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“Each of us has to face the matter-either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.” Gordon B. Hinckley, LDS General Conference, Spring 2003

As Michael Carr noted in his essay “Is the LDS Church the One True Church” (See http://zarahemlacitylimits.com/essays/LosingBelief/one_true_church1.html), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”, the “Mormon Church”, the “LDS Church”) and many other religious faiths promote the idea that their way of approaching god is either the only legitimate way, or the best way.

The “one true church” idea is particularly influential within the Mormon Church. While the Catholics, for example, have that belief on their books, it is my perception that it has little effect on the average Catholic. However, the daily behaviour and worldview of the average faithful Mormon is heavily influenced by this idea.

As I have deconstructed my experience within the Mormon Church, I have tried to understand where this idea comes from and how it has affected me. For the moment, however, I wish to focus on one small, but important, aspect of this issue. That is, why would the “one true church” idea be of value to religious leaders who are trying to persuade their followers to continue to follow?

I began to wonder about this question years ago when I noticed the frequency with which Church members and leaders repeated to each other what I have come to call the “one true church mantra”. That is, “The Church is true.” This is shorthand within the Mormon community for the concept that the Mormon Church is god’s one and only true church on the face of the earth – the sole organization with god’s authority to perform the ordinances necessary to unite families in the hereafter and to gain entry into god’s domain, known as the celestial kingdom.

The one true church mantra is repeated regularly when Mormons gather. It is included in virtually every talk or lesson given during Mormon meetings, including the daily religious instruction that most Mormon teenagers receive through the Seminary program. Church members are taught that it should be included each time they state their beliefs (known in the LDS community as “bearing testimony”), and hence it is repeated by virtually everyone (including small children) who bears testimony at the monthly meetings held by Mormon congregations for that purpose. Mormon families are encouraged to bear this testimony to each other at family gatherings, including weekly Family Home Evenings and during the daily scripture study sessions that they are encouraged to hold. It is at least the subtext, if not the text, of many daily family prayers. It regularly finds its place into correspondence between close friends and family members. To test my instinct in that regard, I just opened the family letter that I received from my father and mother this morning, and found their testimony stated both implicitly and explicitly. The one true church mantra also plays a role in Mormon music, and must be stated as a belief by anyone who wishes to enter a Mormon temple, even for the purpose of simply attending the wedding of a family member. Most mormon missionaries express their testimony, including the belief that the Church is “true”, many times a day throughout the course of their missionary service. Etc. It is beyond doubt that great resources within the Mormon community are devoted to hammering this idea into the collective and individual Mormon psyche.

My study of sociology over the years has led me to conclude that when a message of this sort is given a prominent place within a group of people that it must play an important function. That function is often quite different from what those inside the organization, with a limited view of how it affects them, might think. It took me years, and a trip outside of the Mormon Church, to put my finger on the one true church idea’s function.

It is my view that the “one true church” concept sets up a false dichotomy that makes it easier for religious leaders to control their followers. For example, if the Mormon Church is either 100% god’s true church, or a fraud, and I have a good feeling about some of my experience with it, does that not mean that the rest (about which I don’t have a good feeling) must all be true? Does this not mean that I must give complete obedience to Church authorities, even though some of what they tell me to do makes me feel uneasy, or even bad? Does it not mean that some theory yet to be discovered, or one of the current crop that appear to have miniscule probability of predicting reality, must eventually save the day on the Book of Mormon’s historicity and the multitude of other “reality” problems the Church’s foundational stories have? In these and other ways, the one true church idea greatly aids the Mormon faithful to make the willing suspension of disbelief required to remain faithful.

The “black v. white” approach at the heart of the one true church concept also facilitates the Church’s system of conversion and belief maintenance. Church members and potential converts are told to read the Book of Mormon and that they will have a good feeling about it. This may occur simply because the Book of Mormon has some good things to say. In my case, which is typical, the process was helped along by the fact that most of my Mormon friends and relatives regularly told me that they had these good feelings, while for some reason I had not. This created an anxiety in me that grew over a period of years, and became acute as the time for me to commit to serve a mission approached, and my friends were making that commitment.

