. 2:27; cf. 2:10)” (p. 215). I’ll talk a little more on this in the section below on lots.
  • Spiritism. According to page 789 in Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nelson, 1995): “The root of the word in Hebrew is the verb ‘to know.’ In modern English ‘wizard’ means someone very wise or inventive, a very clever or skillful person. But in the Bible it is always a forbidden thing, a kind of black magic.”
  • Necromancy, or calling up the dead. Again, according to Nelson’s Dictionary: “The Hebrew word translated as ‘magic’ appears only in connection with Egyptian and Babylonian magicians.” The first cluster refers to Joseph in Egypt; the second is connected with the plagues in Egypt; and the third deals with Daniel and the government-sponsored magicians of Babylonia. It should be pointed out that the term is never used in connection with the nation of Israel. As far as the Greek New Testament is concerned, the only time it is used is negatively. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-25) and Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:6-8) are examples. Another word for magic is related to the English word “pharmacy” and it had to do with drugs. Says the Nelson’s Dictionary: “The denunciations in Revelation 9:21; 18:23; 21:8; and 22:15 apply to those who use drugs to bring on trances during which they claim to have supernatural knowledge or power” (p. 790).

Consider the sources for occultic magic. According to ISBE, “Various magical traditions from the East moved into the West and became, often because of a nostalgia for the ancient and mysterious, part of a growing body of international magical lore. From Assyria and Babylonia came an interest in astrology. From Egypt came an emphasis on the power inherent in the spoken or written word, especially the secret name” (p. 218).

It is true that later rabbinic literature is not unified when it comes to magic. In fact, “while the rabbinic sages were well acquainted with the prohibitions against the various forms of divination and sorcery in the Torah, they were also well acquainted with magical practices. Some even practiced the art themselves” (ISBE, p. 216). Among other reasons, “it appears that they were able to harmonize the biblical prohibitions with the practice of some forms of magic by redefining both” (ibid).

According to ISBE, Jesus was charged several times for practicing magic through His miracles such as healings and exorcisms. “Matt. 10:25 suggests that Jesus’ opponents may have actually nicknamed Him ‘Beelzebul.’ This charge and all that is implies are refuted…(Mk. 3:23-30). In the Fourth Gospel Jesus is three times accused of having a demon, which is an abbreviated way of charging Him with being a fake prophet and a charlatan whose powers to perform miracles come from Satan. Similarly, the accusation that Jesus was an impostor or deceiver must be understood in relation to the charge that He practiced magic, for false prophets and magicians were subject to the death penalty according to the Deuteronomic code (Dt. 13:5; 18:20). Jesus’ Jewish opponents may have used these ancient laws to justify His execution” (ISBE, p. 219).

If Jesus wanted to, He certainly could have credited His powers with magic. However, His work was in accordance to His nature since He is literally God in the flesh. While Quinn would not hold that Jesus is both 100 percent God and 100 percent man, the second member of the Trinity, the Evangelical Christian acknowledges His nature and understands that those things that He did were miraculous, not magical in any way.

While Quinn makes the Jewish mystics seem almost normal for the biblical record, he fails to realize that the New Testament (written after the time when Jewish mysticism had its heyday) condemns the magical worldview. Luke was quite familiar with the technical terminology of magic as evidenced in Acts 8:9-24; 13:4-12; and 19:11-20. “All of these passages describe contests between Christians with miraculous powers and magicians whose powers are derived from incantations and the control of malevolent supernatural forces. The author of Acts carefully demonstrates the superiority of Christianity in each of these encounters” (ISBE, p. 219).

What about Quinn’s list of ways the Bible supports magic? While this was a partial list, let’s consider his points in a short manner and show how these examples do not condone the magical worldview.

  • “…Jewish tradition also held that King Solomon’s ‘wisdom included his vast knowledge of magic and medicine'”
    We are given so very little information about this that it makes it very hard to respond. But we should point out several things: 1) While Solomon was known as the wisest man in the world, he made some very foolish decisions. In fact, it was soon after his reign in the monarchy that the kingdom split into two. 2) Solomon did some very foolish things, including having almost a thousand women as wives and concubines. Should his polygamous ways make him a man to be followed in practice? 3) The Bible doesn’t fully explain what Quinn calls Solomon’s “knowledge of magic and medicine.”
  • The Old Testament has “neutral or positive references to a wide range of magical and divinatory practices”
    While we would agree that the Old Testament is “neutral” in some cases (the types of divination that could be credited to God, such as the dreams had by Joseph and Daniel or lots in the right circumstances), one would be hard pressed to state that occultic divination was fine. Again, based on numerous verses as listed above, the Bible condemns the occultic worldview.
  • “Jewish and Christian lore contains many references to occult incantations, to amulets, charms, spells, exorcisms, all related to speculative angelologies and demonologies”
    Christians follow the Bible, not lore. They acknowledge the existence of Jewish mystics, which appear to have been very popular between the 2nd century B.C. and 1st century A.D. Yet traditions don’t mean much to the evangelical Christian since he or she is a follower of the Book, or written word of God.
  • The magical power of God’s name (YHWH)
    There is nothing magical about the tetragammaton. Rather, it is the holiest name of God. In modern Bibles the translated word LORD is given in all caps to express the holiness of this name. In ancient times YHWH was not even pronounced. In fact, this name is considered to be so sacred among Jews today that the Jewish scroll writers continue to go through a purification rite every time they write out the tetragammaton. There is no magic in this name.
  • “The patriarch Joseph had a special silver cup in Egypt with which ‘he divineth'”
    Because Genesis 44:5 mentions Joseph’s “divining” cup, Quinn makes it appear that Joseph practiced hydromancy, a form of ancient Near Eastern divination that predicted the future. However, while this cup was said to have belonged to Joseph, could it not have been part of the ruse of entrapping his brothers? This may not help detail Joseph’s spiritual practices, as its use was certainly to frame the severity of Benjamin’s supposed crime. It is an argument from silence to say that Joseph actually practiced a pagan divining rite.
  • While we do know that he received revelation from dreams given to him by God—a form of divination known as oneiromancy—we cannot ascertain if hydromancy was a common practice of Joseph. According to ISBE (“Divination,” 1:972), “…the ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Arabians, Greeks, and Romans sought to understand the future primarily through the practice of various techniques of divination monopolized by skilled adepts. In contrast, the central way in which the will of Yahweh was made accessible in ancient Israel and in early Christianity was through the medium of inspired prophetic spokesmen.”
  • The casting of lots that took place in both the Old and New Testaments
    Proverbs 16:33 says that “the lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the Lord.” According to ISBE (“Lots,” 3:173): “The use of lots in making decisions, therefore, was regarded as a means of allowing God to make the choice. Lots, though a form of divination, were never a forbidden practice in ancient Israel as were the other forms of divination.” The Urim and Thummim, which was kept in a pocket of the high priest but apparently not used by the time of David, were also tools to get yes-and-no answers from God.
  • In the book of Acts, the disciples decided to nominate another man to fill the twelfth spot. According to Richard Longnecker in the ninth volume of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Zondervan, 1981), “The ‘remnant theology’ of Late Judaism made it mandatory that any group that presented itself as ‘the righteous remnant’ of the nation, and had the responsibility of calling the nation to repentance and permeating it for God’s glory, must represent itself as the true Israel, not only in its proclamation, but also in its symbolism” (p. 265). The disciples did not want there to be any question that the successor was not qualified to become an apostle of Jesus.
  • The two qualifications were that the candidate had to have been with Christ since the time Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and that he was a witness to Christ’s resurrection. Two men were qualified to fill this position: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. The disciples prayed to Jesus before “casting lots” and determining Matthias was the right one (Acts 1:26).
  • What are Christians to make of lots? Does this mean that they should flip a coin when making a decision? Not at all.
  • It should be emphasized that the disciples prayed and used wisdom before seeking God through the lots. (Old Testament passages involving lots include finding a guilty individual; selecting someone for a particular task; dividing the land of Israel; and selecting the scapegoat for the Day of Atonement.) God has spoken in different ways to His people throughout the ages. He walked alongside Abraham. He talked to Moses. And as these passages point out, He made Himself available to His people through lots.
  • Curiously this practice is never again mentioned after Acts 1:26. It was not a normal part of communication from the early church on. This is true because the Holy Spirit was fully given at Pentecost in Acts 2. According to Jesus in John 14:16, the Spirit was not only to be the Spirit of Truth but also the Counselor available to all Christians. “The Spirit was also the Spirit of prophecy, whose departure from Israel had left them with only dice as a means through which God might communicate his will. But now in the wake of the coming of Jesus the Spirit is back, not resting only on a few prophets, but on the whole people of God” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, IVP, 1996, p. 513).
  • Joseph Smith’s practices were no way biblical. And why would Smith not rely on the Holy Spirit for counsel and direction rather than magical practices if He was truly directed by God?
  • Moses’ brass serpent that saved the lives of anyone bitten by snakes just because they looked at it
    According to Numbers 21:8, God told Moses to put a snake on a pole so that anyone who was bitten from the snake-infested camp could look at it for healing. Jesus mentioned this incident as a precursor to Himself, saying in John 3:14-15 that He would have to be lifted up just like that snake so that everyone believing on Him would receive eternal life. (Also see John 12:31-32.) According to the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, “The bronze serpent is thus a symbol and type of Christ. Israel needs to learn that the Lord is sovereign. He uses the serpent to punish; he also uses it to heal in conjunction with obedience and faith” (p. 99). Just as the sick Israelite could look up to the snake for healing, so too sinners with no hope of healing can look to Jesus. As far as magic is concerned, there is no correlation whatsoever.
  • A corpse that came to life upon touching Elisha
    How do we explain Elijah’s going up to heaven in a chariot? How do we explain the taking of the sacrifice at Mt. Carmel? And how do we explain this event? Magic? No. Rather, we would say that God continued to use Elisha even after he was dead in this miraculous one-time event. (It had to have been “one-time” because they certainly would have tried to repeat the miracle with other bodies, but we hear no more about this.) Could Elisha’s departure from this world be any more dramatic than his predecessor Elijah?
  • The healing of people who touched the handkerchiefs of Paul and the speaking in tongues
    We see several ways how people were possibly healed in the New Testament, including Peter’s shadow (5:15), the edge of Jesus’ cloak (Matt. 9:20), and Paul’s handkerchiefs (Acts 19:12). These items did not have magical qualities, but rather the smallest article or shadow was a representation of having contact with one of God’s men. Writes Richard Longnecker in his commentary on Acts, “The virtue, of course, lay not in the materials themselves but in the power of God and the faith of the recipients” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 496).
  • To equate the above as well as speaking in tongues to magic is not a very strong parallel. Christians believe that God certainly heals. The above passages do not say the recipients had faith in the garments or the shadow of an apostle. Rather, as Jesus so clearly stated, a person with the faith (in God) as small of a mustard seed could move mountains. While God can use whatever He wills to accomplish His purpose, it is important to point out that only a faith in God can result in the miraculous.
  • In conclusion to this section, it is understood why Quinn has to presuppose that the Bible condones and even encourages the kind of view Joseph Smith had about magic. However, the evidence from the Bible does not support this view.

