But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you
a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him
be accursed" (Galatians 1:8 NASB).
The founder of Mormonism, or The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latterday Saints, Joseph Smith, Jr., was born on December 23,
1805 in Sharon, Vermont. Smith was the fourth of ten children of
Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith. In 1817 the family moved to Palmyra,
New York (near present day Rochester).
Most of the members of the Smith family soon joined the
Presbyterian Church, but young Joseph remained undecided. His
argument was that all the strife and tension among the various
denominations made him question which denomination was right. It
was this conflict that set the stage for Josephs alleged
The First Vision
In 1820 Joseph allegedly received a vision that became the basis
for the founding of the Mormon Church. According to Mormon
history, the background of Joseph's first vision was a revival
that broke out in the spring of 1820, in Palmyra, New York:
Indeed, the whole district of the country seemed affected by it,
and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious
parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the
people, some crying, "Lo, here!" and others, "Lo,
there!" Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some
for the Presbyterian and some for the Baptist (Joseph Smith, The
Pearl of Great Price, 2:5).
This led to Josephs inquiry of the Lord as to which of
these denominations was right. Smith reported the incident as
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of
all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No
sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be
able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in
the light, which of all the sects was right and which I should
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; that: "they draw near to me with their
lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines
the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they
deny the power thereof" (Joseph Smith, The Pearl of Great
Price, 2:18, 19).
The Second Vision
Joseph then recounts a second vision he had on September 21,
1823, in which he claims:
... a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for
his feet did not touch the floor .... Not only was his robe
exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond
description.... [He] said unto me that he was a messenger sent
from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni;
that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had
for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or
that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates,
giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent,
and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the
fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as
delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; Also, that
there were two stones in silver bows-and these stones, fastened
to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and
Thummirn -deposited with the plates; and the possession and use
of these stones were what constituted "seers" in
ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the
purpose of translating the book.... While he was conversing with
me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I
could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so
clearly and distinctly that I knew the place when I visited it
.... Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario County, New
York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated
of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not
far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the
plates, deposited in a stone box .... I looked in, and there
indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the
breastplate, as stated by the messenger .... I made an attempt to
take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger, and was again
informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet
arrived, neither would it, until four years from that time; but
he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year
from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I
should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining
the plates .... on the twenty-second day of September, one
thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at
the end of another year to the place where they were deposited,
the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this
charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should
let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should
be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve
them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should
be protected (The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, 2:50-54).
Obeying the Heavenly Messenger
Joseph then moved to his father-in-law's house in Harmony,
Pennsylvania where, with supposedly divine help, he began to copy
the characters off the plates and translate them. The publication
of the translation of the plates was financed by a New York
farmer named Martin Harris who was told by Smith that the writing
on the plates was "reformed Egyptian." The translation
was finally completed and placed on sale on March 26, 1830.
A little over a week
later, on April 6, 1830, at Fayette, New York, "the church
of Christ" was officially organized with six members. The
name was eventually changed to the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. The number of members increased rapidly and a
group of them moved to Kirtland, Ohio (near present-day
Cleveland). It was here that Joseph supervised the first printing
of the divine revelations he had received.
First known as the Book
of Commandments, the work has undergone significant and numerous
changes and now constitutes one of the Mormon sacred works,
retitled Doctrine and Covenants. Smith also worked on a revision
("divinely aided") of the King James Version of the
Although the Mormon
church began to grow in numbers while expanding westward, it was
not without persecution. Battles were fought between Mormons and
their non-Mormon counterparts in Far West, Missouri, a town
founded by the Mormons. Here Smith was imprisoned along with some
other Mormon leaders.
After escaping, he and his followers moved to Illinois to a town
Smith named Nauvoo, where he organized a small army and gave
himself the title of Lieutenant-General. During this time, the
Mormons were busily constructing a temple and evangelizing the
When a local paper, the
Nauvoo Expositor, began publishing anti-Mormon material, Smith
ordered the press destroyed and every copy of the paper burned.
This act led to Smith's arrest and imprisonment. Released and
then rearrested, Smith was taken to jail in Carthage, Illinois
along with his brother Hyrum.
On June 27, 1844, a mob
of about 200 people, their faces blackened to avoid recognition,
stormed the jail and shot and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
Joseph did not die without a fight. According to the church's own
account he shot several of the mob members with a gun he had (see
History of the Church, 6:617-18). The Mormons, however,
considered Joseph Smith a martyr for the cause.
