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Have you ever heard that phrase “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” before?

If You have,,, it is most likely that you heard it from a cult member or cult group. ALL cults say they are the “one true Church” (referred to as OTC hereafter). All cults have 3 things in common. 1. The all have distorted teachings about God, specifically Jesus and the Trinity. 2. They all employ a teaching and culture of legalism. And while they may give lip service to “salvation by grace”, they apply a system of salvation by works. 3. They all claim to be “The ONE TRUE CHURCH” !

This idea of the OTC among cults is expressed in many ways, some of them very ambiguously and not always clearly understood by the folks that hear the assertions. The claim to be the OTC by cults, and the many different ways that say or imply it,, is generally called Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism being defined as “Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom” (1).

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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6o6KW02w7Q

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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa-hebt8MO8

Most of the information in this article is taken from the sources footnoted.

Restorationism is the claim that the Christian Church fell away from the truths of Jesus and the NT apostles and had to be “RESTORED” to it’s NT state and practice. The whole Christian church had become apostate and non-existent, is their claim. But this allegation is pure folly and uninformed speculation. This is also in total contrast and contradiction to the idea of “REFORM” and the protestant reformation.

The main influence and emphasis of the Restoration Movement of the Cambellite’s and their subsequent offsping religions of the “restorationist” that followed and was spawned from them, is seriously flawed and based on the false assumption that the true Christian Church had been wiped clean from the face of the earth (needing to be completely restored) and that Gods promises about his church and word are not true. In the face of much persecution and attempts to abolish God’s church and word from the face of the earth, there has always been at least a large remnant of true believers and members of the incorporeal and invisible church of God. “’Restorationism’ is based on a belief called the Great Apostasy, that traditional Christianity has departed so far from the original Christian principles that it is not redeemable.” (2)

The bible contains these promises about itself and Jesus’s Church.

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http://www.mormondoctrine.net/testimonies/five_courageous_women.htm

How much Mormon frustration is projection against the LDS church itself?

Does This Describe You? You’re Not Alone….

I asked a question on an internet discussion board. (CARM)

I sometimes wonder if Mormons who get the most upset at LDS critics are genuinely and subconsciously upset at the “system” because they know that they’re just not measuring up {to LDS standards}?

I don’t expect true-believing Mormons to respond with friendly tone because they have wives and kids to think about. For them to say anything negative about the “church” might be tantamount to divorce or losing a job.

What about ex-Mormons?

When you were still LDS, what happened when you were met with “anti-Mormon” tracts? Why did you get mad? What happened that caused you to feel upset… even when you knew that what the “anti” was saying was true?

(Hey, I’m no psychiatrist nor sociologist. I’ve been thinking lately that the ones who get the most angry might be closer to God than they think. Just musing… or molting.)

Libs responds:

You’re molting? Ewww, messy.

You know, Russ, when I first came to CARM, I was really angry at the things I read, because I thought they were out and out lies. Now, I still think there are things that come up, fairly often, that are not exactly accurate, but for the most part, not lies. After I did some looking around on my own and discovered a LOT of the claims against the church and the prophets were true… then, I really got upset. Angry, fearful, distressed, and finally, very sad. Still makes me sad, at times. And angry, at times.

Sounds to me as if Libs got upset because she found out she was being lied to by her own “church.” Who can blame such a one? Sorry for molting on your computer monitor. 🙂

Magdalena responds:

I think I got angry because at least a part of it rang true, and that put me in a tough spot. You’re supposed to defend the church with everything you have. I was angry at having to defend things that I was doubting on some level. And when you’ve been taught that your eternal salvation hangs in the balance, that can be crazy-making.

The more I learned, the less I could defend. And I was angry at the Mormon church for putting me and other people in that position.

How ridiculous is it to expect people to defend someone who chased young girls, married already married women and lied to his own wife about it? This was supposed to be a prophet? I don’t think so.

The list of ridiculous things you’re supposed to defend is very long. If you don’t, you’re accused of not having enough faith. Well you need to be smart about where you put your faith. I wasted a lot of time and energy defending things that weren’t from God. And that did make me upset.

Sounds to me as if Magdalena was upset that she could no longer defend the indefensible. Sounds like she was frustrated at being lied to… and finally… enough is enough.

Justjo responds:

I was angry because I thought the “anti’s” were just lying, the more I found what they said was true, the angrier I got because of fear… fear as Magdalena said, loosing one’s salvation, loosing the progression one has already made and having to start over again if I left and I was wrong in doing so and had to go back. Angry that the org’s best answers at the time was people who have question lack faith, and Mormons know what God thinks of those who lack faith! Then, to actually leave and hear rumors that you left because of some great sin, you couldn’t live the high standards of the org (who the heck really can!?), or I was angry with someone in the org (as if that would be a reason to leave “the only true church”)… that was what made me angry the most!

As Shawn McCraney said… they were right! “I am a sinner, probably the lowest of the low!” But, name me one Mormon who isn’t. HELLOOOOO!!! I live a higher standard being away from the org than I did in it. Why? Because I am not trying to be something I am not…. perfect. Last but not least… who hasn’t been angry at someone else? Do you leave your faith because of that? SERIOUSLY….

Boy Russ… you must have hit a sore spot in me… LOL…. here… let me vent… tell you what I really think and how I really feel about it…

Yes, the more of God’s truth I found, the angrier I got, and the louder I spewed against those who spoke out against my Mormon religion…

Oh my heck! Sounds to me like Justjo was angry at being guilt-tripped into thinking she’d loose her salvation if she dared to question “Joseph.”

MistyAnn0414 responds:

I think I was upset because I felt I was being “picked on”. I was taught that this was the only true church, and the so called “persecution” was proof of it. I can remember going to the Hill Cumorah pageant, seeing the protesters and thinking very unChristian thoughts about them. I never once thought that maybe there was someone there who just wanted to share Jesus Christ with me. I thought I knew it all, that I had the whole truth. I believed that the people who spoke out against the church were only going on the limited knowledge they had, believing the lies they read in books, and heard from their pastors. You know to this day I have never been in a church where the pastor even mentioned Mormonism. It all came down to fear. I was afraid to go there, to take that step. I knew things didn’t feel right or add up. I just didn’t know what I would do without the church.

Sounds to me that MistyAnn found out that it’s okay to question Joseph and that Christians aren’t necessarily out to merely attack Mormons, but are rather asking Mormons to seriously examine what their “church” is asking them to believe.

Mishamari responds:

I was angry at the institution’s methods because I had been lied to. Milk before meat y’know. I was angry at myself because I was so naive’ and trusting, angry because I was out so much money… I overpaid tithing and when tax time came around I couldn’t get it back. I was sad too, that my loved ones bought into a lie as well and I was the first convert in the family.

I wasn’t presented with any “Tracts” and I don’t recall being upset with any “antis”. I only ran into a few “antis”; one was a roommate and we just agreed to disagree. And another was a gal I met at the library, she belonged to a campus Christian cult (college newspaper warned us about them) and approached me about a Bible study. WE got to talking about church and she said “You do realize your church teaches my people have the Mark of Cain, right?” I was a new convert and wasn’t familiar with such a teaching. She started stalking me around campus and I had to say “If you want to be friends, that’s great. You have to give me some space. If I’m only a project to you then I don’t want anymore contact.” I never heard from her again.

Y’know Russ… now, years later… I think the thing I am most upset about is the misrepresentation of God. This issue is what initially led me out of the church but wasn’t the source of my anger. I’m over the “lie” thing and now I’m angry about how God is defined.

Sounds like Mishamari got fed up with being lied to. Again, who can blame such a one?

The courage of these five women inspire me.

Jesus inspired them.

Jesus inspired them to take a close look at what the Mormon “church” was asking them (telling them) to believe and, more importantly, Jesus inspired them to take a real, close look at who He claims to be.

May Jesus also inspire you to look deeply into his life and then compare that to what Joseph Smith said about Jesus. Can such a person really be the brother of Satan? Or is he who he said, i.e. God in the flesh? (John 1:1 and 1:14) The very God of all creation. (Col. 2)

Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?”

Just a good guy? A special prophet? Lunatic? Liar? Offspring of God and Mother God? Brother of Satan who proposed a better plan?

Or God.

Choose this day whom you’ll serve.

Jesus or Joseph.

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



Examines the similarities of cult traits and NPD in the pulpit.
The Seether songs remind me of my former “spiritual leaders” and probably mean more to me than making a statement to the viewers. Watch this before you give me too much head ache.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ecnm_a0EAtk

See the links in my other videos for more info in Spiritual Abuse, NPD in the pulpit and leaving a cult. Or just read these:

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/6…

http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/…

http://www.meadowhaven.org/psychissue…

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

History of the canon and how we got our bible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCLLCYyVWYQ

http://www.youtube.com/user/Knowwhere…

Thanks to Chris White of http://nowheretorunradio.com for making all his videos available for download and re-distribution here http://conspiracyclothes.com/nowheret…

If you have not checked out Chris’s ministry, your missing out. See all the revelation radio guys radio shows here http://www.revelationsradionetwork.com/ and here http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Revelati… and their video channel here http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Revelati…

 

2008 A year of scrutiny for the LDS Church

If 2002 was Mormonism’s debutante ball, 2008 may go down as its first semester of college.

The Utah-based church made new friends, endured back-stabbing from would-be friends, joined some clubs, got a taste of fame and had a few wrenching exams.

From the possibility of a Mormon in the White House to a stream of Latter-day Saints on reality television, from being attacked as belonging to a cult (or mistaken for a polygamous sect in Texas) to participating in California’s bitter battle for traditional marriage, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would see their faith in the nation’s mirror. To many, such scrutiny was unlike any they had seen in their lifetime.