Returning the fire back to LDS “Scholarship”

There is no doubt that Quinn has a vendetta in re-releasing his book. His LDS critics were merciless in attempting to destroy Quinn’s credibility and hence his career. His honesty was not appreciated by either the leadership or those who are paid in Provo to defend the church from scholarly critics. Now that Quinn is no longer on the membership roles, he took off the proverbial gloves. He abandoned the use of the “could haves” and “might have beens” and instead became quite definitive in his writing. In addition, it is obvious that Quinn wrote as he pleased because LDS leaders no longer hold any authority over him. After all, what can the Mormon prophet do to a man who is already excommunicated?

With pit bull tenacity, Quinn continually went after the writers from FARMS, an organization that was unofficially connected to LDS-owned BYU and officially connected to the university in 1997. Even FARMS apologist Daniel Peterson wondered if this move would allow him and other writers to keep their nasty edge. Perhaps it is for this reason that Peterson, who has boasted that some of his fellow writers were born “with the nastiness gene,” is Quinn’s biggest target.

Why are the writers for FARMS so abusive in their writings? According to Peterson in the eighth volume of FARMS Review of Books, “We did not pick this fight with the Church’s critics, but we will not withdraw from it.” Peterson has also said,” If we have occasionally been guilty of levity at the expense of some of our critics, this has been because they tempted us with irresistible targets. It isn’t our fault…. A few of us, indeed, may have been born that way, with the nastiness gene—which is triggered by arrant humbuggery” (p. 329).

Quinn does not take kindly to the meanness of FARMS. He writes, “I have allowed my polemical critics to have their decade, not just their day….I believe this eleventh-anniversary edition responds to these LDS polemicists with greater honesty and civility than they have given me” (p. xi).

Quinn defines the difference in his mind between polemics and apologetics. According to him, a person who practices polemics engages in “an extreme version of apologetics. Defending a point of view becomes less important than attacking one’s opponents. Aside from their verbal viciousness, polemicists often resort to any method to promote their argument…. Moving beyond apologist persuasion, LDS polemicists furiously (and often fraudulently) attack any non-traditional view of Mormonism. They don’t mince words—they mince truth” (p. x). We should note that, traditionally, polemics does not have as negative a connotation as Quinn makes it out to be. Rather, the noun just means the “art or practice of disputation or controversy, especially in theology.”

Apologists, on the other hand, “take special efforts to defend their cherished point of view…It is not an insult to call someone an ‘apologist’ (which I often do)…” (p. x). This statement was obviously meant for FARMS writers who, for whatever reason, have taken offense to being called “apologists.” I’ll never forget Daniel Peterson’s attack on Bill McKeever in the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5, 1993. In a review on John Ankerberg and John Weldon’s book entitled About Mormonism, Peterson took several pages to divert and tackle an unpublished paper that my colleague and I had written on the “land of Jerusalem.” Listen to the shot Peterson fired at us in footnote number 170, page 77: “McKeever also has the irritating habit, prevalent among many anti-Mormons, of describing those authors with whom he agrees by their academic titles and positions, while referring to those authors with whom he disagrees as ‘LDS apologists.'”

Why was Peterson so insulted at being called an apologist, which really is a simple word meaning a person who practices apologetics (which is the defense of one’s faith)? While many falsely assume it refers to a person who has to apologize, it has no such meaning. Truly this is not a derogatory word, and we at Mormonism Research Ministry have never used it to belittle someone’s credentials. Like Quinn, we who write for MRM welcome the title of apologist.

To show his disdain for those who dislike being called “apologists,” Quinn writes: “‘Polemicist’ is a dishonorable vocation, and I use the term only where I believe it applies.” When referring to FARMS, the word apologist takes a great big back seat in Quinn’s vocabulary, for the most part. Instead, polemicist is the word of choice about 60-70 percent of the time. His disagreement comes because, for FARMS’ writers, “defending Joseph Smith from any association with magic is the primary motivation for their definitional nihilism…. However, the fundamental problem with this tactic of LDS apologists is that denying the legitimacy of the word ‘magic’ or ‘occult sciences’ also denies the self-definition of people before and during Joseph Smith’s time” (p. xxviii).