After the death of Joseph Smith the leadership went to Brigham
Young, the President of the Twelve Apostles, who convinced the
great majority of Mormons that he was their rightful successor.
Young led the group
westward in a journey which saw many hardships including Indian
attacks, exposure and internal strife. On July 24, 1847, they
arrived at Salt Lake Valley in Utah which became the headquarters
of the Mormon church. By the time of Young's death in 1877, the
members numbered approximately 150,000. Today, the church has
over four million members worldwide.
The Claims of Mormonism
The Mormons claim they are the restoration of the true church
established by Jesus Christ. It is not Protestant or Catholic,
but claims, rather, to be the only true church. "If it had
not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no
salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670).
without accepting Joseph Smith ... If Joseph Smith was verily a
prophet, and if he told the truth... then this knowledge is of
the most vital importance to the entire world. No man can reject
that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences,
for he can not enter the Kingdom of God" (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, pp. 189-190).
The claims of Joseph
Smith and his followers are clear. The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints claims it is God's true church on earth while
all the others are wrong. Commenting on Joseph Smith's first
vision, Dr. Walter Martin puts the matter into perspective:
With one "Special Revelation" the Mormon Church expects
its intended converts to accept the totally unsupported testimony
of a fifteen-year-old boy that nobody ever preached Jesus
Christ's gospel from the close of the Apostolic age until the
"Restoration" through Joseph Smith, Jr., beginning in
1820! We are asked to believe that the Church Fathers for the
first five centuries did not proclaim the true gospel -that
Origen, Justin, Iraneaus, Jerome, Eusebius, Athanasius,
Chrysostom, and then later Thomas Aquinas, Huss, Luther, Calvin,
Zwingli, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Knox, Wesley, Whitefield, and a vast
army of faithful servants of Jesus Christ all failed where Joseph
Smith Jr., was to succeed!
With one dogmatic
assertion, Joseph pronounced everybody wrong, all Christian
theology an abomination, and all professing Christians corrupt
-all in the name of God! How strange for this to be presented as
restored Christianity, when Jesus Christ specifically promised
that "the gates of Hell" would not prevail against the
church (Matthew 16:18)! In Mormonism we find God contradicting
this statement in a vision to Joseph Smith Jr., some 18 centuries
later! (The Maze of Mormonism, 1978, p. 31).
The Mormons make the claim that they are the "restored
church of Jesus Christ" but the facts totally discount their
Sources of Authority
The Mormon Church has four accepted sacred works: the Bible, the
Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great
Price. The present prophet's words are also a source of
The Mormon articles of faith read, "We believe the Bible to
be the Word of God in so far as it is translated correctly. . *
" (Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, Article 8). The Book of Mormon claims that a
correct translation of the Bible is impossible since the Catholic
Church has taken away from the word of God ". . . many parts
which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the
Lord have they taken away. And all this have they taken away. And
all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of
the Lord" (I Nephi 13:26b, 27).
Orson Pratt, an early
apostle of the Mormon Church, put it this way, "Who knows
that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to
convey the same sense now that it did in the original?"
(Orson Pratt's Works, 1891, p. 218).
Thus the Mormons put
more trust in the other three sacred books, which have escaped
pollution, than they do in the Bible. This opens the door for the
Mormons to add their new non-biblical teachings by claiming they
were doctrines deliberately removed by the Catholic Church. The
claim that the Scriptures have been changed and corrupted
throughout the centuries is totally false (see Answers, Here's
Life Publishers, 1980, pp. 4-6).
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is also considered inspired: "We also
believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God" (Articles
of Faith, Section Eight). The Book of Mormon is supposedly an
account of the original inhabitants of America to whom Christ
appeared after His resurrection.
Doctrine and Covenants
Doctrine and Covenants is a record of 138 revelations revealing
some of Mormonism's distinctive doctrines such as baptism for the
dead and celestial marriage.
