Mormonism, known as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"
(LDS), was officially founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844). Joseph Smith
considered himself a modern day "prophet, seer, and revelator" (one who
reveals divine truth). He is ranked as second only to Jesus when it comes to the
salvation of mankind in accordance with the beliefs of the Mormons. Joseph Smith
called the Book of Mormon "the most correct of any book on earth." He
claimed to have received a visit from God the Father and Jesus Christ who told him
that all churches and creeds were in abomination. After the visit that occurred
in the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith set out to begin a new religion. This new religion
claims to be "the only true church on earth." Joseph Smith further claims
to have been visited on several occasions by the angel Moroni, whose father was
a man named Mormon. Moroni told Smith about a book of golden plates.
Book of Golden Plates
Smith found the plates as he was directed by the visions along with a giant pair
of spectacles. The spectacles were used to translate the plates written in hieroglyphics
which, when translated, became the Book of Mormon. The tenth LDS president, Joseph
Fielding Smith, stated that "Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall
on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly
appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever
seen; there is no middle ground."
The Mormons base their beliefs on four "standard works:"
- The Bible (The King James Version}.
- The Book of Mormon - a translation of an ancient document which gives an account
of three people groups who migrated from the Middle East to the Americas as late
as 589 BC.
- The Doctrine and Covenants - revelations given to the LDS church by Joseph. Smith.
- The Pearl of Great Price -- a collection of smaller works.
The Bible is the only one of the four works that is considered to have corruption
and is accepted with qualifications. The LDS church considers the Bible to be the
word of God as far as it is translated correctly. The LDS church's First Presidency
cautioned that since the Bible had been translated over the centuries it had lost
many of its plain and precious parts. The Mormon apostle Orson Pratt asked, "Who
in his right mind could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to
be a perfect guide?" Pratt went on to say, "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?" A question such as this can be easily answered by turning to 2 Timothy
3:16 in the Bible where it is stated unequivocally that, "All Scripture is inspired
by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in
righteousness." The Bible came from those men inspired by God whom He superintended
so that by using their unique personalities, they composed and recorded, without
error, God's Word to man. Christ attested to the fact that inspiration extends to
the very words (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35}. Inspiration does not involve mechanical
dictation but the accurate recording of God's words. Inspiration does not extend
beyond the original manuscripts, though the texts we possess today have been transmitted
with high accuracy.
Mormons are given the impression that the Bible has been extensively revised over
time and that it has become corrupt. The LDS teach that corrupt transcribers and
religious leaders have either removed important ideas or inserted false teaching.
Consequently, many Mormons do not feel compelled to re-examine their beliefs since
the original biblical documents no longer exist. But careful examination of the
ancient manuscript copies allows us to determine with great accuracy what the original
writers wrote. The ancient manuscripts may not read exactly the same, however the
differences are essentially minor and do not support radically different religious
ideas. Three different people could be asked to stand on a street corner and write
down what they saw occur in an hour. The three writers would, no doubt, see or perceive
differences in what they saw occur over the course of the hour. However, just as
the inspired writers of the Bible, under the supervision of God, the differences
noted would have no radical outcome on that which was seen on the street corner.
The Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon is a miraculous translation of an ancient
document. The Golden Plates referred to already, are claimed to have been interpreted
by Joseph Smith through the gift and power of God. The Book of Mormon gives account
of three people groups, the Lehites, Jaredites, and Mulekites, who migrated from
the Middle East and inhabited the American continents some 2000 years ago. The Book
of Mormon has failed to prove that these people groups ever existed. Many editions
of the Bible contain maps locating the various regions and cities described in the
Bible. The Book of Mormon contains no maps and the LDS church cannot locate even
one unique Book of Mormon city. The Book of Mormon contains references to types
of animals, weaponry, and plants which were not present in the New World during
the Book of Mormon time period.
One of the most difficult mysteries and doctrines to explain within Christianity
is that of the Doctrine of the Trinity. However, it is not impossible to explain
or defend. The LDS church has a "trinity" but that "trinity"
is not the Trinity of the Scriptures. Mormonism teaches that there is a Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost who exists as three separate persons, unlike Christianity that
teaches that God exists in three persons: God, the Father; God, the Son; and God,
the Holy Spirit. In other words The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit are one
God by nature. Many times over when the LDS want to show proof that God exists in
three separate persons they refer to the stoning of the Christian martyr, Stephen.
They refer to the Book of Acts in the New Testament, chapter 7, verses 55 and 56
which says: "But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven
and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said,
Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand
of God." Jesus is portrayed as standing to minister in order to continue His
priestly work for His people. Therefore, God is in Three Persons: God, the Father;
God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit.
In defending the Doctrine of the Trinity, refer to Deuteronomy 6:4 wherein it states,
"Hear O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One. In I Corinthians 8:4
it is stated, "Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols,
we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no
God but one." Christianity teaches that the God of the Bible created all things
of the universe and He is the reason that all things exist. The God worshipped by
the Mormons is not the God of the Bible.