“The church emerged on the center stage of public consciousness in a way we hadn’t seen before,” says Chase Peterson, former University of Utah president and lifelong Latter-day Saint. “The full consequences of this new public awareness probably will not be understood for some time.”

Indeed, it was a “wild, eventful year for the church,” says Philip Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, “quite beyond its perpetual efforts in spreading its message, looking after its members, managing its vast resources, building its facilities and addressing catastrophes at home and abroad.”

The crucial question is: How will the LDS Church and its individual members respond to the year’s events?

For example, Mormons, who in recent decades have been staunchly Republican, were cast as pariahs during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign by controlling sectors of the Republican Party. Though he had won widespread political and financial support across the nation, most Evangelicals in the party bitterly opposed him, and between 37 percent and 43 percent of Americans said they would never vote for a Mormon, any Mormon.

Even after Romney bowed out of the race, many Mormons continued to smart from the accusations and misrepresentations of their faith that flourished during his run. They developed a serious distaste for Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who, they believe, fueled anti-Mormon hostility while playing innocent.

Others were more straightforward. The Rev. Robert Jeffress repeatedly called Mormonism a “cult,” and evangelist Bill Keller famously said, “A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Satan.”

Will Latter-day Saints now begin to question their allegiance to the Republican Party, Barlow wonders, or even move into the Democratic Party in the future, especially if Barack Obama is successful in his first term?

Life was changing inside the church as well.

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley died at the end of January.

At 97, Hinckley was Mormonism’s oldest prophet and the most vigorous to the end. He had transformed the church’s public image, giving interviews to reporters everywhere he went.

 

Hinckley’s longtime associate, Thomas S. Monson, ascended to the LDS presidency, choosing Dieter Uchtdorf, a German member, as a counselor. The leadership focus began to shift.

Where Hinckley met with the media and immediately traveled outside the country, Monson held an awkward, scripted news conference and stayed closer to home, running the church from its Salt Lake City headquarters. He dedicated four temples and announced eight more, while also opening a new welfare services compound and sending humanitarian aid across the globe.

Despite such goodwill efforts, conflicts occasionally erupted.

In March, Mormon leaders were chagrined by news accounts of three Mormon missionaries in Colorado who apparently desecrated a Roman Catholic shrine. Though the Catholics ultimately forgave the missionaries for their vandalism, a month later the Vatican issued an order, blocking LDS access to Catholic parish records because of the Mormon practice of baptism for the dead. The move caused widespread hand-wringing among genealogists everywhere, including Catholics.

Catholics and Mormons later put aside their differences to become allies on a different political issue — gay marriage.

In June, Mormons joined the Preserve Marriage Coalition at the request of Archbishop George Niederauer, the San Francisco Catholic leader who had previously led the Diocese of Salt Lake City. The First Presidency sent a letter to all California Mormons, urging them to support a ballot measure known as Proposition 8, which defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

The same Evangelical groups that had demeaned Mormonism as a cult during Romney’s campaign were now the LDS Church’s allies in the California fight.

“These new defenders of the Mormon faith have long been the most prolific Mormon-bashers in the nation,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of the Brooklyn-based gay-rights group Truth Wins Out. “[The two groups] have nothing in common but their anti-gay rhetoric.”

The measure passed on Nov. 4, and in the ensuing days, angry supporters of gay marriage protested outside LDS temples across the nation.

“The church’s support of Proposition 8 created a loud backlash and may make the church a symbol for the constriction of civil rights,” Barlow says. “Will the church dig in on what it sees as a moral and constitutional issue or will common cause help repair or forge new allegiances with Evangelicals?”

Not many years from now, 2008 may be seen as a turning point for the LDS Church in addressing the reality of homosexuality, he says.

The church’s theology was formed at a time when homosexuality could only be construed in biblical terms as “abomination,” he says. “Because of experience and science, today church leaders see the issue in a more complex light. They distinguish between feelings and actions, and they acknowledge that we do not know the originating causes of same-sex attraction.”

LDS founder Joseph Smith once said that ” ‘by proving contraries, truth is made manifest,’ ” Barlow says. “As is the past, this may be a painful but auspicious moment in LDS history.”

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

The Salt Lake Tribune

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Which Mormon group is the “Restored Church”?

Introduction

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 http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dbowie/restore/restoration.html . 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.

Conclusion

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.

http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/mormon/mormonsects.html 

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The Pattern of the Double-Bind in Mormonism 

In the fall of 1997, my son, Matt, and I discovered Eric Kettunen’s internet site, Recovery from Mormonism. Matt replied to Eric and posted his letter (#70); soon after, Matt started his own Higher Mormon site.

Until that time, we thought that we were alone in our discoveries about Mormonism and in leaving the church. As I read each Post, I was impressed with the similarities of personal experiences … and how they coincided with my own. I could see aspects of The Pattern in each Post and some explicitly contained all aspects. They filled in, and clarified more fully the stages of this Pattern in Mormonism for me.

Stage 1 Problem – Anxiety – Question – Fear
Stage 2-3 Agreement – Ambiguity 
Stage 4 Double-Bind – Reversal – Guilt/Fear
Stage 5 Denial – Humiliation – Dehumanized 
Stage 6 Accusation – Demonized – Guilt/Shame
Stage 7 Punishment – Compulsion/Subjection – “Black is White”
Stage 8 Bound – Love/Hate – “Voluntary” Union
Stage 9 Psychological Cannibalism – Suicide

 

 

Stage 4 Double-Bind – Reversal – Guilt/Fear

THE MAZE OF MORMONISM

Prologue to Stage 4. This stage is built upon stages 2 and 3. A promise was made and then not fulfilled. A “but” was then inserted as the reason for not receiving what was promised. The “but”-excuse then becomes a replacement for the promise; something was not done “right” by the would-be recipient who is now blamed for not being able to receive. Obedience to the “but” is now required to become worthy to receive.

Stage 4: The Double-Bind – “Guilty, Guilty” – Reversals – Rape of Mind
“You are damned if you do a thing,” and “You are damned if you don’t do it.”

Reversal: “Guilty, Guilty” – Rape of the Mind

One classic Double-Bind in Mormonism is in regards to receiving the “burning in the bosom,” the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, as a requirement for a testimony and sanctification. The promise is that if you pray sincerely you will receive a “burning in the bosom,” which is the manifestation that the Book of Mormon is true. If you don’t receive a “burning in the bosom,” you were not “sincere,” or there are other things you must do to be “worthy” of receiving it. This is the “Yes, but” stage; “Yes, you prayed, but……” The “but” then, becomes the focal point, the “hook.” It becomes “the carrot on the end of a stick” that can never be reached and becomes the means for your being judged “guilty” for your inability to work hard enough to “get it.” This leads into the blatant Double-Bind, which says:

If you don’t obey the “But-things,” you will be “guilty” of not being “sincere,” not trying hard enough.

If you do obey the “But-things,” you are “guilty” because you still haven’t received the “burning in the bosom,” which you would have received had you done them properly.

At this point many other suggestions are given to help you “earn,” through work, what was promised you if you were only “sincere” and had worked hard enough. You now need “help” in order to prepare yourself to be made “worthy” of receiving this “gift.” More “buts” are issued, as “helps,” and the fact that you are outnumbered makes you feel that “I am the only one who doesn’t get it” … you think that “if I work hard enough I will not be the only one who can’t ‘get it.'” The truth is, the many others, also, “don’t get it,” i.e., they have been caught in the same maze. The irony is that the ones who “can’t get it” are the ones who are sincere, and authentic … the ones who are earnestly trying to keep the integrity of their own minds. (See Post #19 below.)

This leads to another Dilemma:

We are told we must live by faith alone, in a non-physical, i.e., a non-brain, non-rational, mental state. At the same time, we are told that the sign of the physical “burning in the bosom” is proof of the Book of Mormon, the necessary confirmation of its being true. The irony is the reverse. A “burning in the bosom” only happens in the real world as an extension of a true, physical brain-perception leading to a rational result. It does not occur when our individual perceptions and our brain are not involved.

This is a Double-Bind:

If you do have faith and relinquish your brain, you cannot, in reality, reach a confirmation of a truth. The means have been taken away.

If you don’t have faith, and rely on your brain, you will not find the confirmation of the truth of something that is false.

In both cases, you will be judged “guilty” of not receiving the “burning in the bosom.” Again, Momonism juxtaposes opposites, pits them against each other, and then, subtly uses the opposite (reason) for the proof of faith … which is doomed to fail.

The Binder divides, pitting faith and reason against each other, and by that means, conquers. Reason has to be the enemy of faith, which in the Double-Bind is necessary, but not to be seen … it becomes the Satan that is there, yet … is not there. The Mormon Apostle, Boyd P. Packer said that reason is the enemy of God, and a state of war has been declared against it. He says, “In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary… In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it.” (From his talk: Do not spread disease germs!) The Closed System is “one-sided” (only non-brain faith is allowed). On the one hand, it turns its back on reason, the Open System; on the other hand, it claims “reason” in “lip service.” The dual personality in Mormonism is the “Yes,” reason, “But,” at the same time, it is “non-reason.”

This is why members “fail” to receive the “gift” of confirmation: they are sincere! They are relying on their own true perceptions, the means to reason and Self-control, which is a brain related activity. The reason more “work” is demanded of individuals who “fail” is that their minds have not yet been “converted” to the upside-down world of programmed “Yes, but”-thinking and the feelings that are attached to that view. When this is not seen, the means of survival in the real world are gradually eroded making us totally dependent and compliant to a fabricated idea that is designed, step by step, to dehumanize those who are enticed into it unknowingly.

It will be helpful to know that each step, or stage, is connected by a “hook;” the transitions between each is very subtle. In this case, the “hook” is the “but.” In each stage, once the “hook” is accepted, it becomes the connecting link to the next one. This is the insidious nature of The Pattern.