The Pearl of Great Price
The Pearl of Great Price contains the Book of Moses, which is
roughly equivalent to the first six chapters of Genesis, and The
Book of Abraham, a translation of an Egyptian Papyrus that later
proved to be fraudulent. It also contains an extract from Joseph
Smith's translation of the Bible; extracts from the History of
Joseph Smith, which is his autobiography; and the Articles of
The Living Prophets
The living prophet also occupies an important part in present-day
Mormonism. Ezra Taft Benson, who at the time of this writing is
President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, said in a speech
on February 26, 1980, at Brigham Young University, that the
living prophet (head of the church) is "more vital to us
than the standard works." This echoed what was given to the
ward teachers (similar to Christian Education adult teachers) in
Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively
or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophets,
seers, and revelators of the Church is cultivating the spirit of
apostasy ... Lucifer ... wins a great victory when he can get
members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to do
their own thinking... "When our leaders speak, the thinking
has been done. When they propose a plan -it is God's plan. When
they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they
give directions, it should mark the end of the controversy
(Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354).
The Bible Says
The Bible contradicts the Mormon reliance on multiple
contradictory revelations. While the Mormon scriptures contradict
each other and the Bible, the Bible never contradicts itself and
the God of the Bible never contradicts Himself. Hebrews 1:1-3
tells us what the source of our knowledge of God comes from: God,
after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many
portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in
His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also
He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the
exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the
word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat
down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...
Any message that purports to be from God must agree with the
message already brought by Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the Old
Testament (Luke 24:27). Eternal life comes from the works and
gift of Jesus Christ, not from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or
any other false Mormon prophet (John 20:31). Proverbs 30:5, 6
warns those who try to add to God's Word, saying, "Every
word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in
Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be
proved a liar."
The Mormon Doctrine of God
"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and His Son Jesus
Christ, and in the Holy Ghost" (Joseph Smith, The Pearl of
Great Price, Articles of Faith, p. 59).
The above statement leaves the impression that Mormons believe
the biblical doctrine of the Holy Trinity-namely, there is one
God who manifests himself in three persons, the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, and these three persons are the one God.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. The Mormon
doctrine of God is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. The
Mormons believe in many gods and teach that God himself was once
a man. Moreover, Mormon males have the possibility of attaining
godhood. Joseph Smith made this clear in The King Follett
I am going to inquire after God: for I want you all to know him
and be familiar with him ... I will go back to the beginning
before the world was, to show you what kind of a being God is.
God was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits
enthroned in yonder heavens ... I say, if you were to see him
today, you would see him like a man in a form like yourselves in
all the person, image, and very form of a man.
I am going to tell you
how God came to be God. 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.
It is the first
principle of the gospel to know for certainty the character of
God and to know that we may converse with him as one man with
another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God
himself, the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as
Jesus Christ did.
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 (Joseph Smith Jr.,
King Follett Discourse, pp. 8-10).
Other statements by Smith and Young reveal further the Mormon
concept of God:
In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the
Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create and
populate the world and people it (Joseph Smith, Journal of
The Father has a body of
flesh and bones as tangible as man's (Joseph Smith, Doctrine and
Lorenzo Snow repeated
Joseph Smith's words about the Mormon idea of God,
As Man is, God was, As
God, is, Man may become. (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse,
p. 9, note by Lorenzo Smith).
The Mormon writer Milton Hunter came to the obvious conclusion:
Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that
God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a
school earth similar to that through which we are passing. He
became God-an exalted being (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through
the Ages, p. 104).
Smith's teaching on the nature of God not only contradicts the
Bible, it also contradicts the Book of Mormon!
And Zeezrom said unto him: 'Thou sayest that there is a true and
living God?' And Amulek said: 'Yea, there is a true and living
God.' Now Zeezrom said: 'Is there more than one God?' And he
answered, 'No!' (Alma 11:26-29) See also Alma 11:21, 22; 2 Nephi
11:7; 2 Nephi 31:21; 3 Nephi 11:27, 36; Mosiah 15:1-5, Mosiah
The Bible repeatedly
affirms that there is only one true God. Isaiah 43:10
emphatically declares, "You are My witnesses, declares the
Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may
know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there
was no God formed, and there will be none after Me." In the
New Testament we are assured that though there are false gods and
idols worshipped by men, they are worthless ".
there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is
no God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4).
The Mormon Church teaches that Jesus Christ was a preexistent
spirit like the rest of us. Even though we are all literally
brothers and sisters of Jesus, He is set apart from the rest of
us by being the firstborn of God's spirit-children. "And
now, verily I say unto you, I was in the beginning with the
Father, and am the Firstborn; and all those who are begotten
through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the
church of the Firstborn. Ye were also in the beginning with the
Father" (Doctrine and Covenants 93:21-23).