I accepted the idea that the Church must be completely true or completely false. I had been taught that from early childhood, and did not have a frame of reference within which I could question it. I also felt some good things when I read the Book of Mormon, and my anxiety started to dissipate as I experienced the nascent feeling that the book was “true”. The psychologists and brain architecture researchers tell us that the combination of the above elements is enough to create a minor epiphany, which is how I would describe the moment at which I was struck by the realization that the whole thing MUST BE TRUE! This experience became the unshakable bedrock on which my testimony stood. And how could the whole thing be false if I have felt something so good about it? That part can’t be false. And from there the true – false dichotomy led me to the conclusion that the whole thing must be true. The Church then encouraged me to express this belief, in the form of my testimony, on a regular basis in the fashion described above. This drilled my newfound belief deep into my subconscious. It is my view that the primary function of the LDS missionary program is just that: to engrain as deeply as possible the one true church mantra in the group of people traditionally the most likely to question the values of any group – young males.

And what about belief and its connection to guilt and from there to control? If the whole thing is true, then I am subject to a massive body of requirements each one of which is a source of guilt, and hence a control lever. If I feel at liberty to believe what I choose, most of my guilt goes away, and with it goes most of the Church’s ability to get me to do what it wants.

During my twenty-year plus tenure as a Mormon leader, I heard the terms “cafeteria style Mormons” or “cultural Mormons” used pejoratively to refer to members of the LDS Church who were not as obedient to leadership dictates as the leaders wished them to be. Such members are not as dedicated, obedient etc. as their “faithful” peers, and the leaders fear that such a lax attitude could spread like a form of cancer. This scares the leadership, as do intellectuals who talk openly about problems related to the Book of Mormon’s historicity and certain distasteful aspects of Joseph Smith’s history. In particular, the leaders fear those Mormons who are prepared to accept that the Book of Mormon contains some inspired writing, but that Joseph Smith made many mistakes while writing it that they are free to reject. If members of the Church feel free to reject some of what Joseph Smith said, they will surely feel free to reject the parts of what current leaders say that do not suit them. This is what the leaders most fear. This approach is a much greater threat to Church leadership than are rabid anti-Mormons.

Cultural Mormons do not do what they are told unless it makes sense, and hence they erode leadership authority. And if they are natural leaders, their attitudes are likely to affect the masses. The sheppard (if not the flock) is better off without such sheep. Hence when they are identified, they must at a minimum be silenced (as long as you are silent, you will be left alone but perhaps watched carefully), but preferably brought back into line. Those who will not get back into line are excommunicated, or as was the case with me, hand in their membership when talk of a “court of love” being held in their honour becomes serious.

To test the sensibility of the black v. white approach, try to think of any other aspect of life in which it would serve us well as a decision making model. Do we accept all of what any school of political thought tells us? How about parenting or child rearing theory? Relationship theory? Educational theory? Economics? Medicine? I cannot think of any other aspect of life in which I would be comfortable accepting the ideas that come from a single source as being my sole guide. Religious belief, in my life, had been established as a unique phenomenon, respecting which all of the rules that governed the remainder of my life were suspended. My acceptance of the one true church concept is what made this possible.

The one true church concept broke down for me as I became aware of numerous other religious belief systems that controlled their followers in precisely the way I was controlled by mine, using the same tools. The theories accepted by these communities were contradictory to those accepted in my community. However, the nature of leadership control was much the same. For many years, I assumed that against all odds my community had the truth and all others were mistaken. As I gradually became aware of the errors that Mormon leadership had made over the years, the lights began to come on. My community was as errant as the others. But, the leaders of my community had much in common with the other religious leaders for whom I had been taught to have disdain. And Mormonism’s current leaders were the ones who set up the system designed to keep faithful Mormons, such as me, from understanding their own religious heritage through its history, and hence from understanding the nature of the errors Mormon leaders have made. Guess toward whom the disdain I was taught to have has now been turned?