The Double-Bind as Experienced by Women in Mormonism

Guilt – Reversal
(A very common Double-Bind is when it is used to coerce the bearing of testimonies.)

“The last straw was drawn when they expected me to offer my testimony. The missionaries had taught me that a person should create their own prayers, as opposed to repeating prayers as the catholics do. ….That Sunday, however, after a few members had recited their chorus line (using the same set of words), it appeared everybody’s eyes were on me. I did not get up. Immediately following the closing prayer, the missionary came to shake my hand and said, very loudly, ‘we need our friend here to give her testimony.’

Her Double-Bind:
If she did bear her testimony, she would be labeled “good.” She would, however, in reality, be guilty of going against herself.

If she didn’t bear her testimony, she would be labeled “bad.”

She would be going against the church and her “voluntary” commitment that must be confirmed over and over again … “guilty.”

Post #16. See: Stage 1, Stages 2-3, Post #16.

(The Double-Bind is always FOR the BINDER, and AGAINST the BOUND, the individual Self. It is reinforced through repetition until there is no longer a Self to go against; the mind then is silenced into obedience and is labeled “good.”)

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
“After baptism I continued to ask questions …. Being an orphan, “I asked them (the missionaries) about illegitimate orphans. They said that orphans were less valiant in the pre-existence. They were not born into homes where they would have parents and it was because of how they lived in the pre-existence. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew that if I had been taught that belief before baptism I would never have joined the church. Now that I was a member I figured that if I became the very best Mormon I could be I would win God’s favor and He would forgive me for being less valiant in the pre-existence. I hoped I could clean the slate for I never wanted to come face to face with God and feel His disappointment because I had been less valiant in the pre-existence. I was always afraid to ask if God had forgiven me for what I had done in the pre-existence and how I could ask for forgiveness when I didn’t know what it was I did. Or, was I suppose to be asking for forgiveness for not being valiant but valiant in what? How could I know? So I just kept trying to be a good Mormon.” (Italics, mine.)

Her Double-Bind: Guilt/Fear.
She would be damned if she did remain a Mormon.
It would be against herself, her own perceptions. (“Guilty)

She would be damned if she didn’t remain a Mormon.

She would (1) not be valiant in this life; (2) she would forfeit her chance to work out her “repentence” for not being “valiant” in the pre-existence, plus, (3) she would then be denied entrance into the Celestial Kingdom in the next life. (She would have failed in her past life, her present life and therefore, her future life: “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty.”)
Post #22-1, #37. See Stage 1, 2-3. #22-1, #37.

Double-Bind – Guilt
“Right after we were married, our stake president wanted to discuss sex with us. He told us that rather than continue the old approach of inquiring into every prurient thought, the church would leave it to our discretion what sexual practices were permissible. …This …coming from an old guy we hardly knew who had but weeks before been asking my husband about masturbation. It was also too little, too late, for resurrecting the idea that sex between married people is okay. Being told to be fruitful and multiply is one thing, but after years of being told that sex is forbidden, evil, unclean, and transforms the woman into some revolting thing like “used gum” or a “half-eaten cookie,” it is unrealistic to think that normal sexual functioning could result from such constant negative conditioning.”

The Double-Bind:
You are damned if you do have sex.

Sex is forbidden, evil, and unclean; the woman is like a gardenia, once it has been touched it turns brown, and can never return to its white purity. “Evil”

You are damned if you don’t have sex.

You are commanded to have sex … to have as many children as you can; this is “Good.” At the same time you are “Evil,” because you break the first forbidden sex-commandment.
Post #43, See: Stage 1, #43.

Rape of the Mind and Body – Double-Bind – Guilt and Fear

(The following is the cruelest use of the Double-Bind of all these posts … not with an adult, but with a totally defenseless child.)

“My father was in jail for domestic abuse against my mother. My mother turned to the church for financial help because she was trying to raise me, my sister, and my brother on her own. She did have a job at a nursing home, but it wasn’t enough to cover food. The Bishop agreed to help her, providing that she would clean the church. Just a few light duties: washing the windows and vacuuming, mostly. I was in charge of vacuuming. My mom had a key to the church and I would go over there when she was at work and make sure that it was all vacuumed every Saturday so that it would be ready for Sunday. (She was only 7 years old.)

My experience all started when I ran into a counselor in the bishopric. On that particular day, I remember being very upset because I was constantly being teased by the other kids because my dad was in jail. The counselor sat me down on his lap in the chapel and asked me to tell him why I was crying. He was so kind! So wonderful! This was a man of God wanting to know about ME! I told him everything. I trusted him and was really happy for the attention! I went home that day very happy and grateful for my new friend.”

(Gradually, each Saturday, this counselor began subtly to molest her. She was confused, but really didn’t understand or question it) “because, after all — he was a member of the bishopric. I was extremely uncomfortable with this behavior, but he always told me that I was “special.” And that he loved me like I was his own little girl. I should never tell, because that would break the promises we had made to each other in the church. ….Once I told my mom that I didn’t want to clean the church anymore, she told me that if I didn’t then I would be responsible for the church taking food away from our family. Did I really want to do that? NO. I couldn’t handle it.” (The molestation increased until eventually there were more than three penetrations by this counselor.) “I just kept thinking it MUST be okay because come Sunday, he would be sitting up there on the stand and wink at me once in awhile, or lead the opening remarks and after all, this was a man called of God. If God thought that it was okay, then it must be okay.” ….(After her baptism and in the chapel for her confirmation, this counselor stood nearby with his eyes closed, and his head bowed. She was very disturbed. The next Saturday, she tried to resist him and he roughly forced her. Fortunately, her family moved shortly after that.)

This 7 year-old child had not only to contend with one Double-Bind, but two.

Double-Bind #1.
If she did tell anyone: The counselor had told her that she would be breaking the promise that they had made in God’s church.

If she didn’t tell anyone: He would be free to continue his molestation of her.

Double-Bind #2.
If she didn’t go to the church every Saturday to vacuum: Her family wouldn’t have enough food to eat.

If she did go to the church: She would be subject to more abuse from the counselor.
Post #61.

* * *

The Double-Bind every member encounters in the Temple is:

You will be damned if you do speak of the “sacred” oaths and penalties …. (made without prior knowledge) …. outside the temple.

You go against your “voluntary” oath, and against the Binder.

You are damned if you don’t speak of them.

You go against yourself; you are silenced through Fear of punishment
and “Guilt.”

* * *

“I didn’t say anything to anyone because your not supposed to discuss those things outside the temple, and I felt strange bringing up the question in the celestial room. That was not the time to question anyone. ….I was never prepared for that (the penalties), but my mom and dad were there, so I thought they understood everything and it was something they did all the time.”Post #33.

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear.
Another way to express the Double-Bind in Mormonism, is described by this Post.

“Their (Mormonism) treatment of homosexuals seeking help is appalling. While I am not gay, I was involved with a gay member of the church, and the hell he was put through–even as he begged for help–was appalling. Instead of self-acceptance for EVERY member, the church teaches conditional love:

“If you do this and this and this, the church/God will love you and find you worthy.”

(If it is in the interest of the Binder, it will be against the self, the individual … then, it is “good.”)

“If you do not do this and this, you are damned for all time–starting here and starting now.”
(If it is for your Self, or an individual, it is against the Binder; you are then, “evil.”)
Post #69 See: Stage 2-3, #69.

Note:
The Mormon Apostle, Boyd K. Packer says, “We must be one-sided, all facing one-way.” … towards the organization (the Closed System), not towards the individual. “It is critical that all of us work together and put aside personal interests.” He refers to individuals as exceptions that take the church away from the many others who are in more need than the few. The church’s plan for the membership is simplication and reduction, for the general welfare of all, not the particular; all members are to be reduced to the lowest common denominator; individuals not keeping up with the herd are expendable. The other word for them is pariah, an outcast.

The Double-Bind as Experienced by Men in Mormonism

Double-Bind – Fear
“I’ve removed my web page. I’ve chosen an alias because I’m still trying to find a way to bring my page back. (He had left the church and was stating his opinion on his web site.) It was my mistake for using my real name. I felt that to do otherwise would be cowardly. I guess the joke’s on me. …… the members (of the church) in my parents area started to mobilize. My parents were harrassed by people they’ve gone to church with for over 20 years. Instead of exhibiting Christian-type values such as comforting them for the loss of a son from Mormonism, they received emotional blackmail instead. My father’s health started to suffer as a result of it.”

If he did use his real name, his family (who were still members of the church) would be harrassed to the point of injury.

If he didn’t use his real name, he would be false to himself by concealing his identity.
Post #2 See: Stages 2-3, #2

Double-Bind – Fear/Guilt
“My earliest memories of the church, while not necessarily negative, are not really positive either. They are sort of bland; null, if you will. What I do remember are impressions of not seeing what everyone else seemed to be seeing, and feeling left out as a result. I would sit through the meetings, wondering if there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t get up in front of the whole congregation and spout the same platitudes that my peers did. What prevented me from thinking and speaking as the others around me?

“My father always called me “Mister Blunt” because I was unfailingly honest in my appraisals of people and situations. This got me into trouble more than once over the years. But, in this context, I could not testify to something which I did not really feel.

“The years passed, …. The same lack of feeling was present at my ordination, and so on through my teen years….I did the things that I was told to do, for to disobey my dad would bring swift retribution. I was always the “dutiful son.” I just figured that I didn’t feel anything because I wasn’t “worthy” for some strange reason or other.”
Post #19. See Stages 2-3. #19.

The 13th Article of Faith in Mormonism says:: “We believe in being honest, true …..” However,

This young man was damned if he was honest.
His honest appraisals were construed to be false; he was “bad” if he told the truth.