In Quinn’s own words

  • There is no other way to explain how hard Quinn went after these men than to just list a few of the well more than a hundred pokes he made against LDS writers, especially those aligning themselves with FARMS. Hopefully this gives the person reading this review a flavor of Quinn’s rebuttal to his critics:
  • Referring to Stephen E. Robinson’s denial of Quinn’s assertion that Smith was connected to the occult, Quinn wrote, “I have no respect for the statement of one reviewer who claimed he had read this chapter (6, “Mormon Scriptures, Magic World View, Rural New York”) carefully….This is simply polemical defensiveness: he refuses to acknowledge the existence of evidence he is afraid others will accept” (p. 234).
  • Again referring to Robinson’s critique, Quinn gave a slight compliment before offering additional unkind words about the BYU professor. “This was the only evidence that he might be a sincere apologist struggling for a perspective he could regard as faithful. If that had been his approach throughout the review, I could regard him with compassion. However, throughout the rest of his review, Robinson showed himself as a mean-spirited polemicist eager to use any insult, distortion, mislabeling, deletion, false analogy, semantic trick, and logical fallacy to defend officially approved LDS history. Within that context the quoted paragraph appears as simply a vulnerable-sounding weapon from the arsenal of an unrelenting polemicist” (p. 403).
  • Quinn uses no less than three full pages of his endnotes (pp. 407-410) to ridicule a parallel Robinson made to make light of a point Quinn made in the first edition of his book. Quinn concluded his diatribe with this slam: “False analogy should have no role in any discourse, particularly by a professor of the New Testament.”
  • Referring to Smith’s promise of blessing to a Kirtland Mormon in 1835 who was attempting to find buried treasure, “LDS apologists like Richard L. Anderson dismiss such promises as ‘poetic elements’ or ‘spiritual metaphor.’ This is an example of ‘present-mindedness’ or the ‘presentist bias’ which ignores the historical context and meaning of experiences in the past, and instead superimposes the perspective of the present” (p. 260).
  • Criticizing FARMS writers for doing a “computer search” that he felt was incomplete and truly dishonest, Quinn lashed out, “(William J.) Hamblin, (Daniel C.) Peterson, and (George L.) Mitton presented only those findings which supported their effort to disassociate magic practices and beliefs from Joseph Smith and early LDS publications. If their key-word search did not actually include ‘amulet,’ ‘charm,’ and ‘talisman’ at some point, this oversight occurred because these FARMS authors did not want to find those terms in early LDS publications. If those terms were included, these FARMS authors deceived their readers…. These FARMS authors also claimed there was allegedly no evidence that Joseph Smith even knew about talismans or magic parchments, and allegedly no evidence that Mormonism’s founding prophet would ever look favorably on such occult artifacts. It would not be helpful for the FARMS agenda to alert readers to the founding prophet’s use of this amulet-talisman-parchment reference in Times and Seasons” (p. 271).
  • Criticizing William J. Hamblin, Quinn writes with a humorous edge on page 351: “Hamblin and I obviously see faith and its defense in very different ways, both as historians and as believers. According to his published comments about me, Hamblin thinks that my commitment to historical analysis has subverted my LDS faith. Having read many of his writings, I think Hamblin’s commitment as a ‘defender’ has subverted his historical training. Polemicism has also warped Hamblin’s judgment of what is religious. In his polemical review of Metcalfe’s book, Hamblin constructed his essay to be published with a repetitive left-margin acrostic (‘Metcalfe is butthead’). The FARMS editor discovered this while the article was in press and required Hamblin to change the acrostics, some of which he still left in recognizable form. As ‘a defender of the Kingdom of God,’ Hamblin tried to deceive a religious journal into publishing the kind of graffiti that teenagers scrawl on the walls of public restrooms…. This is another example of how polemics warps the judgment of its LDS practitioners” (p. 352).
  • Referred to FARMS Louis Midgley as “a polemicist without scruples, willing to say anything to attack whomever he regards as an opponent” (p. 401).
  • Referring to the idea of chiasmus being found in the Book of Mormon, Quinn stated, “As I told (FARMS) John W. Welch in a 1995 letter, I have always admired and praised his discovery of the ancient poetic technique of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. However, I believe that he has done a disservice to all Mormon believers by his decades of misrepresenting America’s pre-1830 knowledge of this biblical parallelism. As stated in my text discussion, Hugh Nibley’s misstatements in 1975 occurred because of his lack of access to information that was not yet published or not easily available to him. This was not the case with John W. Welch, whose publication for the LDS audience since 1969, in my opinion, have manifested an escalating, intentional concealments of pre-1830 American publications about chiasmus” (p. 504).
  • Showing that FARMS writers too often shoot off their guns without properly aiming, Quinn writes, “However, (FARMS) John Gee…ridiculed a non-LDS Egyptologist for writing that Michael Chandler sold Egyptian artifacts ‘to members of the Church of Latter-day Saints’ in 1835. Gee insisted: ‘The name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is [thus] given inaccurately.’ That demonstrates Gee’s ignorance of the fact that ‘Church of Latter Day Saints’ was its official name from 1834-1838” (pp. 531-532).


In the first part of this review, I asked, “Is Quinn’s book worthy to be read?” My answer is quite simple. Yes it is. Every interested Mormon and Christian should read it in conjunction with other excellent books on Smith, including Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History and David Persuitte’s Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon. No matter what your opinion of Quinn is—whether he offends you because he was excommunicated by the Mormon Church, that he is an avowed homosexual, or that he writes historical books that are not what you might call “faith promoting”—he is not a slouch.

As mentioned in this review, I disagree with several of his views. For instance, I don’t agree that the Bible encourages necromancy, magic, dealing with occultic materials, and the like. But when it comes to the facts about how Smith himself was involved in magic, Quinn’s historical points are well documented and leave little to debate. I appreciate that Quinn seems to be very honest, wanting to know just what the facts are all about. To do any different is to be a revisionist, and that is just not honest, as Quinn makes this a big point in his criticism of Mormon apologists, especially those who work at LDS-controlled FARMS. I give the book a 5-star recommendation, as long as the reader promises to read carefully, slowly, and with a critical mind.




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Demonic Names in the Book of Mormon

While I was studying some points of interest in Masonry, I came across some names within their books that sounded familiar to me. The familiarity became abundantly clear when I opened the Book of Mormon. I began researching some of the names in the Book of Mormon and their meanings. I compared them with the Bible, bible dictionaries and even Webster’s dictionary.

I found 57 names of people and places that are demonic or names of false gods and their derivatives, however I have chosen to narrow this down to three names that I thought was most relevant.

Someone mentioned to me in a recent letter to Saints Alive that what I see as wrong or demonic is not necessarily demonic to that person. We need to take a firm stand against this rationalization. Truth is not relative. The following names of places and/or people are demonic or ungodly and the LDS Church has twisted their meanings into something other than what they truly are.


Biblical meaning of people: These were a nomadic people that were descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter. Genesis 19:38: ‘And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day’. According to Unger’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Ammonite’s deity was Molech.

Book of Mormon’s definition of Ammonites: They observed the laws of Moses and looked forward to the coming of Christ. Alma 25:15-16. Their origin is actually from the Lamanites; Alma 24:17-8.


Biblical meaning: This is a derivative of Molech. In Leviticus 18:21 it says; ‘And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD’. Molek is found in Strong’s Concordance and in Hebrew it means the chief deity (king) of the Ammonites. #4427-4432 gives the definitions and derivatives of this name.

Book of Mormon’s definition: Mulek was land in the north that God prospered and appointed. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah. Helaman 6:10.


Biblical meaning: This is a land that was possessed by the Cannanite cults. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. Their goddess was Ashtoreth. 1 Kings 11:5. They brought nothing but misery to Israel. Jesus referred to the iniquities of the Sidonians in Matthew 11:21-3; ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you’.

Book of Mormon’s definition: In 84 BC, Alma began baptizing the people in the river of Sidon. Alma 4:4. Sidon was also the river where the Nephites defeated the Amlicites & the Lamanites. Alma threw their bodies from the banks into the river so that they could cross to the other side. Alma 2:17, 27, 34-5. It says that the land where Sidon was became peaceful and prosperous.

In the book, Discourses of Brigham Young on page 257, he states; ‘I hope to see the time when we shall have a reformation in the orthography of the English language, among this people, for it is greatly needed. Such a reformation would be a great benefit, and would make the acquirement of an education much easier than at present’.

It’s obvious that this is exactly what they have done. Read, study, decipher what words and their origins mean. It is vital that we understand what we read and not take it for granted that what we read is always true. The only book that we can take for face value is the Bible.

I ask that you join me in prayer for the Mormons. I am praying Isaiah chapter 61 for them. And remember what it says in 2 Timothy 3:16; ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’. With Love in Christ; Michelle

More Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon

Over five years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon’. Since then I have been asked by numerous people to write more on this particular subject so here it is! Back by popular demand I went through my old notes and found some other names that I think would be of interest to the Mormon and non-Mormon alike. There were more than 50 names of people and/or places that contradict what the Biblical accounts report. Here are just a few of them.


The name of Chemish so closely resembles the name of Chemosh from the Bible that it is hard to ignore. In Mormonism the name Chemish belongs to the brother of Ameleki. These two brothers and others were responsible for writing the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. The official LDS website search engine says this about Chemish:

“The book of Omni: A book translated from the small plates of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The book has only a single chapter, which contains an account of the wars among the Nephites and Lamanites. Omni wrote only the first three verses of the book. The plates were then passed in turn to Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and finally Amaleki. And it came to pass that I did deliver the plates unto my brother Chemish. He delivered the plates to King Benjamin, king of Zarahemla…”

In the introduction of the book of Omni it states:

“Comprising records kept by Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki – Mosiah, leaving the land of Zarahemla, occupied by another colony from Jerusalem”.

It is evident from the writings in the Book of Mormon that they believe Chemish to be an honorable man, worthy of writing their ‘scripture’ and worthy enough to be listened to.

What is interesting to note in this however, is what the real meaning of Chemosh translates into. From the Jerusalem Publishing House Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible, it says Chemosh is:

“The principle god of the Moabites who were also known as the “people of Chemosh” (Num. 21:29). He may have been the god to whom Mesha king of Moab sacrificed his son (II Kings 3:27)….Solomon tried to please his foreign wives by setting an altar to Chemosh “on the hill that is east of Jerusalem” (I Kings 11:7), thus incurring the wrath of the Lord (I Kings 11:33).”