Here is a more extensive quote from President Hinkley’s talk that is referred to above. There is nothing unusual about it. Countless others of a similar nature could be found. I use this one because it is the most recent I could find.

The book of Revelation declares: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). …

Each of us has to face the matter – either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.

This is classic scare/control message, particularly when linked to the rest of LDS dogma in the manner indicated above. It is my view that Church and how it operates make the most sense when viewed through a control/authority paradigm. As soon as I began to use that paradigm to try to understand how the Church has influenced me, things came into focus and I was able to both find the threads that unite my past experience and predict with a high probability of success where things were headed. The “one true church” idea is near the foundation of the LDS control and authority oriented system of religious belief.

As one writer I recently read put it, the question is whether we have religious faith, or whether religious faith has us. If we are well enough informed about what our faith is and how it works in our lives to use it to help us live a full and joyous life, then we have religious faith. If, on the other hand, our beliefs are used by others to control us, then our faith has us. Those others need not be current religious leaders. It is possible to surrender our free will to people who wrote books thousands of years ago that purport to tell us what we should do, or even to abstractions of our own invention.

I have resolved to do what I can to ensure that from now on I have faith, instead of being had by it.

http://zarahemlacitylimits.com/essays/one_true_church.html

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20 TRUTHS ABOUT MORMONISM
@
http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html

Because my uncle is a Mormon Bishop, I have visited hundreds of sites that he would call “ANTI-MORMON” to study Mormonism. I was buying books and video on Mormonism before I had a computer. But this site has to be one of the top 20 sites on Mormonism.

The site is owned my a former Mormon. Mormons will say he is just a disgruntled ex-member who has an axe to bear. But even though he was born to Mormon parents. He was NOT born disgruntled with Mormonism. Obviously it was his experience with Mormonism that disgruntled him.

BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BEST FOR YOU TO SEE THE WHOLE SITE. And it is way to big to do even a series of post on. He has a page for each 20 truths about Mormonism. At a later date I may consider posting each page one at a time in a very long series. But if you interested in good material on Mormonism, I highly recommend this site.

Below is the Index, Introduction page and The owners testimony page.

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Introduction
1. Book of Abraham
2. Kinderhook Plates
3. Plagiarism
4. Polygamy
5. Emotionality
6. Changing Doctrine
7. False Prophecies
8. Lying for the Lord
9. Treasure Hunt
10. Blood Atonement
11. Vain Ambitions
12. Defections
13. BOM Changes
14. BOM Population
15. Lamanite DNA
16. Critics Squelched
17. Black Prejudice
18. Nephi or Moroni?
19. Archeology
20. First Vision

Observations
My Story
Resources

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Introduction

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

“Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize To which mortals or Gods can aspire; Go search in the depths where it glittering lies Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies. ‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.” – John Jacques (LDS convert in 1845)

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man” – Bertrand Russell

“Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.” – T. H. Huxley

The desire for truth has been my only motivation in creating this website. I have compiled this information in a sincere effort to explore the validity of the claim that the LDS church is the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” (D&C 1:30) In so doing, I’ve tried to be objective and fair by including both my concerns and what I consider to be the strongest responses to those concerns by church apologists.

Based on this information, it is my conclusion that the LDS church is not the “only true church”. Having grown up and devoutly believed in the church for many years, I’ve decided to no longer be a part of it. I believe the truths cited herein clearly show that the church has misled its members as to the character of its founding leaders, the veracity of its doctrines, and the divinity of its origin.

Are illusions sometimes beneficial? I think so. I have no problem with my young children believing in Santa Claus right now; the belief fills them with hope and excitement. At the same time, as they mature I expect them to realize the myth for what it is and set it aside accordingly. I view the Mormon myth in the same light; it provides hope and direction for some people. However, like any myth it can also be a source of misinformation which leads to unhappiness.

If you are truly happy and fulfilled as a Mormon, perhaps there is no reason for you to read further. However, if you find your spiritual growth has stagnated and want to learn more about the origins of the Mormon church and what that implies for your own journey, read on.