He was damned if he wasn’t honest;
He would be going against his own integrity; he would be “good” only if he lied.

Because Mormonism is a Closed System,”one-sided,” there can only be one view, that of the Binder, which leaves out reason, choice and universal principles. Lip service only is given to the words “honest” and “true,” as if they were being applied in the universal, rational sense. New converts are attracted by the label “truth” and “universal principles” … the “Yes,” we believe in being honest, true ….” Later, the “meat,” i.e., the church’s true definitions replace the universal. The universal principle of being true has to do with the individual being true to himself and with his fellowman. In Mormonism, the Church replaces the individual’s identity, converting the possession of “truth” to the Church, i.e., the individual disappears into the Body Politic of the Church which contains all “truth.” The thinking has already been done for all its members.

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
“Charles, a teen ager, … mentally retarded … who clearly didn’t know right from wrong … had been baptized … his family were not Mormons. I didn’t understand how he could have made a rational decision to be baptized into the Mormon Church, but there he was-an Aaronic priesthood holder. One day Charles told me something I will never forget. Something that really sums up Mormonism. He said that he had read some “anti-Mormon” literature which caused a lot of doubts to enter his mind. He then visited and sought counsel with the bishop. Surprisingly, the bishop did not tell Charles to stop reading “anti-Mormon” material. Instead he told Charles to read 15 minutes of “anti-Mormon” material, and then read 15 minutes of the Book of Mormon or other church approved material. After having read both,

Charles was to determine which of the two made him “feel” good.

Since the “anti-Mormon” material would obviously cause doubt and bad feelings, it was false.

Since the “pro-Mormon” material would make Charles feel good, it was true.

This was an exercise in “truth detection” as given by our bishop…. discern truth with your feelings, not your mind.”
Post #28. See: Stage 1, 2-3, #28.

(The means by which this Double-Bind could be seen, or by which a rational choice could be made, was not there for Charles, nor is it there for any member who can’t, or does not, use reason.)

Double-Bind – Guilt/Fear
(The following is the Double-Bind experienced by members when they consider leaving the church. Most have members of their family who are still active participants in Mormonism and have all been staunch members from birth.)

“I will probably receive harsh criticism from your other readers for not “being true to myself and others,” explaining to those I love my current beliefs. However, it’s just not that easy when almost everyone I know … is and has been a faithful LDS member and proponent their entire life.” Post # 34

The Double-Bind:
To stay in Mormonism, aids the Binder, and is against your Self … and your family.
To leave Mormonism, divorces you from your family, and you become an “outcast.”

Double-Bind #1 – Guilt/Fear
“About seven years ago, there was a PBS documentary done on the LDS Church and its missionaries. Several returned missionaries admitted that they did not “know” the church was true, even while they had said they did as a missionary. ….one of the LDS secrets is that there is a great deal of peer pressure on missionaries to say “I know,” whether or not they do. I would note that while I lied, I did so while feeling caught by my obligation to serve God. I had been taught that it was my duty to serve God as missionary, that “every worthy young man should serve a mission.” I had been taught those who prayed sincerely and in righteousness would receive a testimony and if they had not, one chief reason would be that they were not recognizing the answer God was giving.”

Double-Bind:
If you lie, you are “good.”
You go against yourself.

If you tell the truth, you are “bad.”
You go against the Binder.

Double-Bind #2 “Mental Illness” – “Delusions of Grandeur”

“Further, some suggest that I was emotionally ill. There is no doubt that I was. The only question is what was the cause and the exact nature of my “mental illness.” They suggest that, in a mild form, I was suffering delusions of grandeur, caused by my close association with that other fellow, Brad Thompson, who happened to be my EQ president when I first came to BYU. He also, in his own way, suffered delusions of grandeur. In a way, this suggestion is no doubt true. The only question is as to whether Mormonism itself feeds such delusions.”
Post #38 See: Stage 2-3, #38

(This is another version of the promise that you “will receive …..” (fill in any blessings “given” you), then when it isn’t fulfilled you are accused of wanting to be “the center of the world.”)

Double-Bind:
If he didn’t have faith that his blessings would be fulfilled, he would be faithless and “guilty.”

If he did believe they would be fulfilled, but they were not … he was guilty of “suffering delusions of grandeur” in thinking that he could expect what others had not yet received.

Double-Bind – Guilt
“Free Agency as taught by the church: “I am free to choose good or evil.” In practice, Mormon free agency is a sort of bondage. It amounts to:

“If I obey authority and do not think for myself then I have “chosen” Good.”
“If I do not obey authority and think for myself then I have chosen Evil.”
Post #70.

http://www.exmormon.org/pattern/stage4.htm

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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.

http://www.christiandefense.org/mor_nat_mary.htm

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Coming to THIS BLOG and

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Tuesday nights @ 10pm Central

STARTING JANUARY 6

The How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW will begin to air on BlogTalkRadio on January 6 at 10pm central. The show will be a mix of pre-recorded live shows and live call in shows. The show will feature interviews with well known Theologians and other professionals in various fields of Study. First up will be Ex-Word of Faith Preacher John Edwards from FaithPreacher.blogspot.com AND Christian Ufologist Guy Malone from alienresistance.org The shows will also do other things besides interviews. I will schedule ONE SHOW a month for people to air their grievances in a live format.

There is NOW a rough draft of a preview show with Pastor John in which I use audio from his video on his site, available for your listening (click the LOGO above). To let you know what to expect. The full and finished show will be finished and released in a few days. I will have MY INTERVIEW with pastor John coming in 1-2 weeks.

There will be 3 points of distribution for the How2BecomeAChristian.info RADIO SHOW and it’s Sister show OccultAgendaExposure.Info RADIO which will start sometimes in February.

1. BlogTalkRadio. The shows can be viewed and participated in at this URL http://www.blogtalkradio.com/How2BecomeAChristian The shows will also be available for download and listening there.

2. There will be shows that WILL NOT air at BTR. Those shows will be distributed at SoundClick.com at this URL http://www.soundclick.com/how2becomeachristian and the BLOGs

3. ALL shows will be broadcast from a respective BLOGPOST for that show episode.

http://how2becomeachristianinfoblog.com/

AND

http://OccultAgendaExposure.Wordpress.Com

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GUEST WISHLIST:

Scheduled: Guy Malone, John Edwards

Almost Scheduled: Peter Goodgame, Stan Deyo, Patrick Hering, David lowe, john Edwards, Michael heiser, Bill scnoebelen, Dave Ruffino, Jim Wilhelson, Joe Jordan, David Flynn
Wishful yet hopeful: Justin peters, Sandy Simpson, Rick Ross, biblical truth for Mormons, Mormon curtain, 20 truths about Mormonism, Keith and Lorrie Macgragor, and their Trinitarian friend, Ed Decker, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at peering into the darkness, PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at shatter the darkness, Christ White No Where to Run from Revere Radio Network and Revelation Radio, Ron Rhodes: Reasoning from the Scriptures ministries, Sharon and Derrick Gilbert at Peering into the Darkness PID RADIO, Russ Disdar at Shatter the Darkness, Chris , James Spencer at Maze Ministry, Matt Slick at carm, Kirby Anderson Probe Ministries.

MORE TO ADD SOON. If you would like to submit a name or ministry to this list. Please leave the name or ministry name in the comment field below.

How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries is a Christian Apologetics Ministry primarily devoted to answering the question “How to become a Christian?” The ministry focuses on Christian essentials but also covers all non essential doctrines and issues concerning Christianity and religion in general. Including all non/Christian religions, aberrant Christian cults, the Occult, the New Age Movement and much more.

All material produced by How2BecomeAChristian (with a numeral 2) ministries IS LICENSED for your FREE USE under Commons Copyright Licensing.

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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.

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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?

http://www.collegeotr.com/college_otr/brigham_young_student_art_project_censored_for_proving_existence_of_gays_16521

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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

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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), http://members.aol.com/browne/mormon.html)

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” (http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=32)

“An Ensign to All People: The Sacred Message and Mission of the Book of Mormon” (http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=15)

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., http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=29&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9ib29rb2Ztb3Jtb252aWV3LnBocA==)

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, http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=98)

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
http://www.letusreason.org/LDSdir.htm

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, http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=98)

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., http://www.byu.edu/edlf/archives/mckay/41oct.html)

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?

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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.

http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/mormonism.html

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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.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=4948679

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MORMONISM’S FOUNDATION OF DECEPTION

This article explains how Joseph Smith, who claimed to be a latter-day prophet, was able to bring into being a religion that opposes every major doctrine in the Bible, in spite of the Bible being one of their standard works.

At the start the LDS church’s doctrines were similar to those of Christianity. For the first twelve years they worshipped the trinitarian deity, as is borne out by their 1835 printing of Doctrine and Covenants. (Note that at that stage Joseph taught that God was a spirit being.)

“….. We shall, in this lecture speak of the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are two personages ….. They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fullness: the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle ….. And he being the only begotten of the Father ….. possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit..” (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Lecture Fifth of Faith, 5:1-2, pages 52-53, First edition.) (Writer’s italics)

The Book of Mormon, which was written by Joseph Smith prior to his change in deity, confirms his original trinitarian teaching given above. Note that the Book of Mormon also taught that there was only one God, who was a spirit being:

And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yes. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and on the earth? And he said Yes …….. (Alma 18:26-29)

….. Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God….. (Alma 11:44)

….. the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one ….. (3 Nephi 11:27)

….. to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God….. (Mormon 7:7)

Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No. (Alma 11:28-29)

….. there is but one God (Alma 11:35)
Suffice it to say that Mormonism of today has changed to the extent that it no longer bears any resemblance to Mormonism of the early days. It is a different religion altogether, with a different God (an ordinary saved sinner with a body of flesh and bone), a different Saviour (who fits in with their later doctrine of eternal progression), and a different atonement, gospel and salvation. (Links are given at the end of this page to relevant articles on these subjects.)

LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE DECEPTION

Records reveal that prior to the inception of the LDS church Joseph Smith was involved in the occult, spiritism and necromancy. He also had the reputation of being a confidence trickster, and for some years made money out of convincing folk that he could divine the whereabouts of hidden treasure through the use of his occultic stone. However, the treasure never materialised and he was eventually taken to court and prosecuted. Although he was found guilty, due to his age at the time (twenty) he was not given a sentence.

It is a fact that Smith never gave up his occultic practices. He died with an occultic talisman coin in his pocket. And he freely admitted that during the period that he was prophet and leader of the church, he received “prophecies and revelations” through his occultic stone — see the article on this site, “Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet.”

After he had joined the probationer’s class of the Methodist Church in 1828, it was pointed out to Joseph that his lifestyle did not fit in with the teachings and beliefs of the church; and that in order to stay in membership he would be required to confess his misdemeanours, repent and change his ways. However, he chose rather to resign. (c/f The Amboy Journal, April 30, 1879 page 1; June 11, 1879, page 1.)

Within two years he had started up his own church, which came to be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Opponents of Mormonism believe that his story about the apostasy of the Christian church stemmed from his bitterness towards the church in general, as a direct consequence of what had happened to him when he had attempted to join the Methodists.

Although he had a poor education, Joseph was certainly not lacking in intelligence. He knew that his ideas on religion did not fit in with the teachings of the Bible, and that he would have to come up with an innovative explanation. He also realised that he needed to provide a plausible reason for starting up a new church.

Declaring himself to be a latter-day prophet, he claimed that God had revealed to him that after the death of Christ’s apostles the early church had become apostate, and that he had been given the task of restoring the true church. He also maintained that the Bible was not reliable as it had been incorrectly translated, and that large sections containing important teachings about salvation had been removed.

This meant that right from the very start, his followers had no reliable standard of truth against which to test whether or not his teachings were correct, thereby giving him free reign to introduce whatever unbiblical teachings fitted in with his agenda.

“Many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume 1, page 245)

“Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327).

Although his followers accepted his claims about the Bible having been corrupted, Smith was wise enough not to bring about any radical departure from biblical doctrines until the church had become well and truly established.

Later on, when doctrines that directly contradicted biblical teachings were introduced, the LDS members were taught that because the Bible was unreliable, the best way to establish the accuracy of its teachings was to compare them with their own doctrines, their own scriptures and the words of their own true prophet. This teaching still applies today:

“The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Church News, June 20, 1992, page 3, quoting a letter from the First Presidency [Presidents Benson, Hinckley and Monson] dated May 22, 1992, to all of the Church)

Perpetuating the deceptions that have been part and parcel of Mormonism ever since its inception, the following claim was made in a later LDS booklet for consumption by non-Mormons:

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same (LDS Apostle and Doctrinal Writer, Bruce McConkie, ‘What The Mormons Think of Christ,’ page 2)

THE INTRODUCTION OF ETERNAL PROGRESSION

Twelve years after the formation of the LDS church, in 1842, Joseph made his move, introducing his unbiblical “Law of Eternal Progression” with the following pronouncement:

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

In order to avoid duplication, eternal progression will not be discussed in depth here, as a link is provided at the bottom of this page to an article that explains it more fully. But to put it briefly, the eternal progression teaching is that every living being originally existed as intelligent matter, then progressed, each in his own time, to the next stage by taking on a spirit form, and finally to the stage of taking on a physical body. The ultimate is to progress, or to be “translated” to godhood, which in Mormonism is eternal life. What this means is that deity and man have exactly the same origins and the same scope for advancement. The only difference between us and God is that He has reached a further stage of progression than we have, at this moment in time.

Although it may be hard for us to understand how so many sincere and well-meaning folk could have been taken in by his incredible deceptions, we need to bear in mind that Joseph Smith was a talented and persuasive orator. In his youth he had belonged to the local debating society, and he had also been a regular exhorter at the Methodist evening meetings for some time prior to his attempt at becoming a member of that church. (History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase, 1851, page 214). And let us not forget that he had already convinced his followers that the Bible was not reliable.

It is not the practice of the LDS to disclose their exclusive doctrines to outsiders. And they will go to great lengths to conceal them. Only after having been baptised into the LDS church is the initiate exposed to the full teachings of Mormonism, through a graduated system of indoctrination. For this reason, right up until fairly recently, few people outside the LDS membership were aware of the full extent of LDS beliefs.

However, since the advent of the Internet and the subsequent public disclosure of LDS teachings by ex-Mormons, there has been such widespread condemnation of their claim that Mormon men can become Gods (as well as of various other LDS doctrines and practices), that they have recently toned down the wording of their teachings. For instance, they now talk about becoming “like God,” whereas when the writer was still in the LDS, they didn’t mince their words, but said straight out that men were able to become gods in their own right, reigning over their own worlds, through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the LDS church. They often quoted a couplet from the pulpit, that went something like this:

As man is, God once was;
As God is, man can become.

In spite of toning down their wording, there has been no change in their doctrine of eternal progression, and the ultimate in Mormonism is still “translation” to godhood, which in “Mormonese” means eternal life.

“Here then is eternal life; to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God the same as all Gods have done before you” (Journal of Discourses 6:4; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 346, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith).

When Smith changed to the worship of a different deity many folk who had joined the LDS under their original belief system left the church. But he managed to persuade the majority to join him in his rejection of the biblical spirit God, and to follow instead his revolutionary new deity who had a body of flesh and bone, and had once been a sinner in need of salvation. He later claimed:

“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. 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.” (The History of the Church Volume 6, pages 408-409). (Italics inserted by author.)

THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH

The LDS has a number of teachings that have been specifically designed to convince their members that they are the only true church. For instance, they are told that God removed His authority from the earth after the early church had gone into total apostasy but that He has restored His authority to them. They go on to claim that because they alone have God’s authority, salvation is only possible through their church. Another claim is that God restored, through the LDS church, the Levitical/Aaronic priesthood (which, incidentally is Old Covenant theology and has no place in the New Covenant), as well as the Melchizedek priesthood; and that eternal progression is only possible through the LDS priesthood. Then too, they maintain that they have the same organization as did the primitive church, which they say proves yet again that they are the true, restored church.

However, not a single one of these claims has any validity, as on investigation they are all disproved by the true facts.

To bolster up their claims Mormons are taught to “have faith” in Joseph Smith, his Book of Mormon and the LDS church through their feelings rather than through established facts (see the article on this site entitled, “The Mormon Testimony and Brainwashing.”)

Another deceptive ploy is their title, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” This gives the impression that they are both biblical and Christian, and they actually teach their members that their title proves that they are the true church. But in reality nothing could be further from the truth. They have had no less than five other titles up to the present time in history, and at one stage were called, “The Church of the Latter-day Saints.” (See the Article, “The Title of the LDS Church,” which is featured on this site.) Mormons worship a different God, their gospel is different and so is their salvation. And although they do everything “in the name of Jesus Christ,” the Jesus Christ they believe in is not the biblical Christ, a fact which their leadership admits (see the article “The LDS Jesus Christ is not the Saviour of the Bible.”

Furthermore, in order to give the illusion that their doctrines fit in with what the Bible teaches, the LDS has deliberately and consistently applied dishonest meanings to biblical terms. One glaring example is the term, “salvation by grace,” which according to the Bible means being saved from both the guilt and the penalty of our sins by the grace of God through faith in Christ. But instead the LDS applies this biblical term, “salvation by grace,” to universal resurrection, without the necessity for faith in Christ and without the forgiveness of personal sins. They go on to teach that the right to forgiveness of sins has to be earned through obedience to the laws and ordinances of their church organization (c/f Articles of Faith by Talmage, page 87).

However, this is what the Bible teaches:
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, KJV)

Who His own self bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)

For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28, KJV)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7, KJV)

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood (Revelation 1:5, KJV)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6, KJV)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, KJV)

Although the LDS God was not always deity, but was once a fallen sinner in need of salvation, Mormons are given the impression that he is the eternal God of the Bible. In order to facilitate this deception, the LDS invented a new, exclusive meaning for the word “eternal.” They maintain it is only a title used by God in the same way as Mr. and Mrs. are titles when used in front of someone’s surname. But our dictionaries define the word “eternal” as meaning “without beginning or end of existence, everlasting, ceaseless and unchangeable.” And this is how the term “eternal” is meant to be understood when used by the Bible. (According to LDS teachings, gaining eternal life means exaltation to godhood, or enjoying the same type of life as deity, through Mormonism. But this is not what the Bible teaches.)

Their ongoing subterfuge indicates that in spite of the fact that Mormonism bears no resemblance to Christianity, and that it opposes every major doctrine taught by the Bible, it has nevertheless been deliberately dressed up in the guise of biblical Christianity. In other words, it is a counterfeit of Christianity.

Although in the past they distanced themselves from Christianity to the extent that their membership used to be told never to call themselves Christians but Latter-day Saints; at the moment the LDS is involved in a massive publicity campaign, and is pulling out all the stops to get themselves included in the Christian fraternity. Consequently, Mormons now become offended if one says they are not Christian.

As there is freedom of religion in America, one cannot help but wonder what their motive is in maintaining a Christian facade, when their religion is anything but Christian. (The articles listed in the index of the home page of this site give clear and overwhelming evidence, with references from their own literature, of Mormon opposition to everything that biblical Christianity stands for, apart from the morality issue.)

However, once one considers their roots, everything falls into place.