In Mormonism Jesus is not the unique Son of God:
His humanity is to be recognized as real and ordinary -whatever
happened to Him may happen to any one of us. The Divinity of
Jesus and the Divinity of all other noble and stately souls, in
so far as they, too, have been influenced by a spark of Deity
-can be recognized as manifestations of the Divine (Elder B. H.
Roberts citing Sir Oliver Lodge in Joseph Smith, King Follett
Discourse, p. 11 note).
According to Mormonism, man is a preexistent soul who takes his
body at birth in this world.
Man is a spirit clothed with a tabernacle. The intelligent part
of which was never created or made, but existed eternally -man
was also in the beginning with God (Joseph Fielding Smith,
Progess of Man). Speaking of man, John Widtsoe said, "He
existed before he came to earth: He was with God in the
beginning! Man's destiny is divine. Man is an eternal being. He
also is 'everlasting to everlasting... "' (Varieties of
American Religion, p. 132).
Contrary to Mormon theology, Jesus Christ is the unique Son of
God. John 1:14 declares that He "became flesh, and dwelt
among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten
from the Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus Christ
reflected the power of God while on earth that no other man could
ever achieve: "He is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of all creation" (Colossians 1:15). To think that
we can one day be God like Jesus Christ and the Father is
blasphemous. There is an eternal chasm between the Creator and
the created. The Bible soundly condemns those who would think
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory
of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible
man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to
impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For
they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and
served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed
forever. Amen (Romans 1:22-25).
Articles 2 and 3 of the Mormon Articles of Faith spell out their
doctrine of salvation:
No. 2: "We believe that men shall be punished for their own
sins and not for Adam's transgression."
No. 3: "We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all
mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of
James Talmage in his work Articles of Faith explains what this
The extent of the Atonement is universal, applying alike to all
descendants of Adam. Even the unbeliever, the heathen and the
child who dies before reaching the years of discretion all are
redeemed by the Saviour's self-sacrifice from the individual
consequences of the fall ... of the saved not all will be exalted
to the higher glories. No one can be admitted to any order of
glory, in short, no soul can be saved until justice has been
satisfied for violated law ... In the kingdom of God there are
numerous levels of gradations provided for those who are worthy
of them (James Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 85, 91).
Thus in Mormonism there is a general salvation for all mankind
and an individual salvation for each person. There is, to the
Mormon, no such thing as hell or everlasting punishment. Everyone
will eventually go to one of the three levels of glory: the
celestial kingdom which is reserved for the Melchizedek
priesthood members who will become gods; the terrestrial kingdom,
for those who failed the requirements of exaltation; and lastly,
the telestial kingdom, for those who have no testimony of Christ.
I want you to tell them and tell all the great men of the earth,
that the Latterday Saints are to be their redeemer... Believe in
God, believe in Jesus, and believe in Joseph his prophet, and
Brigham his successor, and I add, If you will believe in your
hearts and confess with your mouth Jesus is the Christ, that
Joseph was a prophet, and that Brigham is his successor, you
shall be saved in the kingdom of God... No man or woman in this
dispensation will ever enter into the Celestial Kingdom of God
without the consent of Joseph Smith ... every man and woman must
have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to
their entrance into the mansions where God and Christ are - I can
not go there without his consent ... He reigns there as supreme,
a being in his sphere, capacity, calling, as God does in Heaven
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:229, 7:289).
Salvation according to the Bible is a free gift from Jesus Christ
our Lord. Ephesians 2:8-10 declares, "For by grace you have
been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the
gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in
them." When the people asked Jesus, "What shall we do,
that we may work the works of God?" (John 6:28), Jesus
replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him
whom He has sent" (v. 29). There is no way to earn
salvation. One's good works are testimony to the accomplished
fact of one's salvation, purchased not by works, but by the blood
of Jesus Christ. We are saved through Christ's sacrifice on the
cross for our sins, not because of anything we can do ourselves.
Hebrews 7:27 says that when Jesus offered Himself for man's sin
it was "once for all".
Changes in the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon according to Joseph Smith, Jr., is "the
most correct of any book on earth" (Joseph Smith, Jr.,
History of the Church, 4:461). However, this "most"
correct book has, from the 1830 edition to the modern edition,
undergone some 3,000 changes.
And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea even my
servant Joseph Smith, Jr., might have power to translate through
the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon
(Doctrine and Covenants, Section 1, verse 29). And gave him
(Joseph Smith, Jr.) power from on high, by the means which were
before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon (Doctrine and
Covenants, Section 20, verse 8).