Jim Day, Ph.D.

http://trialsofascension.net/mormon.html
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My Story

I grew up in the LDS church and have ancestors that go back to the early days of Mormonism. One of them was even a bodyguard for Joseph Smith 🙂 I was born and raised in Utah, but have lived in Texas for the past decade.

I served a mission in New South Wales, Australia from 1985-1987. In 1989 I graduated from BYU, and went on to graduate school in Texas. I have two small children that mean the world to me.

For most of my life, I had a strong testimony that the LDS church was “true” based on various spiritual experiences. I served in positions of responsibility, including being a counselor in a bishopric for 5 years. I believe the church was good for me in some ways, given the focus on principles such as family, service, integrity, and healthy living.

However, a couple of years ago I took a step back. At that point I had passed all the Mormon milestones and it only remained for me to “endure to the end” to ensure my exaltation. But I felt like my spiritual progress had stagnated. I was no longer growing, there was a general spiritual malaise, and I was bored with the pace of the Mormon hamster wheel. I was unsatisfied with the black and white lenses through which I saw the world, compared to the beautiful colors that I now appreciate. I found myself looking at other church members who seemed content, and realized that I didn’t want to stay in that rut for the rest of my life. The church was no longer meeting my needs.

This gave me some breathing room. Some Mormons may conclude that my motivation was due to a desire for sin, or because I was offended by someone. None of those things is true. My only motivation has been the desire to know the truth.

I wrote the following poem, which conveys the confusion, growth, and ultimate enlightenment resulting from my journey:

As a Child
As a child, it seemed so simple;
Every step was clearly marked.
Priesthood, mission, sweetheart, temple;
Bright with hope I soon embarked.
But now I have become a man,
And doubt the promise of the plan.

For the path is growing steeper,
And a slip could mean my death.
Plunging upward, ever deeper,
I can barely catch my breath.
Oh, where within this untamed wild
Is the star that led me as a child?

As I crest the shadowed mountain,
I embrace the endless sky;
The expanse of heaven’s fountain
Now unfolds before my eye.
A thousand stars shine on the land,
The chart drafted by my own hand.

I made a deliberate decision to open my eyes. I felt that the sincere pursuit of truth was more important to me than anything else. So I began to question everything. Were my spiritual experiences merely self-created emotional experiences, because I wanted to believe? Or were they perhaps genuine experiences from God that I had misconstrued as evidence for the authenticity of the LDS church? Is there really a God? Is there life after death? Was Jesus more than just a great teacher? And what about all the “Anti-Mormon” rhetoric I had encountered in the past? I had always brushed it off as the product of people with a personal agenda for converting me to their idea of truth. I had found it fairly easy to dismiss the points people had raised to me in the past. But now I really wanted to know if there was any substance to those concerns. I wanted to know if the LDS church was in fact the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased.” (D&C 1:30)

So I created this website. It covers what I consider to be pivotal questions regarding the church’s history, authority, and doctrine. I have tried to be objective in this process, and have collected information from all sources, both pro and con. I have given the Mormon church every opportunity to address these concerns. However, based on the strong evidence presented here, I ultimately decided to leave the church.

I have shared with my former church leaders that a “spiritual witness” is not sufficient to restore me to the church at this point. I have had many such witnesses in the past, and am no longer willing to trust them at the exclusion of my intellect. However, it’s not my intention to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Although I no longer “know” there is a God, I hope there is. I feel that I am following the pathway of truth, and am willing to go wherever it takes me. I can genuinely say that I am more integrated, more at peace, and happier in my life today than ever before.

Have you ever seen The Matrix? Like Neo, I have finally answered the phone and awakened to the real world. It’s not the utopia I thought it was, but at least my eyes are open. This is an exciting time. I feel like I’m growing again!

I hope that the information presented here is helpful to you in your own personal journey toward truth. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me.

http://trialsofascension.net/mormon/story.html

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JOSEPH SMITH’S FIRST VISION AND THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING IT

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Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness [sic] of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by, is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and his Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life. (Quote from LDS President Hinckley, at the world-wide General Conference on October 4, 1998 by the Church News, October 10, 1998, page 17.)