Joseph Smith’s religion of Mormonism is the biggest success story ever, in the arena of spiritual deception. The LDS church follows a false god, trusts in a counterfeit Jesus Christ, teaches a nonexistent salvation, and propagates Joseph Smith’s false gospel under the guise of “the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

THE REASON BEHIND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MORMONISM

Because Smith had stressed right from the earliest days that important teachings on salvation had been taken from the Bible, we realise with hindsight that from the very start his purpose had been to lead folk away from the way of salvation that God had revealed to us in the pages of the Bible, and to substitute in its place a false gospel that fitted in with his own agenda. And to confirm that this is precisely what he did do, we will compare the biblical gospel with what the LDS teaches, and which they deceptively call “the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

THE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL

The Christian gospel is a message intended for all the inhabitants of the entire world, regardless of belief, race or creed. It tells of the amazing love of a holy and righteous Creator God for the sinful, fallen and wayward race of mankind:

In His great mercy God devised a plan that catered for our fallen state. In order to rescue us both from the power that sin has over us as well as from its terrible eternal consequences; and also to enable us to become reconciled to His righteous rulership, He came down to earth in Christ, and took on a body of flesh. By becoming one of us He qualified to become our Redeemer. Although He was sinless He voluntarily, graciously, and humbly took upon Himself the burden of the guilt and the shame of our sins. Then He courageously paid the terrible price on our behalf, in our place, on the cross, so that we could be set free from condemnation. Only one condition applied: In order to qualify for salvation we have to identify Christ as being our Representative and Saviour, by trusting solely in Him, in His saving power, His ability, and His redeeming atonement on our behalf, on the cross. (See the article “What is Biblical Salvation?” listed on the Home page.)

This means that everyone, no matter what their past may have been, what sins they may have committed, what may be their race or station in life, or how weak their resolve may be, stands on level ground at the foot of the cross. And so there is hope for all, “in Christ.” What a Saviour!

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. (John 3:16, KJV)

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV).

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV).

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18, KJV)

But the LDS gospel is not like that at all. Mormonism was designed specifically to draw folk away from God’s way of salvation. We know that this is so because firstly, as already mentioned above, Smith had maintained from the start that important teachings on salvation had been removed from the Bible. And secondly, their gospel is aimed at Christians or at folk who are familiar with or who have been brought up in a Christian society. Very roughly, their gospel goes something like this:

THE LDS GOSPEL

In a vision God revealed to his latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith, that the Christian church (for which Christ had died) had became apostate shortly after the death of His apostles. So he removed His authority for the gospel from the earth. But in these latter days He has restored both the true gospel and His authority to the earth, through his prophet, Joseph Smith.

The Bible that God gave us to use as our standard of truth, so that we could protect ourselves from spiritual deception or error, is not reliable due to incorrect translation and missing portions of important teachings on salvation.

As the LDS church alone has God’s authority for the gospel, salvation can only be attained through membership of their organization, provided we have faith in Joseph Smith as the true prophet of God, are obedient to the laws and ordinances of their organization, and live righteously, to the end. (See the article on this site on Mormon Salvation).

“Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the [Mormon] gospel, and a life of good works ….. The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith Alone has exercised an influence for evil” (Mormon Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, pages 478-479).

“There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 670).

“There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 188.)

As can be seen, the Mormon gospel would make no sense to anyone other than those with some sort of a Christian background or with at least a knowledge of biblical Christianity. It’s whole purpose is to create an environment where we turn away from God’s way of salvation through Christ alone and from the truths given to us in the Bible, to the deceptions taught by their false prophet, Joseph Smith.

Sadly, even if Mormons do eventually become aware of the many contradictions and errors in LDS doctrines, the majority of them have been so thoroughly indoctrinated that they will continue to avoid the Christian church like a plague and still be convinced that the Bible is unreliable. So even then Mormonism will have served its purpose. Whether he stays in their church or whether he goes, the Mormon has been indoctrinated to the extent that he is reluctant to have anything to do with what happens to be the true, biblical gospel. And what is more, because of having been so thoroughly deceived by the LDS church, he feels he can never ever trust anyone else again in the spiritual arena.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12, KJV)

CONCLUSION

If the reader is a Mormon I want to encourage you not to give up in your search for the truth.

Your best way forward is to begin reading the Bible in a new way, with a new attitude, giving yourself permission to accept that it is God’s proven standard of truth. (See the proof via the link below entitled, “Corruption of the Bible is an LDS Smokescreen.”)

It’s better to start with the New Testament, either with the gospels or else with one of the epistles, such as Philippians or Colossians, and to prayerfully read each book that you tackle in small portions, going right through from beginning to end, before going on to another, asking God to help you to understand what he wants you to learn from your reading for each day. It’s also helpful to keep a notebook, marked with the dates and the passages read, together with what you feel God has taught you from each particular reading.

You are welcome to write to this site and I will do my utmost to help and encourage you in any way I can. My email address is:

reply@bibtruth.com

There is an index of relevant articles listed on the home page of this site. The following are links to some of the articles referred to above:

Corruption of the Bible is an LDS Smokescreen
The LDS Jesus Christ is Not the Saviour of the Bible
The Apostasy is a Mormon Fallacy

LDS Authority Teaching Has No Basis
The Mormon Gods, Past and Present
LDS Pre-existence is Disproved by the Bible

The LDS Priesthood is Unbiblical
Joseph Smith’s First Vision and the Controversy Surrounding It
Joseph Smith, the Latter-day False Prophet
What is Biblical Salvation?

Copyright 2008 by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

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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.

Endnotes:

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

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

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

http://www.christianinformation.org/article.asp?artID=30

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SALVATION EXPOSED TO THE LIGHT OF BIBLE

MORMON SALVATION

LDS teaching on salvation is that Christ’s atonement only covers universal resurrection, which amounts to damnation. They go on to say that the right to forgiveness of personal sins has to be earned by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the LDS organization, plus virtuous living. Furthermore, salvation is available through their church alone, and then only if you have accepted Joseph Smith as God’s true prophet:

Those who gain only this general or unconditional salvation will still be judged according to their works and receive their places in a terrestrial or telestial kingdom. They will therefore be damned. (LDS Apostle McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 669). (Author’s italics)

There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 670).

There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, page 188.)

The first effect [of the atonement] is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of General Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts, it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements, obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [LDS] Gospel. (LDS Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, page 87). (Author’s italics)

None of the above teachings will be found anywhere in the Bible. They are exclusive to Mormonism and actually contradict what the Bible teaches. Regardless of this fact, the LDS consistently uses biblical terminology when referring to their teachings, including their teachings on salvation. But in order to fit these biblical terms in with their unbiblical doctrines, they have had to give them completely different meanings (which will not be found in any dictionary). For instance, they call universal resurrection, which they say does not cover forgiveness of sins and amounts to damnation, “salvation by grace.”

A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF BIBLICAL SALVATION

“Salvation” as a biblical term means being rescued or saved from both the penalty of sin and its power over us. So it covers the forgiveness of all our sins. And because our sins form an effective barrier between ourselves and a holy God, salvation from sin also has the effect of reconciling us to God, through Christ the Saviour.

Biblical salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. In other words we don’t have to earn the right to forgiveness of sins. Christ earned the right to our forgiveness on our behalf, by taking the punishment we deserve on Himself in His atonement on the cross at Calvary. The following are just some of the very many verses in the Bible that teach salvation from personal sin by grace through faith in Christ:

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. (John 3:16, KJV)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV)

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us ….. (Titus 3:5, KJV)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14 KJV)

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, KJV)

God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ….. (2 Corinthians 5:19, KJV).

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross (Colossians 2:13-14, KJV). (Italics inserted by writer.)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, KJV)

As will be seen, the above scriptures invalidate the following LDS claims regarding salvation:
That we have to earn the right to forgiveness of our personal sins; That we have to believe that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of God; That we have to obey the laws and ordinances of the LDS Church; and That salvation is only available through the LDS Church.

SALVATION THROUGH A SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE

The Bible is a fascinating book. Concepts that aren’t always all that easy to understand are explained by the use of types and “pictures.” One such concept is salvation from sin through a substitutionary sacrifice.

Nowhere in the Bible has God ever told mankind that they would have to earn the right to forgiveness of their sins. Instead, in the Old Testament He instituted the substitutionary sacrifice. The sinner was required to take an unblemished animal to the altar. Then he had to place his hand upon its head to indicate that it was to be his substitute and would die in his place, to cover his sin (Leviticus 1:4, 4:29,33). This was a picture of the coming, promised Messiah who would sacrifice His life to pay the full penalty for the sins of those who indicate by faith, that He is their substitute sin bearer.

Scattered throughout the Old Testament, starting in Genesis, God gave His people a series of ongoing messianic prophecies. And in fulfillment of those prophecies, in the fullness of time the Lord Jesus Christ came down to earth to give Himself as the final, once-for-all substitutionary offering for sin. He selflessly and heroically took our place on the cross at Calvary and bore the shame, the disgrace and the punishment that we rightly deserve, because of our sins. As Eugene Peterson so aptly puts it in ‘The Message,’ “God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, KJV)

[John the baptist, who was God’s prophet] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29, KJV)

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV)

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree ….. (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)

BAPTISM PORTRAYS SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE

Besides being a public testimony of the believer’s faith in Christ, Christian baptism is also a symbolic rite that portrays Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice as it applies to the believer. For this reason it was the norm in the primitive church for believers to be baptized immediately after they had come to faith in Christ, and had been spiritually regenerated (Acts 2:41, 8:12, 16:15, 16:33, 18:18, 19:5.)