The two quotations from the Doctrine and Covenants, according to
Mormon belief, are revelations given through Joseph Smith, Jr.,
from the Lord and they confirm the authenticity and genuineness
of the Book of Mormon. The first quotation is from a revelation
dated November 1, 1831, well over a year after the Book of Mormon
was published in early 1830. The revelations claim the Book of
Mormon was translated by the power of God, that Joseph Smith was
a servant used of God to translate the Book of Mormon using means
that God had prepared for translating and that well over a year
after its publication, the Lord affirmed the authenticity of the
Book of Mormon. Yet a comparison of the latest edition with the
first edition (the 1830 edition that was supposed to be
translated by the power of God) will show the more than 3,000
Original (1830) Edition Modern Version
King Benjamin had a gift from God , whereby he could
interpret such engravings
King Mosiah had a
gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings (p.176,
Behold the virgin which thou seest, is the Mother of God
Behold the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of
the Son of God
(1 Nephi 11:18)
that the LAMB OF God is the eternal Father and the Saviour
of the world
that the lamb of God is the Son
of the Eternal Father
(1 Nephi 13:40)
The Book of Mormon and Archaeology
Mormon scholars can be frustrated and embarrassed understandably
when they realize that after all the years of work by Mormon and
No Book of Mormon cities have been located.
No Book of Mormon names have been found in New World
No genuine inscriptions have been found in Hebrew in
No genuine inscriptions have been found in America in
Egyptian or anything similar to Egyptian, which could correspond
to Joseph Smith's "reformed Egyptian."
No ancient copies of Book of Mormon scriptures have been
No ancient inscriptions of any kind in America, which
indicate that the ancient inhabitants had Hebrew or Christian
beliefs, have been found.
No mention of Book of Mormon persons, nations, or places
have been found.
No artifact of any kind, which demonstrates the Book of
Mormon is true, has been found.
Rather than finding supportive evidence, Mormon scholars
have been forced to retreat from traditional interpretations of
Book of Mormon statements (Hal Hougey, Archaeology and the Book
of Mormon, p. 12).
Dr. Gleason Archer has done an excellent job in listing a few of
the anachronisms and historical inaccuracies in the Mormon
scriptures (A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp. 501-504):
In 1 Nephi 2:5-8, it is stated that the river Laman emptied into
the Red Sea. Yet neither in historic nor prehistoric times has
there been any river in Arabia at all that emptied into the Red
Sea. Apart from an ancient canal which once connected the Nile
with the coast of the Gulf of Suez, and certain wadis which
showed occasional rainfall in ancient times, there were no
streams of any kind emptying into the Red Sea on the western
shore above the southern border of Egypt.
Second Nephi states that only the family of Lehi, Ishmael, and
Zoram were left in Jerusalem in 600 B.C. to migrate to the New
World. These totaled fifteen persons, plus three or four girls,
or no more than twenty in all. Yet in less than thirty years,
according to 2 Nephi 5:28, they had multiplied so startlingly
that they divided up into two nations (2 Nephi 5:5-6, 21).
Indeed, after arriving in America in 589 B.C., they are stated to
have built a temple like Solomon's.
Now Solomon's temple required 153,000 workers and 30,000
overseers (1 Ki. 5:13, 15; 6:1, 38; 9:20,21; 2 Ch 2:2, 17,18) in
seven and a half years. It is difficult to see how a few dozen
unskilled workers (most of whom must have been children) could
have duplicated this feat even in the nineteen years they
allegedly did the work. Nor is it clear how all kinds of iron,
copper, brass, silver, and gold could have been found in great
abundance (2 Nephi 5:15) for the erection of this structure back
in the sixth-century B.C. America.
According to Alma 7:10,
Jesus was to be born at Jerusalem (rather than in Bethlehem, as
recorded in Lk. 2:4 and predicted in Mic. 5:2).
Helamen 14:20, 27 states that darkness covered the whole earth
for three days at the time of Christ's death (rather than three
hours, as recorded in Mt. 27:45 and Mk. 15:33), or beyond Easter
morning, which would have made it impossible for the woman at the
tomb to tell whether the stone had been rolled away from its
Alma 46:15 indicates
that believers were called "Christians" back in 73 B.C.
rather than at Antioch, as Acts 11:26 informs us. It is difficult
to imagine how anyone could have been labeled Christian so many
decades before Christ was even born.
allegedly written in 6 B.C., quotes John 5:29 as a prior written
source, introducing it by the words, "We read!'It is
difficult to see how a quotation could be cited from a written
source not composed until eight or nine decades after 6 B.C.