Contrary to the above statement, a study of the history of the early years of the LDS church reveals that during the first twelve years of their existence nobody knew anything at all about what is now known as “the official version” of the first vision, where God had supposedly talked with Joseph Smith. Instead Mormons were told that Joseph Smith’s first vision concerned an angel and the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. For that reason their focus was on the Book of Mormon. The “Messenger and Advocate,” the principle LDS publication during that period, never mentioned a first vision from God the Father and his Son.

There are presently nine known different versions of Joseph Smith’s first vision. And these are not minor variations of the same basic story that could be explained away. They are different stories. The differences include his age at the time, where he was when he had the vision, how many beings he saw, whether they were angels or deity, and what was actually said to him. Moreover, one of the versions that was written in his own handwriting contradicts the official version featured in the Pearl of Great Price. Evidence reveals that he changed his story radically each time he retold it, until it finally evolved to what the LDS now calls the “official version.”

The fact that he couldn’t stick to the same basic story indicates that he wasn’t telling the truth. If he’d genuinely had this incredible vision, it would have been indelibly printed on his mind. For instance, he wouldn’t have been confused as to whether it was a single angel who had appeared to him or whether both God the Father and His Son had appeared to him together, and so on. Nor would he have been confused as to whether he’d had the vision in his bedroom or in a grove.

Although some of the earlier versions of his first vision were known by the early LDS church, Mormon literature reveals that up until 1838, eighteen years after the event was supposed to have taken place, not a single soul had heard of the official version that they believe in today. It was news to everyone. Not even Smith’s own family had heard of it. We know that the story he told his mother bore little resemblance to it.

Most Mormons are unaware of the fact that for the first twelve years of their church’s existence, i.e. right up until twenty-two years after his supposed first vision, Joseph Smith led the LDS in the worship of the trinitarian deity. Then on the strength of his newly revealed vision (that was supposed to have happened twenty-two years before), he persuaded them to abandon his previous teachings in favour of his revolutionary, man-centred doctrine of eternal progression, that described God as being a man of flesh and bone, who had once needed salvation from sin. His latest version of the controversial vision fitted his new doctrines as if it had been tailor-made for them. But, as previously mentioned, it is invalidated by an earlier, completely different story, recorded in his own handwriting.

In the official version of his first vision Smith says that he’d had no idea that all of the religious sects were wrong. But in the earlier version written in his own handwriting in 1832, he maintained that he’d been an avid reader of the Bible from the age of twelve, and that by the time he’d reached fifteen years of age he’d come to understand, solely through his own studies of the scriptures, that all the Christian denominations were wrong. Furthermore, he only mentioned one being appearing to him, who identified Himself as the Lord who was crucified, in other words, Christ. (c/f “The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith” by Dean C. Jessee, Salt Lake Deseret Books, page 14).

His mother traces the origin of Mormonism to a visit to his bedroom by an angel, who told him that none of the churches were true. (First draft of Lucy Smith’s History, page 46, LDS Church Archives).

Yet another differing version was published in 1834-35 in the periodical, “Latter-day Saints Messenger and Advocate,” Volume 1, pages 42, and 78-79, that was written by his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, assisted by Joseph Smith. This indicates that Smith had dictated it to Cowdery as he wrote it down, which was the way they had worked. It tells of a revival in 1823 that caused the then 17 year old Joseph to become concerned about religion. He wanted to know for himself the certainty and reality of pure and holy religion and prayed that if a supreme being did exist, he would have an assurance of being accepted by him and a manifestation that his sins were forgiven. He said it was then that he had his “first vision,” when an angel appeared to him in his bedroom to tell him that his sins were forgiven. But this account has nothing in common with the official version.

JOSEPH SMITH, THE MAN

It is a well recorded fact that Joseph Smith came from a family of occultists and that he was deeply involved in both the occult and spiritism. He was a persuasive orator and was also a known confidence trickster. Before his LDS days he would convince his victims that for a cash consideration he would be able to divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure through the use of an occultic peep stone. But the hidden treasure never ever materialized.