Once again we see yet another of the Mormon ‘good boys’ that has a questionable name. It seems that the theme is the same as the last time I wrote on the ungodly names of the Book of Mormon. The theme: sex. The Moabites are the descendants of Lot who came from an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters.


This story is interesting because it shows two different accounts of what God did with the people involved with the tower of Babel. It seems that God is a god of confusion with his people if you believe the Mormon version.

As it turns out, Jared and his family are the only ones in the whole world that didn’t have his language confounded when God scattered the people at the time of the tower of Babel. After Jared told his brother to pray to the Lord to not confound their language, they somehow miraculously realized that God heard the brother of Jared’s cry. It’s also interesting to note that Jared’s brother never seems to have his own name.

Joseph Smith claims the people that descended from Jared are called the Jaredites. The Jaredites had grown to become a great god-fearing nation which moved to the Americas, thus the Book of Mormon. After many generations and hundreds of years they were destroyed by civil wars from caused from the disobedience unto the Lord.

Ether 1:33-4 says; ‘Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly 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 tells us that their language wasn’t confounded. Then they prayed that even their friends’ language wouldn’t be confounded and theirs was spared as well. The Bible has always told us two things for sure:

God is not the author of confusion. 1 Corinthian 14:33 says; ‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.’ And then in Acts 10:34 we have Peter telling us that God is no respecter of persons.

With these two simple things in mind why would God decide that the rules were different for some and not all? What was so different about Jared and his non-named brother that they and their friends didn’t have the same treatment?

The story of the tower of Babel can be found in Gen. 11. Verse nine says; ‘Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of ALL the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth’.

Did you notice what it said in Ether 1:33? Let’s take a look at it again! It says; ‘…at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered.’

Two more things come to mind when I read this passage. 1-God can’t be trusted. If God ‘swore in his wrath’ that they would be scattered and he confounded the language then went back on what he said, it’s likely that he could be bought off the next time I sinned.

2-Did he or did he not confound the language? If he confounded the languages and then Jared’s brother started praying, did God have to give them back their languages? Call me picky but I think that knowing the God I worship is a serious business and I want to make sure I know it intimately!


This has to be one of the most confusing things I have ever had to study in Mormonism. There are two Amaleki’s mentioned in the Book of Mormon. What I originally wanted to point out are the disparities between the Amalekites of the Bible and the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but alas that wasn’t all I found! Here are the characters in the Book of Mormon, their ‘jobs’ and the Amalekite people:

Amaleki #1 is described as a Nephite record keeper’ who died circa 130 BC, according to He was the 5th person to help author the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. You can read his account in Omni 1:12-30 as he calls people to Christ (keep in mind it’s 130 BC), his handing over of the plates to King Benjamin (not the same King Benjamin as in the Bible) and the expedition to the land of Nephi.

Amleki #2 is one of the three brothers of Ammon. They were part of Zeniff’s group. They wanted to travel to the land of Nephi-Lehi from Zarahemla and ended up traveling in the desert for 40 days. They finally came upon a hill north of Shilom, pitched their tents and hiked it down to the land of Nephi. The four brothers were imprisoned by King Limhi but eventually freed when they explained that they were descendants of Zarahemla. This story can be found in Mosiah 7:6, it is said that this transpired circa 121 BC.

The Amalekites however are another story, there was nothing godly about these people, they were not the godly men great scholars that Amaleki #1 & #2 were. The Amalekites were a people that were apostates, originating from the Nephites. The Amalekites helped build a city called Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), their hearts were harder than the Lamanites (Alma 21:3) and were preached to by Aaron in their own synagogues (Alma 21:4). They were said to be from the order of Nehor. The Nehors were people who intentionally preached something other than the word of God. This all took place circa 90 BC as Aaron went to the sanctuaries to preach the scriptures of the crucified Lord Jesus. As the story progresses it talks of how Ammon even went out to preach in the synagogues in the land of Ishmael.

Now I could go on and on about the time-line part of preaching Jesus crucified and it still being 130 BC but bear with me here as I try to ignore that part of the story. Smith has made it hard to believe that anyone called by the name of Amaleki or its derivatives could be anything but horrible.

The Biblical accounts of the Amalekites spans from the book of Genesis to 1 Chronicles 4:43. Let’s see what the Bible says about them and why no mention of them is found after that. ‘And they [Israelites] smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day’. So it seems that there weren’t any Amalekites after this battle! How then did they make it all the way over the waters of the Atlantic ocean and survive being annihilated as well?

When I read the accounts of these people the stories are far too similar. I am also taken aback that anyone who is considered to be a ‘holy’ mouthpiece for the Almighty God would be touting a name such as Amaleki. Amalek is considered to be a descendant of Esau. They were the very first people who fought with Israel after they crossed the Red Sea! This is rather significant in the whole matter!

The Amalekites were a thorn in the side of Israel. They first met up with them in the region near Sinai, when Amalek tried to prevent the entrance of a new tribe into their region. Ex. 17:8-16. In the period of the Judges they aided the Moabites in raiding Israel and at a later time they even helped the Midianites to do the same thing, Judges 6:3.

The Illustrated Concordance and Dictionary of the Bible from G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House LTD says this about the Amalekites; ‘Archeological surveys have shown that the kings of Judah strengthened their hold in the Negeb from the 10th Century B.C. and this led to the decline and disappearance of the Amalekites.’

There is also a problem here with who was preaching to whom. Why were the Amalekites being preached to by Ammon in the land of Ishmael? I have already established who Ammon was in my last article. The Mormons believe that he observed the laws of Moses. (Alma 25:15-6). The Bible says they [Ammonites] were a nomadic people who were descendants of Lot. Ammon’s deity was Molech. (Gen. 19:38).

My question is this; why was this ‘good prophet’ in the Book of Mormon out preaching to the Amalekites when in the Bible the Ammonites were bowing to Ba’al? Wouldn’t that mean that the Amalekites were getting another gospel?

For more information on Mormon beliefs, please go to





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Wacky Mormons Love to Baptize Dead Jews

The controversy over LDS posthumous baptisms continues. See, the Mormons have this thing in which they offer salvation to the dead by performing rites that “baptize” them in absentia, giving even us backward Jews a glimpse at heaven. Thanks, guys!

All kinds of celebrity figures, including Adolf Hitler and Irving Berlin, have been included in these rituals, as well as the ancestors of Mormon converts, and muy controversially, many victims of the Holocaust. Starting in 1995, Jewish groups began meeting with the LDS, attempting to explain why the practice was offensive to them. They attempted to communicate that these people died as a result of their identity as Jews, and that the practice tarnished the memory of what they died for and what their deaths mean.

Last Monday, Ernest Michel, honorary chairman of the (deep breath) American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, walked out of negotiations with the LDS, charging that the Mormons were not doing enough to prevent this continuing practice. Meanwhile, William Tumpowsky, the head of Utah’s UJF, is determined to make this shit work, and will continue discussions.

The truly amazing part of the whole thing is that after 13 years of discussion, the two groups have achieved a level of communication approaching zero. The LDS representatives and many Mormon people (check the comments under Deseret News’ coverage) still seem to have no idea why this is offensive to Jewish people. They just can’t understand why, if the survivor groups do not believe in their religion, they would care. (Yeah, why?) And also, they don’t get why Jews don’t appreciate that they are doing it out of LOVE for our dead. Urm.

The AGHSD, (easier) the Simon Wiesenthal Center, (fun fact: Wiesenthal himself, apparently was vicariously baptized after his death) and other groups that protest the practice, make a lot of demands, and do things like walk out of meetings, and yell at the nice Mormons, who smile at them and then turn and whisper to each other: “Do you know what he’s talking about?” The LDS reps claim that they have already removed over 200,000 Holocaust victims from their roles, and just can’t get why these good Jewish folk are so durned angry. And on it goes.

AP’s coverage here.




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Apostasy and Restoration

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims that they are a restoration of Christ’s original Church and not just another denomination of Christianity. All other so-called “Christian Churches” are said to be in apostasy. On page 14 of a 1983 booklet titled, Apostasy And Restoration, the corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, “As Latter-day Saints, we testify that shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles, there came seventeen hundred years of apostasy and darkness. Then in 1820, the resurrected Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet to all the world. Through him came the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the true church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The booklet goes on to say, “We invite all men to test our claims, to know the truth for themselves.” (Ibid., p.14) We will accept this invitation by investigating some of the claims made in this booklet by the LDS Church and then compare those claims to what God says in scripture. There are four underlined portions in the following that we would like to discuss.