Quite numerous are the
instances in which the Mormon scriptures, said to have been in
the possession of the Nephites back in 600 B.C., quote from or
allude to passages or episodes found only in exilic or postexilic
books of the Old Testament. Several examples follow.
1. First Nephi 22:15 states: "For behold, saith the prophet,
the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over
the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that
all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and
the day cometh that they must be burned." Compare this with
Malachi 4:1 (ca. 435 B.C.): "For, behold, the day cometh,
that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that
do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn
them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them
neither root nor branch."
2. Second Nephi 26:9: "But the Son of righteousness shall
appear unto them; and he shall heal them, and they shall have
peace with him, until three generations shall have passed
away." Compare this with Malachi 4:2: "But unto you,
that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with
healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves
of the stall." Note the confusion between Son and Sun, which
could only have originated from their similar sound in the
3. Third Nephi 28:21-22: "And thrice they were cast into a
furnace and received no harm. And twice they were cast into a den
of wild beasts; and behold they did play with the beasts as a
child with a suckling lamb, and received no harm!' Compare this
with Daniel 3 and 6 where such adventures befell Shadrach,
Meshach and Abednego, along with Daniel himself. It is difficult
to understand how these Mormon believers could have had
experiences just like those related in the book of Daniel, which
was not even composed until several decades after their alleged
departure for the New World in 589 B.C. (Daniel could have found
written form only after the fall of Babylon to the Persians in
539 B.C., since it contains at least fifteen Persian loanwords.)
4. Alma 10:2 states that Aminadi "interpreted the writing
which was upon the wall of the temple, which was written by the
finger of God." Surely this is a reminiscence of Daniel's
feat in reading the divine handwriting upon the wall of
Belshazzar's banquet hall in 539 B.C.
Even more remarkable is the abundance of parallels or
word-for-word quotations from the New Testament which are found
in the Book of Mormon, which was allegedly in the possession of
the Nephites back in 600 B.C. Jerald and Sandra Tanner (The Case
Against Mormonism, Vol. 2, Salt Lake City, 1967, pp. 87-102) have
listed no less than 400 clear examples out of a much larger
number that could be adduced; and these serve to establish beyond
all question that the author of the Book of Mormon was actually
well acquainted with the New Testament, and specifically in the
KJV of 1611. A few examples follow:
1. 1 Nephi 4:13: "That one man could perish than that a
nation should ... perish in unbelief." Compare this with
John 11:50: "That one man should die for the people, and
that the whole nation perish not."
2. 1 Nephi 10:8: "Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to
unloose!' Compare this with John 1:27: "Whose shoe's latchet
I am not worthy to unloose."
3. 1 Nephi 10:9: "In Bethabara beyond Jordan ... he should
baptize." Compare this with John 1:28: "In Bethabara
beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing."
4. 1 Nephi 11:22: "The love of God, which sheddeth itself
abroad in the hearts of the children of men' " Compare this
with Romans 5:5: "The love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Ghost."
5. 1 Nephi 11:27: "The Holy Ghost come down out of heaven
and abide upon him in the form of a dove." Compare this with
Luke 3:22: "The Holy Ghost descended in bodily shape like a
dove upon him!'
6. 1 Nephi 14:11: "The whore of all the earth, and she sat
upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among
all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. " Compare this
with Revelation 17:1, 15: "The great whore sitteth upon many
waters ... The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth,
are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
Most interesting is the recently exposed fraud of the so-called
Book of Abraham, part of the Mormon scripture known as The Pearl
of Great Price. This was assertedly translated from an ancient
Egyptian papyrus found in the mummy wrappings of certain mummies
which had been acquired by a certain Michael H. Chandler.
In 1835 Joseph Smith
became very much interested in these papyrus leaves, which he
first saw in Kirtland, Ohio, on July 3, and arranged for the
purchase of both mummies and manuscripts. Believing he had
divinely received the gift of interpreting ancient Egyptian, he
was delighted to find that one of the rolls contained the
writings of Abraham himself, whose signature he had personally
inscribed in the Egyptian language.