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4, KJV)

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:12-13, KJV)

As a believer, in undergoing baptism by immersion I symbolically re-enact Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s my way of publicly acknowledging that Christ is my Saviour. To free me from the condemnation of my sin, He became my substitute and took the punishment due to me on Himself, on my behalf. So when He died, it was the same as if I had died — He represented me, so “in Him” I died too. As I go under the waters of baptism, it portrays my death “in Him” to the penalty of the Law, as well as to the sinful fleshly life. When He arose from the grave, He arose as my substitute: It was the same as if I had arisen. So as I rise up out of the water, it portrays my resurrection “in Christ,” to a new life, “in Him.” This is what is known as the exchanged life. Paul describes it as follows:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galations 2:20, KJV)

From the moment of his salvation (i.e. his regeneration or new birth), the life of the believer is intrinsically intertwined with that of His beloved Savior.

THE REASON FOR THE OLD AND THE NEW COVENANTS

Had they fully kept all God’s laws and ordinances provided under the Old Covenant, the Israelites would have led a lifestyle that fulfilled God’s requirements for righteousness. But the sad fact was that they were unable to do this. In spite of having God’s laws, as well as His guidance and protection, they still kept falling into sin. The continuous pall of smoke arising from the sacrificial altar where they burned their sin offerings bore mute testimony to this fact.

The problem was not with God’s laws, but with mankind. His laws are good, but we are a fallen people. And try as we may, we cannot live up to His standards of righteousness. Not for long, anyway. No matter how hard man has tried he has never ever been able to overcome his tendency to sin in thought, word and deed.

Reformation, education and social upliftment don’t do the trick either, because the problem is not our environment, lack of opportunities or education; it is our fallen “selves.” Pogo hit the nail on the head when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And as Dr. McGee so aptly put it, “You can take the man out of the slum, but you can’t take the slum out of the man.” It is a sad fact of life that countries enjoying a high standard of living, low unemployment, and excellent educational opportunities, still have overflowing prison cells.

The apostle Paul described his frustrations at one stage with his own personal battle to live a holy life, complaining that he kept doing the things he knew he shouldn’t do and really didn’t want himself to do. And that although in his mind he knew that God’s ways were good and right, he kept straying from them. (Romans 7:7-25).

The Bible makes it clear that because of our fallen natures we do not have it within ourselves to live according to God’s standards of righteousness. In order to bring mankind to the realization of the gravity of his situation and the dilemma he faces, God put into effect the Old Covenant of Law. And as we have seen, even although the Israelites were God’s chosen nation and enjoyed all the privileges and advantages that this entailed, they still failed miserably in their attempts to keep the His righteous laws fully.

That was because Laws and Ordinances didn’t have the power to save anyone. They merely declared the holiness of God and revealed the depravity of mankind. But then they were never intended to save. The epistle of Galations explains that God merely used the Old Covenant of Law as a teacher, to show fallen mankind his utter inability to live according to His standards of righteousness. This in turn revealed his desperate need for a Saviour:

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (Galations 3:21-25, KJV)

As Lehman Strauss says in his ‘Doctrine of Salvation,’ “The idea of attaining salvation through self-effort and good works is a fundamental characteristic of human nature. But try as hard as one will, he cannot remove the guilt and penalty of his own sins.”

For this reason, in His wisdom and mercy, God has provided a way of salvation through Christ, under the New Covenant of Grace, that was tailor-made for the fallenness of man and caters for every eventuality and possibility. Solely because of God’s undeserved mercy towards us, whosoever trusts in Christ will receive forgiveness of sins, freedom from guilt and reconciliation with God.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1, KJV)

THE CONSEQUENCES OF MORMON SALVATION

In spite of the clear and consistent teachings in the Bible on the forgiveness of our sins through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the LDS Church has deliberately led their membership away from the way of salvation that God Himself has laid down for us, and has decreed that Mormons must earn the right to their own salvation. They insist that this is far better than the way of grace that God Himself has provided. And in spite of the fact that God has proved conclusively that man couldn’t keep the Laws and Ordinances that they already had, the LDS has added more of their own.

Mormons need to ask themselves where their teaching came from, because it directly contradicts everything that God has taught us about salvation throughout the entire Bible. So it couldn’t have come from Him.

Just as the apostle Paul knew, Mormons also know deep down in their hearts that their lives don’t come up to God’s holy standards. But they placate themselves with the knowledge that going to the second degree of glory after they die won’t be so bad. After all, they have been taught that even the lowest degree of glory is more beautiful than anything they could ever imagine.

However, the LDS story of the three degrees of glory is not the way it’s going to be. They are the deceptions of a false prophet. God never ever gives His prophets revelations that contradict what He has already revealed to us. He is not a God of confusion. His Word is truth, and the main ingredient in truth is its consistency. It never ever changes. Nor is it contradictory. And God’s Word, the Bible very clearly teaches that there are only two final destinations after we die. We will either go to the place where Christ and God are, which is called heaven, or else we will be consigned to eternal separation from both the presence and the influence of God in a place called hell.

Heaven will consist only of folk who have elected to follow God’s ways, including His way of salvation from sin. Those in hell will be folk who would rather do things their own way. And God will allow them this right, eternally, but not in His kingdom of heaven. After all, if those who insisted on doing things their own way instead of God’s way were allowed into heaven, it would eventually become more like hell, wouldn’t it?

It’s not God’s desire that anyone should be end up in hell. But if we choose to spurn His way of salvation in preference to our own ideas, then we will we will end up facing His judgment.

Mormons need to give serious thought to the unlikelihood of their being able to earn the right to the forgiveness of their own sins, in the light of what the Bible reveals; as well as to the eternal ramifications of their choice; bearing in mind that the Bible clearly teaches only two destinations after death — heaven or hell.

The following articles explain the basics of the biblical way of salvation and the error in the LDS teaching on the three degrees of glory:

What is Biblical Salvation?

Biblical Salvation and the way of Christ

The Three Degrees of Glory

You are welcome to contact the writer at the following email address:

reply@bibtruth.com

Copyright 2008 by Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

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

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Lies I Told as a Mormon Missionary
by Loren Franck

The Bible predicts a dreadful fate for liars. For instance, while banished on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John saw that “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Similarly, the beloved disciple writes, liars are doomed to an eternity outside of God’s presence (Revelation 22:15). Because Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), lying is extremely serious sin.

As a full-time Mormon missionary from 1975 to 1977, I lied for the church countless times. Like my colleagues in the South Dakota-Rapid City Mission, which served the Dakotas and adjacent areas, I spoke truthfully about my background, but touted many Mormon teachings that contradict the Bible. After my mission ended, however, I examined these doctrines more closely. The harder I tried to reconcile the contradictions, the more evident they became. So, after extensive prayer and study, I resigned my church membership in 1984. Cheated and betrayed, I lacked spiritual life for the next 17 years. But God, knowing those who are His (John 10:14; 2 Timothy 2:19), drew me to Christ (John 6:44) and saved me in 2001. My spiritual emptiness was replaced by the abundant life only the Savior can give (John 10:10). And now, like millions of Christians worldwide, I have everlasting life through my faith in Him (John 3:36; 6:47).

I can’t remember all of my missionary lies. Some were small, others grandiose, but all were false and misleading. Here are ten I’ll never forget.

1. We’re Not Trying to Convert You

Of all my lies, this was the most frequent. I learned it well while in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which was my first assignment. A standard door-to-door proselyting pitch began with, “We represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Interrupting, many people said they had their own religion. “Oh, we’re not trying to convert you,” I responded. “We’re sharing a message for all faiths.”

But Mormon missionaries have one overriding goal, and that’s to bring converts into the church. Clearly, this was the purpose of my mission. I didn’t trade the Southern California sunshine for the Dakota snow merely to build interfaith relations. My calling was to teach the church-approved missionary lessons and then baptize the people I taught.

2. The Bible is Insufficient

According to their eighth Article of Faith, Mormons accept the Bible as the word of God only when it’s translated correctly. How convenient for a missionary. When a non-Mormon’s interpretation of scripture differed from mine, I frequently blamed faulty Bible translation. And since I believed the Bible was missing “many plain and precious things,” as the Book of Mormon claims in 1 Nephi 13:28-29, I urged prospective converts not to trust it completely.

And yet, Mormon proof texts had few translation problems. Throughout my mission, I used only those Bible verses that steered prospects away from their church and toward Mormonism. But what kind of Christian believes that an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God gave mankind an inadequate version of His word. Actually, the Bible is more than sufficient. With its 66 books, 1,189 chapters and nearly 740,000 words, it’s the divine road map to eternal life through Jesus Christ.

3. We’re the Only True Christians

For decades, the Mormon Church has tried to blend with mainstream Christianity. Accordingly, during my mission a quarter-century ago, I worked hard to convince prospects that Mormons believe in the biblical Jesus. But Paul warned of deceivers who would lure Christians away from “the simplicity that is in Christ.” These false teachers preached “another Jesus” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11: 3-4) and were accursed (see Galatians 1:8-9). How interesting that Paul also cautions against false apostles, such as those in the Mormon Church (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

So which Jesus and gospel do Mormons preach? While a missionary, I taught that Christ was the firstborn spirit child of the Father in a premortal life. (The remainder of humanity was born as spirits later in this “pre-existence.”) But I didn’t tell prospects this was a literal birth, the result of literal fathering, as Mormon prophets and apostles have claimed. If asked, I taught that the devil was born as one of God’s noble spirit sons during the pre-existence, but had rebelled and started a war in heaven.

Consistent with Mormon doctrine, then, Christ and Satan are spirit brothers. But the Bible teaches that Christ is God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; John 1:1), that He has always been God (Psalm 90:2), and that He always will be God (Hebrews 13:8). Born into mortality some 2,000 years ago, Jesus is “God… manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). He is far grander and holier than “our Elder Brother,” as Mormons dub Him. Jesus and Satan aren’t spirit brothers, and true Christians don’t believe such blasphemy.