Under the heading, “The Great Apostasy- The Dark Ages” this booklet states, “Some may have known that the Messiah’s church, like the Messiah himself, would meet a violent death.” and “Following the death of the apostles, revelation ceased. The authority of God was no longer among men. Christianity sickened and died.” (Ibid. Pgs. 7,9)

This booklet also states, “Though the Messiah himself set up his true church on earth, yet Satan was able to set in motion- even during the lifetime of Jesus Christ and his apostles- those very countervailing forces that eventually led to the complete apostasy of the true church and the eventual creation of an apostate religion that has been responsible for the extermination of the Messiah’s true followers and the persecution of his chosen people, the Jews .The realization that the Lord’s true Church was not only vulnerable, but destructible, comes as a shock to many people. But if wicked men were able to put to death the Messiah himself, is it so strange that they should also have the power to destroy his church?” (Ibid. p.11)

According to the above, The Church of Jesus Christ met a violent death, sickened and died, fell into complete apostasy and was destroyed. This supposedly happened shortly after the death of the original twelve apostles. This is a very important point for Mormonism. In order for their claim of being the restoration of Christ’s Church to be valid, there needed to be a falling away of the original one. Did the first century Church really fall into complete apostasy? What did Jesus have to say about the subject?

Matthew 16:18- And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the Gates of Hades shall not overpower it. There is one major thing that we wish to point out in this verse. The Greek word for “overpower” is katischuo. It means, “against, and to prevail. To be strong against someone, prevail against or over. Used in a hostile sense, meaning to overcome, vanquish (Matt. 16:18);” (AMG Complete WordStudy Bible and Reference CD) The Greek word for “not” is ou. It means, “Not, no, expressing direct and full negation, independently and absolutely, and hence, objectively.” (Ibid.)

The first thing that needs to be realized about the above LDS quote, is that wicked men were allowed to put Jesus to death. Jesus was not overcome or triumphed over. He willingly laid down his life. In contrast to His willingness to die, He said that His church would not be prevailed over. It is a terrible jump in logic to think that because Jesus laid down His life, that He would allow His church to be overpowered also. Especially in the light of the fact that He specifically says that the Church will not be overpowered.

This is a clear promise made by Christ Himself. His church, once established, will not meet a violent death, sicken and die, fall into complete apostasy or be destroyed. We have one of two choices. Either Jesus was wrong, or the Mormon church is wrong. Jesus also stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) If Jesus is wrong, then He can not be trusted and must be viewed as either incompetent or as a liar. If the Mormon church is wrong, then there was no need for a restoration and their claims to be the only true church are false.

Another verse, which refutes the idea of a total apostasy, is Jude 3. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Notice that this verse says that the faith was delivered, “once for all.” If it was delivered “once for all,” then there is no need to deliver it again. Obviously Jude, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not believe in a coming total apostasy.

Lastly, we would also like to appeal to the Book of Mormon, for the sake of our Mormon readers. The book of 4th Nephi describes a time when the “true faith” continued to thrive. An official LDS church manual states, “As the original twelve Nephite disciples chosen by the Savior passed away, new disciples were chosen to take their place. This practice evidently continued as long as the Nephites were righteous enough to have a church organization amongst them. The three Nephite disciples who were promised by the Savior that they should live on the earth until his second coming apparently continued to work with the people for several hundred years.” (Book Of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 1979 p.450)

We have an unavoidable contradiction. In one official LDS church booklet, the church claims that the apostasy occurred “shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles,” while another official publication says that the work continued for “several hundred years.” In the light of what the Bible has clearly stated regarding the endurance of Christ’s church, it is obvious that both LDS quotes are wrong.


BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY = An everlasting Gospel which has endured for “all generations”—never to disappear from the earth. Paul warned about those who would preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus prophesied that the “gates of hell” wouldn’t prevail against His church, and in so doing, He ruled out complete apostasy (Matthew 16:18). Thus, the Gospel would never have to be restored (Jude 3). Ephesians 3:21 states: “to Him be the glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”1. How can an apostate church give glory to God throughout “all generations”?

GALATIANS 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.…but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”2.

2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

JUDE 3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [for all time] delivered unto the saints.” 3.

HEBREWS 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

MATTHEW 16:18: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

EPHESIANS 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men”

1 TIMOTHY 3:15: “…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”






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Answering Mormon Bible Challenges

The following scripture verses are the main ones that I have been challenged with by Mormons. The list is nowhere near all-inclusive as Mormons have many other verses that they will throw at you to prove their theology. In some cases, I have not only answered the Mormon challenge but have attempted to turn the challenge around into a witnessing opportunity for you to use on them. Again, the list is somewhat short, so if you do not see the verse you are looking for, please contact us and we will work on providing an answer for you.


James 1:5 – “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Mormon missionaries like to use this verse when introducing you to the Book of Mormon. They will encourage you to pray to God for wisdom to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I like to answer this a few different ways.

1. Ask, “Can you show me where the Bible says to pray about it to see if it is true? Suppose I were to pray to God for wisdom to determine if the Bible is true and he said no? What if I prayed to God for wisdom to know whether the Muslim Quran is true and he said yes; how would I know for sure what to believe?” You may then want to state that the Bible never prompts its readers to pray to determine whether or not it is the Word of God. Rather, it says that we must “believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). You may also remind them that the Bereans were commended, in Acts 17:11, because they did not immediately believe everything the Apostle Paul said, but they tested Paul’s message by examining it in light of the available scriptures.

2. I also quote Proverbs 14:12 to them which states: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” I then tell them that by failing to practice the Biblical test to determine truth opens us up to believing in deceptive, changing feelings of man. In addition, we may also open ourselves up to the influence of deceiving spirits since Satan and his angels are well known to transform themselves into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Therefore, what we believe to be truth from God may really be a satanic trick to fool you into believing a lie.

3. You may also want to explain to the Mormon the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is based on known facts. Wisdom is based on the application of those facts. I often ask a Mormon missionary, “Do you think I should pray to see whether 1+1=2”? Obviously the answer is no because that is an established fact. The Book of Mormon can be treated in the same way. Since, by testing it in the light of Scripture, we already have knowledge that it contains information that contradicts the established facts of the Bible, hence, we need not pray about its authenticity as coming from God.


Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

Mormons will often use this verse to prove that a prophet is needed on earth today and that without a living prophet, God cannot communicate to man.

1. It is true that in the Old Testament days of Israel, God communicated to the Jews through prophets. However, since we are now living in the days of the New Testament and have God’s complete revelation (the Bible) available to us we no longer need a living prophet. Since the coming of Jesus Christ, revelations of God spoken through prophets began to cease and are no longer necessary. Hebrews 1:1-2 backs this up by stating: “God, who at sundry times and divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son…” You may want to ask a Mormon to read Hebrews 1:1-2 and ask him: “Do you see that believers in the New Testament age are no longer required to seek revelation from living prophets, but have been given all we need to know in the person of Jesus Christ and His final revelation in the pages of the Bible?”

2. Secondly, for fun, let’s just give the Mormons the benefit of being correct in stating that mankind does need a living prophet who communicates God’s oracles to us. Since the test to determine if a prophet is from God is 100% accuracy in the outcome of his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), let’s see if Mormon prophets pass the test. Ask your Mormon friends if they know that:

– Joseph Smith prophesied that the United States government would be overthrown in the 1800’s. (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973, 5:394)

– Joseph Smith prophesied that the New Jerusalem would be built in Missouri within his generation. (Doctrine and Covenants 84:1-5)

– Brigham Young prophesied that the Civil War would fail to end black slavery. (Journal of Discourses, 1854-56, 10:250)

– Brigham Young said that the moon and the sun were inhabited. (Journal of Discourses, 13:271)


Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Mormons are fixated on becoming perfect. They will tell you that Christ would not give us a commandment that we are unable to attain to. Although they may not say it, all of their works and church activities are done to help them to achieve perfection and subsequent exaltation to Godhood. Although Christians should strive to be all we can be in Christ, the context of this statement by Jesus is important. It was made by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount was given to show men how their outward acts of religion and self-righteousness were not enough to earn them a place in God’s Kingdom. Jesus was setting up a standard of righteousness that no man can possibly attain to. The idea was to show men the impossible standard of outwardly attaining to God’s perfect law and lead them, by faith, to Himself as the only way one can become righteous enough to enter heaven.