In 1842, Smith published
his translation under the title, "The Book of Abraham"
in Times and Seasons. He even included three drawings of the
pictures or vignettes appearing in the manuscript, and
interpreted the meaning of these illustrations: Abraham sitting
upon the throne of Pharaoh, the serpent with walking legs who
tempted Eve in Eden.
For many years this
collection of papyri was lost, but somehow they (or else a
duplicate set of them from ancient timesl were presented to the
Mormon Church by the Metropolitan Art Museum of New York City on
November 27, 1967. This made the translation skill of Joseph
Smith susceptible of objective verification.
The unhappy result was that earlier negative verdicts of scholars
like Theodule Devaria of the Louvre, and Samuel A. B. Mercer of
Western Theological Seminary, and James H. Breasted of the
University of Chicago, and W. F. Flinders Petrie of London
University (who had all been shown Smiths facsimiles) were
clearly upheld by a multitude of present-day Egyptologists.
Their finding was that not a single word of Joseph Smith's
alleged translation bore any resemblance to the contents of this
document. It turned out to be a late, even Ptolemaic, copy in
hieratic script of the Sensen Papyrus, which belongs to the same
genre as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
As John A. Wilson, professor of Egyptology at the University of
Chicago, described it in a published letter written on March 16,
1966, it contains vignettes familiar from the Book of the Dead.
The first illustration shows the god of embalming named Anubis
preparing the body of the deceased for burial, with the soul
hovering over his head in the form of a bird, and the canopic
jars containing the dead man's inwards set beneath his bier.
The third picture shows the deceased led into the presence of
Osiris, the infernal deity who judged the souls of the dead.
(This is what Smith had identified as Abraham sitting on
Pharaoh's throne! 1. Figure 2 was a round disc made of cloth and
jesso and customarily placed as a pillow under the head of a
corpse in the Late Egyptian period.
The accompanying text,
as can be ascertained from other copies of this not uncommon
document, deals with magical spells intended to open the mouth of
the deceased and to prepare him for his audience before Osiris in
the judgment hall of the dead (as set forth in detail in chap.
125 of the Book of the Dead, the Egyptian title of which is P-r m
h-r-w, or, "The Going Forth by Day"). Needless to say,
the completely mistaken concept of Joseph Smith as to his
competence in ancient Egyptian is now clearly demonstrated to be
The Mormon religion contains false prophecies. 2 Nephi 10:7,
speaking of the Jews, predicts, ". . When the day cometh
that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I
covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the
flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance."
The Jews are today back in their land, but do not believe that
Jesus is the Christ. The prophecy is false.
Building the Temple in Zion
Joseph claimed that the Lord told him the Latter-day Saints would
build a temple in Zion (Jackson County, Missouri) during his
generation. Zion would never be removed from its place. This
generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built
unto the Lord ... upon the consecrated spot as I have
appointed" (Doctrine and Covenants, 84:5, 31, September
"Surely Zion is the
city of our God, and surely Zion can not fall, neither be moved
out of place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is
there. . ' " (Doctrine and Covenants, 97:19, August 1833).
These two prophecies
failed since a temple was never built at the
"appointed" place. Moreover, two weeks before Joseph
gave the prophecy that Zion would not be "moved out of her
place" the Mormons were unceremoniously run out of Zion.
Their printing presses were destroyed, and some of their leaders
were tarred and feathered! Joseph was in Kirtland, Ohio at that
time and thus was ignorant of the situation in Jackson County,
Missouri, when he uttered his prophecy. Later on that year Smith
prophesied a return to Zion!
Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her
children are scattered. They that remain and are pure in heart,
shall return and come to their inheritances, they and their
children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste
places of Zion -And all these things that the prophets might be
And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which
I have appointed; neither shall there be any other placed
appointed than that which I have appointed for the work of the
gathering of my saints-Until the day cometh when there is found
no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will
appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the
curtains or the strength of Zion (Doctrine and Covenants
This is yet another false prophecy. It has been about 150 years
since this "revelation" was given and a temple still
has not been built on that site. Joseph said, "There is none
other place appointed" and that it would be built during
"his generation." He has failed all requirements of
being a true prophet.
The God of the Bible never prophesies falsely. What He declares
always comes to pass. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and 18:18-22 gives us
the two best tests of a self-proclaimed prophet. Deuteronomy 13
warns that a prophet, even if his prophecies come true, must lead
you to believe in Jehovah God, the God of the Bible, or he is a
false prophet. One who leads you to follow false gods is a false
prophet and was to be stoned to death under the Old Testament
Deuteronomy 18 warns that a prophet must be right about his
prophecies every single time, or he is not a true prophet of God.