4. We’re the Only True Church

I usually told this lie during the first of seven 30-minute missionary lessons, which presented the Joseph Smith story. According to our script, Smith prayed in 1820 about which church to join. He claimed the Father and Son appeared and told him that all Christian churches of the day were wrong. Smith said he was forbidden to join any of them, that their creeds were abominable and their professors all corrupt. “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,” the Lord allegedly added. “They teach for doctrines the commandments of men” (Joseph Smith — History, verse 19). In subsequent lessons, I told prospects that Mormonism is the true church God restored through Smith.

But the Bible says such a restoration was unnecessary. Admittedly, there was partial apostasy after Christ’s resurrection, but never a complete falling away. In fact, shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18). During my mission, however, I argued that the gates of hell did prevail against Christ’s church.

Shortly after renouncing Mormonism, I learned a scriptural death blow to notions of universal apostasy. Addressing Ephesian believers 30 years after the Ascension, the Apostle Paul writes, “Unto [God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:21). God received glory in the Christian church from the time of Paul’s writing to the present day, and He will receive such glory throughout all succeeding generations. Therefore, the church must exist from Paul’s day throughout eternity. This annihilates Mormon claims of complete apostasy and makes restoration of Christ’s church impossible.

5. We Have a Living Prophet

Whether in wintry Winnipeg or the balmy Black Hills of Rapid City, I criticized Christians because their church lacked a living prophet. Mormons claim the true church must have one. My favorite Bible proof text to back this claim was Amos 3:7, which reads, “Surely, the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

When prospective converts remained skeptical of living prophets, I quoted Ephesians 4:11-14, which apparently requires living apostles and prophets until believers unify in the faith and understand Christ completely. However, writing in the past tense, Paul is actually referring to apostles and prophets of Jesus’ day. Otherwise, verse 11 would read that the Lord “is giving” or “will give” apostles and prophets. Of course, God did reveal His will through Old Testament prophets, as Amos 3:7 affirms. But for the last 2,000 years, He has spoken to believers through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2).

The truth about Mormonism’s living prophets is further illuminated in Deuteronomy 18:22. “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord,” the scripture reads, “if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” Isaiah 8:20 contains a similar warning: “To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

False prophets who led ancient Israel astray received the death penalty (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20), and all who profess to be living prophets should consider the consequences. Mormon prophets might appear grandfatherly and sincere, but they’re not God’s living oracles. Since the Mormon Church was founded in 1830, its prophets have uttered a striking number of false prophecies. (See chapter 14 of Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s “The Changing World of Mormonism.”)

6. The Book of Mormon is Scripture

Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth, adding that man would become closer to God by following its precepts than by obeying any other book (“History of the Church,” Vol. 4, p. 461). Replace “Book of Mormon” with “the Bible” and Smith would have told the truth.

When teaching missionary lessons, I boldly maintained that the Book of Mormon is scripture. I spent myriad hours convincing prospects that it’s a sacred record of Christ’s activities in the western hemisphere. Yet many Christians I contacted realized the book “borrows” heavily from the Bible and other sources. And in stark contrast to the Old and New Testaments, virtually no archaeological and anthropological evidence supports the Book of Mormon. Why not? Because it’s fiction. When Christians want to read scripture, they turn to the Bible.

7. You’re Saved By Works

More than any other Mormon lie, this undermines Christ’s atonement, which is the most sacred doctrine of the Bible. Mormons usually equate salvation with resurrection. Likewise, they refer to eternal life as “exaltation.” I did both while teaching prospective converts. I relished the church’s third Article of Faith, which claims, “through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”

Trying to bridge the doctrinal divide between Mormons and Christians, I emphasized that salvation is by grace “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). What classic Mormon double-talk. Unmistakably, the Bible says eternal life is a gift from God (Romans 5:15; 6:23) to those who believe in Christ (John 6:47), call upon Him (Romans 10:13) and receive Him as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). Contrary to Mormon dogma, this gift cannot be awarded meritoriously.

Equally clear is that salvation results from God’s grace through each believer’s faith, not from obeying a checklist of laws and ordinances (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5). All who confess Christ and believe in Him from the heart shall be saved (Romans 10:8-13).

Most Mormons know little about imputed righteousness — and neither did I during my mission. Essentially, as Christians know, the Lord credits believers with His perfect righteousness and charges their transgressions to His sinless spiritual “account.” Paul explains this doctrine masterfully in Romans 4 and 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

When teaching the Mormon gospel, though, I emphatically denied imputed righteousness, which is the essence of the atonement. I stressed that eternal life is earned by perfect obedience to all gospel laws and ordinances. Yet the Bible says that “there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). As the Psalmist writes: “They are all gone aside. They are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3; compare Romans 3:10-18).

How many Mormons perfectly obey all gospel laws? None. As the Bible asserts, even the church’s current prophet can’t keep God’s laws thoroughly enough to merit heaven (1 John 1:8). And if he can’t, how can anyone else?

8. People Can Become Gods

Given its explosive nature, this tenet was rarely shared with prospective converts. Missionaries try to entice people into Mormonism gradually, and presenting the doctrine of plural gods is seldom the best way. Several contacts learned the concept from their pastors or read about it on their own, but it was new to most prospects.

“Our Father in heaven loves us so much,” I often said, parroting our lesson script, “that He provided a plan [Mormonism] for us to become like him.” I didn’t mention that Mormon godhood includes spirit procreation throughout eternity. Neither did I hint that the Mormon God was formerly a mortal man, had lived on an earth like ours, and had earned salvation through good works. However, such polytheism strips God of glory and sovereignty. No wonder the Bible condemns it so strongly. When discussing plural gods on my mission, I sidestepped Isaiah 44:8 whenever possible. “Is there a God beside me?” the passage reads. “Yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Other verses amply testify that only one God exists in the universe (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; 45:21-23).

When confronted with these scriptures as a missionary, I usually countered with, “Those verses mean we worship only one God, that there’s only one God to us.” And if that failed, I lied further: “The Bible isn’t clear on this subject. Fortunately, the Lord told Joseph Smith that mortals can become gods.” Smith might have had a revelation, but not from God.

9. You’re Born Again By Becoming a Mormon

One of my favorite missionary scriptures was John 3:5. “Verily, verily I say unto you,” the Savior explains, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” To Mormon missionaries everywhere, being born of water means baptism into the Mormon Church. Birth of the Spirit refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost, allegedly bestowed after baptism.

Unfortunately, during my mission, I didn’t know what it means to be born again. I completely misinterpreted Paul’s declaration that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17; compare Galatians 6:15). According to the Bible, believers in Christ are reborn spiritually as sons and daughters of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-2). They experience a complete Christian conversion of mind and heart. Membership in a church organization might foster social activity and fellowship, but it’s not spiritual rebirth.

10. Temple Marriage is Required for Eternal Life

I participated in well over 100 Mormon temple ceremonies from 1975 to 1982, including my own marriage in 1977. Based heavily on freemasonry, temple rites are the church’s most carefully guarded secrets. And “celestial marriage,” which supposedly weds men and women eternally, is probably the most important temple ordinance. While a missionary, I frequently told prospects they needed temple marriage to gain eternal life.

Yet the Lord says marriage between men and women is irrelevant to the hereafter. “The children of this age marry, and are given in marriage,” He declares. “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage… for they are equal unto the angels….” (Luke 20:34-36.)

The Bible does teach eternal marriage, but not the Mormon version. The union is between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His collective body of believers, who are the bride (Matthew 25:1-13; John 3:29; Romans 7:4; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

False Testimony

I close with a few words about “testimony,” which is a missionary’s emergency cord. When I couldn’t rebut an antagonistic statement scripturally, I fell back on my testimony. For instance, while proselyting in Grand Forks, North Dakota, I was once asked where the Bible mentions the secret undergarments Mormons wear. Caught off guard, I admitted that the Bible says nothing about them. I could merely testify that God revealed the need for these garments through living prophets. But my testimony wasn’t based on scripture or other hard evidence. Rather, it was founded on personal revelation, which is extremely subjective. Essentially, my testimony was nothing more than a good feeling about the church and its teachings. In Mormon parlance, it was a “burning in the bosom.” But burning or not, it wasn’t from God.

If you’re a Christian, I urge you to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). That faith, the pathway to heaven, is found only in the biblical Jesus (John 14:6). But if you’re a Mormon, it’s time to prayerfully re-examine your beliefs. Do you know you have everlasting life? No. Can you obey all the commandments perfectly and earn a place in heaven? You can’t.

I regret the many lies I told during my Mormon mission. When I received Christ, though, I confessed them (and my other sins) and received His forgiveness (1 John 1:9; Colossians 1:13-14). “He that heareth my word,” Christ assures us, “and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Loren Franck lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Verlette, and their young son.

http://www.mrm.org/topics/evangelism-issues/ten-lies-i-told-a-mormon-missionary

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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.

================================================================

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

================================================================

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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THE MORMON TEMPLE

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.

BLOODY OATHS

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).

OATH OF VENGEANCE

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.

WORK FOR THE DEAD

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)

SACRED UNDERWEAR

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).

RIDICULE OF PREACHERS

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)

CONCLUSION

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.”

http://www.challengemin.org/temple.html

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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.)

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THE FIVE SKILLS OF A MORMON APOLOGIST

) 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.

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_apologists.html

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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.

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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.

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_kirtlandbank.html

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

MrM.org

Introduction

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).

Conclusion

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.

http://www.mrm.org/topics/reviews/early-mormonism-and-magic-world-view

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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.

Ammonites-

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.

Mulek

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.

Sidon

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

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names.asp

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.

Chemish

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.

Jared

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!

Amaleki

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 LDS.org. 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?

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names2.asp

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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.

http://www.heebmagazine.com/blog/view/1170/1

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