This verse can be flipped on the Mormon and is one of the best verses you can use to witness to them about Jesus. Ask them, “Are you perfect, right now”? Of course they will say no. Tell them that Matthew 5:48 says to be perfect, not become perfect. The verse is in the present tense. We are not commanded to get it right in the future but to be perfect, right now! Just like your boss telling you to “be on time” doesn’t mean to be on time a month from now, but immediately. Once you get the Mormon to understand this (it may take a while), tell him that you are perfect, right now! Let it sink in. After they look at you with blasphemous eyes, have them read Hebrews 10:14: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified”. Notice the past tense. Jesus has already made those perfect who come to Him by faith, trusting in His finished work of redemption. I have had very good success with this verse. Some Mormons were even stunned by it. It is at this time that you must give them the gospel. They need to know that Jesus did it all for them on Calvary and that eternal life is not earned. Follow it up with Ephesians 2:8-9.


Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Mormons will use this verse as a proof text for their doctrine of the pre-existence. That is, that man existed as a spirit child in heaven before coming to earth in a physical body. However, this is not what is meant here. Mormons are reading into the text something that is not there. It has nothing to do with pre-existence, but pre-ordination. God was simply telling Jeremiah that before he was even born, God had called him and determined that he would be a prophet. A similar verse in the New Testament would be Galatians 1:15 where Paul said that God “separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace…”. The issue here is God’s foreknowledge enabling Him to “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Romans 4:17).

Since the Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence states that a man is first formed spiritually before physically, a good verse to use to refute it is 1 Corinthians 15:46: “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual”.


1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”

Mormons will use this verse to prove that there was a complete falling away of the true church on earth and a need to have it restored by Joseph Smith. Again, Mormons are reading words into the text instead of reading the text as is. The verse says that “some” shall depart from the faith, not everyone. There is no mention of a complete apostasy here. Nor is there in any other verses that they use such as Acts 20:30 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3. It is important to the foundation of Mormonism that they can demonstrate a total apostasy of the church. The LDS teaching is that there had to be a complete falling away to necessitate the establishment of the Mormon Church. Even if this teaching could be proven to be true from the Bible, there still would remain a great contradiction within the pages of Mormon scripture. The first being that The Book of Mormon claims that there are three faithful Nephite disciples who never died (3 Nephi 28:1-8). And, secondly, according to Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-8, the Apostle John never died either. The presence of these faithful Christians on earth would mean that true Christianity must have still existed.

However, the Bible is clear that the Christian church will remain on the earth. Although we will see a great apostasy during the end times, Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). Added to that, Ephesians 3:21 says, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ask your Mormon friend, “if your leaders are correct about the complete falling away of the true church on earth, how could Jesus be glorified through His bride throughout all ages, world without end?”


1 Corinthians 8:5 – “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many)”

Mormons will use this verse to prove that there are a plurality of Gods in the universe. It is amazing to see how a religious group can pull one verse right out of the text to establish a doctrine and blatantly ignore the immediate context. If they were to read verse 4 they would see that it clearly states “that there is none other God but one”. How can we reconcile this seeming contradiction? Easy. Paul was writing to the Gentile believers regarding food sacrificed to idols. The idea is that although idols are called gods by their Pagan worshippers, they are not true Gods, but false ones. There is only one true God.

Here are a few scriptural beauties that you want to have in your arsenal when dealing with a Mormon on the subject of Polytheism:

-Isaiah 43:10 – “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: 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.”

-Isaiah 44:6 – “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of Hosts; I am the first and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

-Isaiah 44:8 – “….Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

I like to ask a Mormon, “What if God told you that you can’t become a God; would you believe him?” Have him then read Isaiah 43:10. Also, “if God had a father who was a God, would he know him?” When he says yes, let him read Isaiah 44:8.


Ezekiel 37:16-17 – “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join the one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

This verse is often sited to prove that there is Biblical evidence for the Book of Mormon. They will say that the stick of Judah is the Bible, and the stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon. However, the two sticks mentioned here have nothing to do with the Bible or the Book of Mormon. The two sticks are clearly explained in verses 21 and 22 as representing two nations. These are the Southern Kingdom of Israel, which is named Judah since this tribe occupied the bulk of the southern land, and the Northern Kingdom, which is named Joseph here to represent the two tribes who occupied the majority of the northern land, Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph.




Mormon Exaltation (eternal progression), Theosis, Apotheosis, and INTENTIONAL MORMON DECIET By Damon Whitsell

Spend some time researching Mormonism and you will eventually run into the Mormon argument that says, “early Christianity and eastern orthodoxy believe in Theosis so therefore Mormonism must be true Christianity”.

I had a Mormon that runs a blog @ comment on a post at this blog.

After I unravel the deception in his comments, I will give you a link that shows MAC, (Mormons are Christian) already knew that what Mormons call “Theosis” is not what any Christian has ever called Theosis.


Here is his comment

The Trinity:

A literal reading of the New Testament points to God and Jesus Christ , His Son , being separate , divine beings , united in purpose. . To whom was Jesus praying in Gethsemane, and Who was speaking to Him and his apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration? The Nicene Creed’s definition of the Trinity was influenced by scribes translating the Greek manuscripts into Latin. The scribes embellished on a passage explaining the Trinity , which is the Catholic and Protestant belief that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The oldest versions of the epistle of 1 John, read: “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the water and the blood and these three are one.” Scribes later added “the Father, the Word and the Spirit,” and it remained in the epistle when it was translated into English for the King James Version, according to Dr. Bart Ehrman, Chairman of the Religion Department at UNC- Chapel Hill. He no longer believes in the Nicene Trinity. . Scholars agree that Early Christians believed in an embodied God; it was neo-Platonist influences that later turned Him into a disembodied Spirit. Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.” The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views the Trinity as three separate divine beings , in accord with the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts.


Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans, was also part of Early Christian belief. St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.” Irenaeus wrote in the late 2nd Century: “we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods” Justin Martyr in mid 2nd Century said: “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest” Clement of Alexandria explained “Saints . . pure in heart . . are destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988) The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) agrees with Early Christian church leaders regarding theosis.


I will gloss over MAC’s Trinity paragraph with just a few observations I don’t know any Christians that use 1John 5:7 as a proof text for the trinity.

Many of MAC’s trinity arguments are the same as ONENESS Pentecostals. Who was Jesus praying too and who was Jesus talking too?? That is simple. The Father. A proper understanding of “Tri-Unity” of the Godhead dispels this misunderstanding. While God is 1, He is also 3.

MAC says, “Harper’s Bible Dictionary entry on the Trinity says “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.” “

MAC conveniently (and dishonestly) quotes the first sentence of the final paragraph of this dictionary entry. Here is the rest of the paragraph:

“Nevertheless, the discussion above and especially the presence of trinitarian formulas in 2 Cor. 13:14 (which is strikingly early) and Matt. 28:19 indicate that the origin of this mode of thought may be found very early in Christian history.”




Actually MAC gives a pretty good definition of Theosis in saying that Theosis is “Divinization, narrowing the space between God and humans”. Although a little ambiguous in that at first glance “divinization” would seem to mean “becoming a God”, it does not as the following reference will show. But the later part “narrowing the space between God and humans” is a real good definition.

BUT NOTICE The bait and switch technique, There is a vast difference in between “narrowing the space between” and “becoming” Gods,, as expressed in his “out of context“ Church Father quotes. . Lets look at these references.



 (“deification,” “divinization”) is the process of a worshiper becoming free of hamártía (“missing the mark”), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily resurrection. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-holy Trinity. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (hamartía — which is not to be confused with hamártēma “sin”) for participation in the Life (zōé, not simply bíos) of the Trinity — which is everlasting.

This is not to be confused with the heretical (apotheosis) (1) – “Deification in God’s Essence“, which is imparticipable.
(1) Apotheosis (from Greek “to deify”), deification or divinization is the glorification of an individual to a divine level. 
Deification in MORMONISM
The doctrine of theosis or deification in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints differs significantly from the theosis of Orthodox Christianity. In Mormonism it is usually referred to as exaltation or eternal life. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on the atonement of Jesus Christ, the reason for the atonement is exaltation which goes beyond mere salvation. All men will be saved from sin and death, but only those who are sufficiently obedient and accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the judgment will be exalted. One popular Mormon quote, coined by the early Mormon “disciple” Lorenzo Snow in 1837, is “As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be.”[2] The teaching was taught first by Joseph Smith while pointing to John 5:19 of the New Testament, “God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).

Some Mormons also suggest that discussions of theosis by early Church Fathers show an early belief in the Mormon concept of deification, although they disagree with much of the other theology of the same Church fathers, most notably the doctrine of the Trinity.

The Mormons’ belief differs with the Orthodox belief in deification because the Latter-Day Saints believe that the core being of each individual, the “intelligence” which existed before becoming a spirit son or daughter, is uncreated or eternal. Orthodox deification always acknowledges a timeless Creator versus a finite creature who has been glorified by the grace of God. The Mormons are clear promoters of henotheism (2), and the Church Fathers have absolutely no commonality with their view.