Because of complaints about his fraudulent activities he was formally charged and found guilty in a court of law. The relevant court records are still in existence. There are also affidavits that confirm his dubious ways of earning a living, as well as his involvement in the occult. The LDS’s excuses that these records are all counterfeits, and that everybody keeps on making up lies about their prophet and founder because the true church is always persecuted, just do not hold water.

THE METHODIST CHURCH

In his official version of his first vision, Joseph Smith maintains that he was persecuted by all the churches in his area because of his claim to have had this vision. However, Orsemus Turner, an apprentice printer in Palmyra until 1822, had belonged to the same juvenile debating club that Smith had frequented. He recalled that “after catching a spark of Methodism, Joseph became a very passable exhorter in evening meetings” (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase, 1851, page 214).

Furthermore, in June, 1828, eight years after he had maintained that God had told him in this first vision that he should not join any of the churches because they were all wrong and that their teachings were an abomination in His sight, he nevertheless joined the probationary class of the Methodist Church.

At this stage the subject of his bad reputation was raised by one of the church members. The Minister had a talk to him, pointing out that his questionable way of earning a living and his involvement in the occult were contrary to what the church stood for. Nevertheless they were prepared to keep him in membership provided he confessed his misdemeanours, repented and promised to reform. He was given the choice of either appearing before a committee to clarify his intentions, or of formally requesting that his name be removed from their membership list. He asked for his name to be taken off their list.

It is quite clear from the above that he was not persecuted by the churches of the day. Instead, the opposite was the truth. He deliberately and voluntarily separated himself from the Christian churches for the sole reason that he was unwilling to give up the unethical type of lifestyle to which he was so strongly drawn.

Smith’s participation in their mid week evening meetings and his joining the Methodist church utterly destroys the validity of his so-called first vision that he claimed to have had eight years previously. Furthermore, it leaves us with the firm conviction that his story of having had a vision was just another one of his many deceptions.

As a matter of interest, he never did give up his old practices. It is common knowledge that he used the same occultic seer stone that he had used in his treasure seeking scams to enable himself to write the Book of Mormon, as well as to receive so-called “revelations from God” during the time that he was leading the church. Furthermore, when he died he had an occultic talisman coin in his pocket, which was claimed by his mother as he’d always carried it on his person and she wanted to keep it in remembrance of him.

Mormons need to bear in mind that the Bible groups the occult in the same category as witchcraft, spiritism and idolatry, as they are all influenced by deceiving spirits.

PERSECUTION

The following is an extract from Smith’s History in the Pearl of Great Price, written approximately twenty years or so after the supposed events:
“I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects, all united to persecute me.” Joseph Smith – History 1:22).

Common sense tells us that if a mere boy had been persecuted as bitterly as he claims he had been for having had a vision from God, the local newspapers would have made some mention of it at the time. It’s the sort of thing that the press thrives upon. But there is no record anywhere, not even in Mormon publications, either of this supposed vision or of any persecution arising because of it. Nor is there any evidence whatsoever that Smith had ever related the official version of his first vision to anyone at all, not even to his nearest and dearest.

The LDS publications, “Dialogue,” Autumn 1966, pages 30-31 and “Saints’ Herald,” June 29, 1959, page 21 both confirm that there had been no knowledge of the official version of his first vision until eighteen years later. Furthermore, pages 30-34 of “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought,” Autumn 1966, reveal that the general church membership did not receive any information about it until the 1840’s, a full twenty years after the supposed event.

LDS STATEMENTS ABOUT THE FIRST VISION

Mormon Apostle Hugh B. Brown declared:
“The First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith constitutes the groundwork of the Church which was later organized. If this First Vision was but a figment of Joseph Smith’s imagination, then the Mormon Church is what its detractors declare it to be — a wicked and deliberate imposture” (“The Abundant Life,” pages 310-311). (Italics inserted by author.)

LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
“Mormonism as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an imposter cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures. ” (LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, 1954, page 188. (The author’s italics)

But Joseph Smith’s many, varying versions of his first vision are filled with contradictions and his doctrines do not stand up to the light of God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Furthermore, Mormonism itself is full of contradictions, i.e. the Book of Mormon contradicts Smith’s revelations in Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the Pearl of Great Price, and they all contradict the Bible. Also, Smith taught Mormons to worship two different Gods at different periods in their history. They worshipped the eternal spirit God of the trinitarian deity for the first twelve years, yet today they ridicule that teaching and worship an exclusively Mormon God of flesh and bone, who was once a sinner. If that isn’t a contradiction, then what is it? Furthermore, Smith’s Book of Abraham has been unanimously declared to be fraudulent by every Egyptologists who has examined it. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. How much more evidence is necessary?

The following links will take you to articles discussing Joseph Smith’s false prophecies, the various Gods worshipped by the LDS during their early history, and his fraudulent “Book of Abraham”:

Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet

The Mormon Gods, Past and Present

The Book of Abraham and its Rejection by Egyptologists

Copyright 2007, by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/1vis.html

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Anti-Mormon: The Mormon N-Word
By Bill McKeever

Speaking at its annual conference held in Detroit in July 2007, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called on the American public and the entertainment industry to stop using the “N-Word.” Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick added, “Today we’re not just burying the N-word, we’re taking it out of our spirit.” I applaud this effort, and with it I offer my own challenge to Mormons everywhere to bury their own infamous “N-word,” that being the word “anti-Mormon.”

As with the word “nigger,” the word “anti-Mormon” is meant to be nothing more than an ugly pejorative. It is usually slapped on anyone who questions or disagrees with the teachings of the LDS faith and implies that the perceived critic is somehow “against” (anti) Mormons (as individuals). I’m certainly not against Mormons; in fact, I personally feel I have something better to offer them than what they already claim to have. Technically, that makes me “pro-Mormon,” though I admit I am against Mormonism.

Far too many Mormons automatically assume that Christians who wish to challenge LDS presuppositions are somehow motivated by hate. Such an assumption seems to be borne more out of laziness on the part of the accuser rather than the result of critical thinking skills. It is easy to accuse someone of hatred; after all, that word gets a lot of mileage in our dumbed-down culture. The intellectually indolent person somehow feels no need to evaluate what has been said once he has successfully assassinated a person’s character. However, when Mormons flippantly throw down the hate card, they certainly run the risk of bearing false witness.

I would be the first to admit that this disparaging label had some real meaning during the early and mid-1800’s, but it certainly does not fit the great majority of people Mormon apologists have attached it to in modern days. Articles from LDS apologetic groups such as FAIR and FARMS (now the Neal Maxwell Institute) are peppered with this word, sometimes to the point of monotony. The irony is that while such organizations desperately want to be recognized for their “scholarship,” they fail to realize that true scholarly material tends to refrain from such ad hominem. This behavior has not gone unnoticed by those known for their thoughtful contributions to this subject. In their book Mormon America, Richard and Joan Ostling note, “The FARMS team is particularly shrill in its rhetoric, an odd pose for an organization that seeks to win intellectual respectability for the church. All too often Saints use the label ‘anti-Mormon’ as a tactic to forestall serious discussion” (p. 376).

Modern Mormons who equate questions and disagreement with persecution need to do some serious rethinking. In my opinion, Mormons who lump those who challenge the truth claims of Mormonism with the persecutions of the past actually bring dishonor to the Mormon pioneers who truly suffered. Considering what some of the early Mormons went through, I am sure they would view with contempt a modern Mormon who whines about being “persecuted” simply because someone challenged their faith.