The Mormon prophets fail the biblical tests of a prophet from
God. Their prophecies are not from the Lord, and "the
prophet has spoken presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of
him" (v. 22).
When all the evidence is considered, the Mormon claim to be the
restoration of Jesus Christ's church falls to the ground. We have
taken up the challenge of Brigham Young who said, "Take up
the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it,
and see if it will stand the test" (Journal of Discourses,
Volume 16, p. 46, 1873). Orson Pratt echoed the same sentiment,
"Convince us of our errors of Doctrine, if we have any, by
reason, by logical arguments, or by the Word of God and we will
ever be grateful for the information and you will ever have the
pleasing reflections that you have been instruments in the hands
of God of redeeming your fellow beings" (The Seer, p. 15).
Our conclusion is that when Mormonism is weighed in the balances
it is found wanting.
Aaronic Priesthood -One of the two Mormon priesthoods into which
Mormon leadership is divided. Includes the Presiding Bishopric,
priests, teachers and deacons.
Adam - God - Said to be the God of this earth. Taught by second
president, Brigham Young, now denied by LDS church.
Apostles-In Mormonism there are twelve apostles in the
Melchizedek Priesthood, who are subordinate to the President of
the Mormon Church.
Atonement - Jesus' atonement is not sufficient to cleanse all
sins. Some sins must be atoned for by the individual. Early LDS
teachings said one's own blood was to be spilt for such
Baptism for the Dead-Since LDS believes baptism is necessary for
salvation, even the dead must be baptized by proxy, performed by
Book of Abraham - Part of the Mormon sacred work The Pearl of
Great Price, which contains the Mormon teachings that the black
race is cursed.
Book of Mormon -One of the four sacred books of the Mormons
containing a supposed history of the former inhabitants of
America. It was supposedly translated from the golden plates.
Celestial Heaven -The highest of the three heavens in Mormon
Cumorah -The hill near Palmyra, New York where Joseph Smith, Jr.
allegedly found the golden plates from which he translated the
Book of Mormon.
Doctrine and Covenants -One of the four sacred books of the
Mormons containing many revelations given allegedly by God to
Joseph Smith, Jr.
High Priests -In Mormonism, the fourth level of the Melchizedek
Priesthood. Consists of the Mormon stake presidents.
Lamanites -According to the Book of Mormon, the ancestors of the
American Indian and their spiritual activities.
Living Prophets-In Mormonism, the current president of the Mormon
church supposedly has the ability to receive divine revelations
and is considered a "living prophet." His revelations
are considered superior to all past revelations.
Lucifer -According to Mormonism, the spirit-brother of Jesus. In
Mormon theology Lucifer is the second-born creature of God after
Manuscript Found -A novel (1812-1814) by Solomon Spaulding which
many believe was later plagiarized by Joseph Smith to form the
Book of Mormon.
Melchizedek Priesthood-The most important of the two Mormon
priesthoods consisting of the presidency, apostles, patriarch,
high priest, seventies, and elders.
Moroni -The angel who supposedly revealed the location of the
golden plates to Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith translated them into the
Book of Mormon.
Nephites -One of the groups of people who, according to the Book
of Mormon, came to America from the Middle East.
Patriarch -The nominal head of Mormon hierachy. It is an
honorific title intially given to the father of the prophet.
Pearl of Great Price - One of the four sacred books of the
Mormans containing, among other things, the Book of Abraham which
teaches that the black race is cursed.
Presiding Bishopric-In Mormonism, the first division of the
Aaronic Priesthood designated. The bishopric administers the
local congregations, called wards.
Smith, Joseph Jr. (1805-1844) -Founder of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Supposedly received a
vision from God the Father informing him of certain golden plates
which gave an account of the former inhabitants of America. Smith
translated these plates which became the Book of Mormon.
Telestial Kingdom -Lowest division of glory (heaven) in
Mormonism, reserved for those having no belief in Christ or the
Terrestrial Kingdom -a secondary degree of glory (heaven)
reserved for those who, though honorable, failed to comply with
the requirements of exaltation to Godhood.
Young, Brigham-Second president and successor to Joseph Smith,
Jr., founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Mormon). Led the Mormons westward to Salt Lake City, Utah, where
church is still headquartered.