(2) Henotheism (Greek εἷς θεός heis theos “one god”) is a term coined by Max Müller, to mean devotion to a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities.[1]


As we see from this ORTHODOXwiki reference, Mormon exaltation is not Christian Theosis but rather Apotheosis and Henotheism. Christian Theosis has to do with becoming more God like, NOT becoming God.

Theosis in the Eastern Orthodox and the protestant sense means to be sanctified, set apart and becoming “holy”. The protestant form of Theosis is expressed by saying that as Christians, we are saved by grace through faith, FROM BOTH the penalty of sin, and the power of sin. We simply do not have to be a slave to sin any longer and through adoption as sons, we may partake in the nature of God if we “walk in the Spirit”. This does not mean however that we become like God ontologically or in position. In contrast, when Jesus says he and His Father are ONE, he is saying he and the father are ONE BEING.

Theosis in eastern orthodox and the early church fathers view was,” salvation from unholiness by participation in the life of God.”


BUT WHAT ABOUT MAC’S QUOTES?? Don’t they show early church father believed in Theosis in the way Mormons do? NO THEY DO NOT.

MAC, other Mormons, and cult mebers in general will quote Pre-Nicene Church Fathers out of context to support their heretical doctrines.

MAC says “St. Athanasius of Alexandria (Eastern Orthodox) wrote, regarding theosis, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God.”


The statement by St. Athanasius of Alexandria, “The Son of God became man, that we might become God”, indicates the concept beautifully. II Peter 1:4 says that we have become ” . . . partakers of divine nature.” Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is “becoming by grace what God is by nature” (De Incarnatione, I). What would otherwise seem absurd, that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy, has been made possible through Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of theosis – it is not possible for any created being to become, ontologically, God or even another god.


CONVENIENTLY MAC fails to tell that Athanasius himself clarified this very thing in his third treatise against the Arians: “To become as the Father is impossible for us creatures.”


So Then MAC quotes a few more Fathers. Lets see if his quoting is faithful to what the Fathers intent was, OR do Mormons intentionally use selective and targeted out of context quoting practices.? The responses to MAC’s quotations are in BLUE

The following quotes come from this post on this blog which contains many quotes showing church fathers did not believe Mormon doctrine.

Did The Early Church Believe Mormon Teac


.” Irenaeus wrote in the late 2nd Century: “we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods”

Irenaeus Against Heresies, (A.D. 190) 1:10:1
For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them…
Ibid., 1:22:1
We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is one almighty God, who formed all things through His Word, and fashioned and made all things which exist out of that which did not exist….
Ibid., 2:1:1
Nor is He moved by anyone; rather, freely and by His Word He made all things. For He alone is God, He alone is Lord, He alone is Creator, He alone is Father, He alone contains all and commands all to exist.
Ibid., 2:11:1

It is easy to demonstrate from the very words of the Lord that He acknowledges one Father, Creator of the world and Fashioner of man, who was proclaimed by the Law and by the Prophets; and that He knows no other, this being God over all.

Ibid., 2:30:9

Of His own accord and by His own power He made all things and arranged and perfected them; and His will is the substance of all things. He alone, then, is found to be God; He alone is omnipotent, who made all things; He alone is Father, who founded and formed all things, visible and invisible, sensible and insensate, heavenly and earthly, by the Word of His Power.

Ibid., 2:34:2

…let them learn that to be without beginning and without end, to be truly and always the same, and to remain ever without change, belongs to God alone, who is Lord of all. All things, however, which are from Him, all that have been made and which will be made, receive each their own beginning of existence; and inasmuch as they are not unbegotten, in this way they are inferior to Him who made them. They perdure, however, and continue through a length of ages, according to the will of God their Maker; for indeed, He makes them to be in the beginning, and afterwards gives them continuance.


Justin Martyr in mid 2nd Century said: “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods,’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest”

Justin, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (A.D. 155), 5
For whatever things exist after God or will at anytime exist, have a corruptible nature, and are such as may be blotted out and no longer exist. God alone is unbegotten and incorruptible, which is why He is God. Everything else after Him is produced and corruptible. 


MAC next two quotes will be in red.

Clement of Alexandria explained “Saints . . pure in heart . . are destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.” 
I could not find any specific quotes of Clement on the nature of God BUT this wikipedia article will shed some light on MAC’s assertion that Clement taught men can become Gods.
Saint Clement of Alexandria 
He united Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine and valued gnosis that with communion for all people could be held by common Christians specially chosen by God.[citation needed] He used the term “gnostic” for Christians who had attained the deeper teaching of the Logos.[1] He developed a Christian Platonism.[2] He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism’s assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.[1]

Like Origen, he arose from Alexandria’s Catechetical School and was well versed in pagan literature.[2] 

Notice that Mormon and Christian differences on the concept of Theosis can be seen in these statements here. He presented the goal of Christian life as deification, identified both as Platonism’s assimilation into God and the biblical imitation of God.[1]

The idea of IMITATION, thus theosis, of God is biblical ,,,, verses, Plato’s’ idea of “assimilation INTO God” which is UNBIBLICAL and from PLATO. 


The Gospel of Thomas (which pre-dates the 4 Gospels, but was considered non-canonical by the Nicene Council) quotes the Savior: “He who will drink from my mouth will become as I am: I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him,” (Gospel of Thomas 50, 28-30, Nag Hammadi Library in English, J.M.Robinson, 1st ed 1977; 3rd ed. 1988)

Well Quoting from a Gnostic Gospel just shows how desperate Mormons are to validate their heretical and damnable doctrine of exaltation. We have Greek manuscripts of the 4 gospels that go back to 50 – 60 ad. The Gospel of Thomas dates around 90 ad. My Mormon uncle liked the Davinci code very much. I guess MAN and all Mormons do.

As with the early church fathers, Mormons will accept what lines up with their preconceptions, But will deny the fundamental tenants of Gnosticism and the Gnostic gospels, just to try and say they are not the only ones who believe that men can become Gods. Actually all occultist think they can become God. Google “occult secret doctrine” and see that Satan has been telling the same old lie that he told in the garden, that men can become gods. BUT the occultist believe Genesis 3:22 and the Luciferian doctrine that occultist draw from it.

Gnostisism denies the reality of ALL MATTER and believe it is an illusion. According to Gnosticism, There are really no humans, mush less any man exalted to Godhood with a physical body that will have physical sex to populate his own physical planet.


Don’t be deceived into thinking he is the only Mormon to use intentional deception. I found this Mormon blogpost in which MAC has commented. Here is the Content of the post. KEEP IN MIND This is a Mormon blog. It shows MAC was lying intentionally.

Reynolds on Orthodox theosis at the NSDC II

October 25, 2008 by Todd Wood Reynolds per Aaron this afternoon, live from Utah:

“The Orthodox notion of theosis is not what some Mormons say it is. It historically refers to imitating God’s energies or becoming like the incarnate Christ, but explicitly reject the idea that we can become like God’s essence”

This is coming from a Mormon AND,,, THE VERY FIRST comment from a Mormon after that typically expresses the popular Mormon Notion. Johndh “I’m aware that the orthodox concept of theosis is different from mine. It doesn’t bug me.”


MR, “Mormons are Christian” and all other Mormons, IT IS NOT ONLY YOUR DOCTRINE that offends Christians and cause us to say Mormons are not Christian. IT IS ALSO the underhanded tactics you all use in arguing your positions. MAC, you knew full well that the Mormon Concept of THEOSIS is NOT what church fathers believed. But Still yet you come to this blog to post your intentional deception.

As we say in the south SHAME ON YA’LL. =========================================================

Here are some related post on this blog.

Did The Early Church Believe Mormon Teac

Mormon Missionaries Instructed in the Ar


Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults



AMENDMENT TO THIS BLOG Since making this blog, the owner of the Mormon blog I referenced, contacted me to inform me that he is NOT A MORMON but rather a Baptist pastor. So I was wrong in the context of my statement that MAC deliberately used deception. Although this does slightly diminish the truthfulness of my statement. It does not change the fact that MAC was still propagating his false Mormon rhetoric of “early Christians believed in Theosis in the same way Mormons do”,,,, in light of the fact that he knew there is an answer for that in the content of the post in which he commented. .

The definitions from the OthrodoxWiki shows conclusively that Mormons do not practice Theosis,,,, but apotheosis and henotheism.






Dispelling Myths about Christianity

Myth #1. Christians think all you have to do is say a little prayer to go to heaven, then you can live like the devil and still be saved.