Thankfully, some Mormon thinkers disagree with fellow members and have chosen to refrain from using this unnecessary language. They recognize that even though some folks have sharp theological disagreements with Mormonism, their purpose is not at all to bring harm to the LDS people. “Anti-Mormon” is an overused moniker that needed to be jettisoned long ago, and I call on every Mormon to bury their own “N-word,” once and for all.

http://www.mrm.org/topics/miscellaneous/anti-mormon-the-mormon-n-word

 

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THE APOSTASY IS A MORMON FALLACY

Records reveal that Joseph Smith joined the Methodist church in June, 1828, eight years after the date that he later claimed he’d received a vision from God instructing him not to join any of the churches (mentioning the Methodist church by name), as they were all corrupt and their teachings were an abomination in His sight,

After he had joined the Methodist church, the Minister was informed about Smith’s bad reputation, as well as his involvement in the occult. (He had earned his living by promising to divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure, which never ever materialized.) He discussed this with Joseph, explaining that these activities were against everything that the church stood for. However, he was told that he could remain in membership provided that he repented and convinced the church board that he would change his ways. But if he was not prepared to do this, he would be required to formally resign from the Methodist church. Rather than give up the unethical type of lifestyle to which he was so strongly drawn, Joseph chose to resign.

Within two years he had started up his own church (the LDS), claiming that the Christian church had become apostate shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles, and that God had appointed him, as His latter-day prophet, to restore the true church.

Contrary to Joseph Smith’s claims, there has always been a remnant of faithful believers.

Ever since the inception of the Christian church they have been subjected to ongoing persecution, as well as attacks by false prophets, false teachers and the like. But history records a long line of Christian martyrs who have embraced sacrifice, suffering, torture and death rather than compromise their biblical beliefs. And it is a fact that Christians are still being persecuted and martyred today in various places in the world, for the same reason.

The Bible itself clearly disproves the LDS’s completely unsubstantiated claim that the early Christian church went into total apostasy shortly after the death of Christ’s apostles. Firstly, it teaches that the great apostasy will occur right at the very end times, shortly before the second coming of Christ, and will herald the appearance of the anti-Christ, who will display himself as God in the Jewish temple. That time hasn’t arrived yet, as the Jews still have to rebuild their temple.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, KJV)

Secondly, Christ made the following promises concerning His body of followers (i.e. His church):

… upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18, KJV).

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20, KJV)

….. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20, KJV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-29, KJV)

….. I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16, KJV) (Italics by author)

….. I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. ….. I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world … (Revelation 3:8, 10, KJV)

Thirdly, one of the themes that runs steadfastly throughout the Bible is that God has always kept a remnant of faithful believers. The following are some of the scriptures that bear this out:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18, KJV)

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.(Isaiah 1:9, KJV).

And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16, KJV).

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. (Romans 9:27, KJV)

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5, KJV)

Fourthly, shortly before his martyrdom, the apostle Peter warned the church against false prophets and false teachers, but then he went on to assure them that God always providentially protects those who are His own, against temptation and apostasy:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1, KJV)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations ….. (2 Peter 2:9, KJV)

In his book “The Trail of Blood,” Dr. J. M. Carroll traces the martyrs of the church of Jesus Christ from its inception right up to the present times.

Then too, history also records that there always has been a faithful remnant who refused to compromise. Many of them paid for this privilege with their own blood.

The LDS church cites many of the practices of Catholicism as proof that the church of Jesus Christ had gone into total apostasy. However, they are wrongly tarring everyone with the same brush. Roman Catholicism does not represent Christendom. What about the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church that history so clearly records were cruelly persecuted by the Roman Catholic church? What about Catholicism’s infamous, cruel and bloody inquisitions? History reveals that faithful Christians have been persecuted, tortured and killed for refusing to compromise the gospel throughout the ages, right up to this present moment in time. Remember all the burnings at the stakes in England, of Christians who refused to recant their biblical beliefs and who remained faithful even in the face of torture and death by burning?

Fox’s Book of Martyrs, still in print, should be a graphic eye-opener to members of the LDS church regarding the faithful remnant of Christ’s true church. Mormons are encouraged to read this book, if they can bear to do so.

There has always been a faithful remnant of the church of Jesus Christ. And don’t be confused by numbers. The Lord Jesus said:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14, KJV)

Copyright 2007, by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/apos.html

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