Fact: Christians do NOT believe this. There is nothing magic about “the prayer.” People who just a say a little prayer to “cover all the bases” are not demonstrating saving faith. True Christians do not believe in what is referred to as “cheap grace” or “easy-believism;” the concept that one can just say a prayer and then go on living a lifestyle of sin. It is true that Christians believe a person praying from the heart, with real intent, asking for salvation, will indeed be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone, and that good works will not add one iota to his salvation. However, they do not use their salvation as an excuse to do wrong.

There is a difference between justification and sanctification. When a person puts their trust completely in Jesus Christ, praying in faith for salvation, he is immediately justified, or put into right standing before God. He has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus is credited to the person’s account. The biblical definition of salvation is being saved from the wrath of God (eternal hell) and living eternally in heaven with God.

Sanctification is a process occurring over time as the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian, purging him of the desires of the flesh. We are sinners by nature, so of course Christians stumble and fall in their walk with the Lord, but they do not make sinful actions a pattern of living. For example, a person claiming to have been born-again who year after year lives with his girlfriend, cheats people in business, doesn’t read the Bible or pray, and consistently lives as the world lives, would need to “examine [himself] as to whether [he] is in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). The Holy Spirit equips a Christian for godly living. As a Christian becomes more mature in his walk with the Lord, he begins to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. His sin begins to bother him and doing what pleases God becomes delicious to him.

What is one of the signs that we have been saved? “And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). The Greek word for “keep” in this context is the same one that sailors used for being guided by the stars. Pastor Adrian Rogers—beloved by millions of Christians and who recently passed away—used the following analogy. He said that sailors in ancient times would chart their course at sea by the stars, so they would know where they were going. There might be occasions when the captain fell asleep at the helm and drifted off-course, but it would not be long before he was able to adjust his direction and arrive at his intended destination.

This practice of navigation was called “keeping the stars.” Likewise, keeping the commandments is similar for a Christian. He may “fall asleep at the helml” (sometimes called backsliding) or occasionally go off course, but If his eyes are upon Jesus and the desire of his heart is to please God, he will arrive safely into heaven’s harbor.

Myth #2. Either the Mormon Church is true or the Catholic Church is true. It could not be the Protestants because they broke off from the Catholic Church.

Fact: Not exactly. The church of Jesus Christ was already established long before the Roman Catholic Church came along. Whenever “church” was referred to in the New Testament, it meant “the called out ones;” it is the Greek “ekklesia.” The Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon explains what “church” has meant from New Testament times onward:

[Church] in a Christian sense. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting., a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake., those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body., the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth., the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven. (Strong, J. 1996. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: electronic edition)

Galatians 3:26-29 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

To rephrase that in modern language, “There is neither Baptist nor Lutheran, Calvary Chapel nor Nazarene, Methodist nor Pentecostal, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Denominations may differ in some regards, but our salvation comes through a saving relationship with Jesus alone. That is what makes us members of His church. The Roman Catholic Church is a man-made institution. It was organized by men and many of its doctrines and practices were made by men. The protestant denominations came out of Catholicism only to get back to what the original church was; the body of believers saved through Christ’s atonement; the priesthood of believers; deriving their authority from the Word of God. (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 12:1; Revelation 1:6)

Myth #3. All the denominations argue about which one of them is right.

Fact: There is no arguing going on. No single denomination claims to be “The True Church” or “The True Denomination” or “The Only Way” through which a person can come to Jesus Christ. A favorite expression among Christians concerning denominations is; “In essentials unity; in non-essentials diversity; in all things charity.” All the Protestant denominations agree on the nature and character of God, who Jesus is, the means of salvation (grace alone by faith alone through Jesus alone), and the inerrancy of the Bible.

When I left Mormonism and began looking for a church to attend, I was surprised at how well the various churches in the area got along. I had been taught as a Latter-day Saint the myth of fighting denominations each trying to gain more members for themselves. I visited several churches of different denominations. Over the ensuing weeks several people I had met called me and said that they hoped I would start coming to their church, but wherever I decided to go their prayers would be with me. When I found a church that was not too much of a culture shock coming out of the Mormon Church, my pastor often said over the pulpit to visitors that he hoped they would make Shadow Hills Baptist Church their home church, however, there were many other good churches in the area that taught sound biblical doctrine. My pastor met monthly with pastors and ministers from several denominations for lunch where they would discuss important issues, pray together, and be supportive of one another. This is not to say that individual fellowships do not have their share of disagreements on occasion, but the over all attitude among the denominations is one of love.

Myth #4. The Bible is missing a bunch of books and is not translated correctly.

The Old Testament we have now is the same one the Jews had in Jesus’ day. Jesus authenticated the Old Testament by quoting from every part of it. There are books mentioned by Old Testament writers, such as the Book of Jasher and the Books of the Wars of the Lord, but that does not mean they were inspired. Jesus did not quote from any of these so-called missing books. The apostle Paul quoted from Greek poets, yet their writings or complete works are not found in the New Testament. From an LDS perspective the Book of Mormon is missing “the sealed portion” and Brigham Young claimed to have seen wagon loads of metal plates and other writings beneath the Hill Cumorah. Does this mean books are missing from the BoM and therefore make it unreliable? A Mormon would say, “No, of course not.” So why set a double standard for the Bible?

The God Who had the power to call forth the universe into existence is certainly powerful enough to preserve His holy word! Hebrew children were immersed in scripture from a young age. In school, the rabbi would place a bit of honey on the child’s tongue before having him memorize scripture so the child would begin to see God’s word is sweet and precious. Scribes committed their whole lives to carefully preserving the word of God. They would painstakingly copy letter for letter and if anything were amiss they would destroy the page and start all over. Everey time they came to God’s name they would get new ink to write it with—that is how much they revered the word of God. There was no such thing as a careless scribe as LDS leaders want you to think.

The Dead Sea scrolls refute the idea that things were taken out and/or added to the Old Testament. For example, the book of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea scrolls was one thousand years older than any manuscript in existence at the time. With only a few variations in spelling, it was correctly transcribed word for word! There are over 5,000 manuscripts in existence today containing all or part of the New Testament. The earliest fragments have been dated to 100-150 A.D.. The manuscripts in other languages combined with the Greek bring the total manuscripts in existence to over a stunning 24,000 in number! The mountain of evidence for the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible is overwhelming. A good book for in-depth information on this topic is The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.

Myth #5. The Council of Nicea is where a bunch of relgious leaders were locked in a room and told they could not come out until they agreed on their ideas about God. They also voted on which books to include in the Bible.

Fact: This myth is utter nonsense. “The facts of history demonstrate, however, that the New Testament was not formed hastily, nor was it formed by the councils. It was the product of centuries of development, and its official ratification came in response to the practical needs of the churches.”

Developments that forced the Church to Establish a Canon: 1) Need for a Scripture to spell out the message of the Apostles, 2) Need to decide on what should be read in the churches, 3) Need for a true canon to answer heretical ones, 4) Need to establish authoritative truth to answer error, 5) Need to decide which of the many books claiming to be canonical were false, 6) Need to decide which books to die for when possession resulted in martyrdom (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history.)

Archaeological evidence now proves that the New Testament books were written by the end of the first century. These books were already circulating among the churches to be read in worship services. Within a short period of time, however, heresies began to creep into the church. Writings started to pop up that were claimed to be authored by some of the apostles (such as the book of Thomas) and other writings were introduced into variuous churches as new revelations. To protect the church (the ekklesia; Christians), a standard had to be set to keep the Scriptures pure. Writings thaat could be proven authentic of the apostles and those close to them were kept. Writings that did not have a basis in truth or had no evidence for their origin as apostolic writings were rejected.

As for the creeds, they formalized what the Bible already revealed about God. The LDS Church puts forth its Thirteen Articles of Faith as a statement of what Mormons believe. The Nicene Creed, Apostolic Creed, and other confessions do the same thing. The creeds are nothing more than statements of faith so Christians everywhere could readily share their beliefs with others.

JUST as the New Testament canon developed in response to a need in the church, so did the creeds. In the days before the canon was formulated and when there were few copies of any of the New Testament books in circulation, believers required some standard to keep them in the path of truth. Moreover, they needed a standard by which to test heretical opinions. So very early, possibly near the end of the first century or beginning of the second, a rule of faith came into existence.

Assuming different forms in different churches, it generally taught that Christ, the Son of God, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died, was buried, rose again, and ascended into Heaven—for the remission of sins. This rule of faith, which has come to be called the Apostles’ Creed, reached its present form about 750. In the early church, candidates for baptism often were asked if they assented to the various clauses of this standard of faith. (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history, electronic version)

It was creeds such as this—the Apostles’ Creed, which clearly laid out Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—that Joseph Smith said were abominations.