Mormonism claims that Jesus "pre-existed" with us. The LDS teach that
Jesus pre-existed in Heaven before he became a man, died on the cross, rose bodily
from the dead, and ascended into Heaven. There appears to be some similarity to
Christian belief. However, look a little closer. The LDS further claim that all
human beings pre-exist in Heaven before becoming human. Mormonism claims Jesus is
the firstborn of God's spirit children and the first (of many) to have become
a God. Mormons claim that all humans and spirits have a heavenly Mother even though
there is no mention of her in the Bible or any Mormon scripture. The Bible very
clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is not the first of God's billions of pre-existed
spirit children. Rather, He is the only human being to have pre-existed as a spirit
in Heaven. The pre-existence of Jesus is set forth very forthright in the Gospel
of John 3:31, where it says, "He has come from heaven and is greater than anyone
else. I am of the earth, and my understanding is limited to the things of earth."
The LDS claim that Jesus arose from the dead and went to the Americas to preach
to a group of people called the Nephites. The Bible makes no mention as to the existence
of Nephites as referred to in the Book of Mormon. The Bible teaches that Jesus ascended
to Heaven and will remain there until His return in glory (Acts 1:9-11, 3:19-21).
Therefore, He did not go the Americas to preach to anyone.
Salvation is a gift of God. The Bible teaches in John 3:16 that whoever believes
in God, shall not perish but will have eternal life. The LDS teaches that salvation
is only gained by works and that salvation will be what he has earned in this life.
The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift from God and is not based on good
deeds or works, "lest one should be boastful". A true, living faith will result
in a desire to live a holy, loving life of good works (Ephesians. 2:10; Galatians
5:6; James 2:14-26). However, failure to be absolutely successful at righteous living
does not negate the believer's justified status.
We read in the Old Testament of the Bible about Temples and their purpose. Unlike
chapels and churches where members meet on a weekly basis, Mormon temples are special
buildings in which various rites and rituals are observed. The LDS only go to the
temple on weekdays, never on Sunday. The temples are closed on Sundays. The nearest
temple may be hundreds of miles from the home of a Mormon. The temples are closed
to the public and also to Mormons who do not qualify as sufficiently "worthy."
The rituals in the temples are considered so sacred that Mormons are forbidden to
discuss them outside the temple itself. The ritual most often performed is baptism
for the dead, whereby a living substitute is baptized on behalf of a deceased person.
Joseph Smith claimed: "The greatest responsibility in this world that God has
placed upon us is to seek after our dead." Brigham Young taught that after
a Mormon departs this life, knowledge of tokens, signs, and key words will be necessary
in order to pass the angelic sentinels who guard the way back to the presence of
God. The Bible makes no mention of baptism substitutes for the dead or secret codes
needed to enter the Gates of Heaven.
Temples in ancient Israel served as a place to sacrifice animals, a ritual that
has never been a part of Mormonism. The focus of animal sacrifice described in the
Old Testament of the Bible was for forgiveness and repentance. The people went into
the temple because of their unworthiness, offering sacrifices for their sins. The
LDS believe that "worthiness" is earned and that it is essential for Mormon
temple participation. Jesus himself told the Samaritan woman that temple worship
would one day cease (John 4:21-24). Because Christians as a whole represent the
"temple of God" (I Corinthians 3:16) and because Jesus offered Himself
as the perfect sacrifice, temple worship is no longer necessary.
Brigham Young, Polygamist
Plural marriage was once essential for any Mormon hoping to achieve exaltation.
Brigham Young proclaimed that the "only men who become Gods, even the Sons
of God, are those who enter into polygamy." The practice of polygamy occurred
between 1852 and 1890. Today polygamy within the LDS is not practiced and anyone
within the church who practices polygamy is excommunicated. There have been groups
who have split off the Mormon Church who practice polygamy. However, these groups
have nothing to do with the activity of the members of the LDS church.
The Bible gives accounts of plural marriages to such great men as Abraham, Jacob,
David, and Solomon who indeed practiced plural marriage. However, the practice of
polygamy never had any bearing on an individual's personal salvation. Close
study of the Bible shows that God tolerated polygamy rather than commanding such
a practice. This practice in the Old Testament times often caused conflict and led
families involved into idolatry. Jesus taught that a man was to cleave to his own
wife and every woman her own husband (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8.). The New Testament
never condones anything but a relationship between one man and one woman
Polygamy is not practiced today by the LDS. But it does not claim that polygamy
as practiced in the past was wrong. The practice was commanded by God through living
prophets and forbidden by God through living prophets.
The following terms are just a few used by the Mormons that help us to understand
better some of their "beliefs:"
- Apostasy: In general use, a falling away from
one's faith. Mormonism teaches that Christianity became completely apostate
after the death of the original apostles, making it necessary for God to restore
- Baptism for the Dead: Temple ritual in which a
Mormon "proxy" (living person) is baptized on behalf of a deceased person.
- Book of Mormon: Translated by Joseph Smith from
gold plates he allegedly received from the angel Moroni.
- Exaltation: Synonymous with eternal life. Only
those who gain exaltation have the ability to become gods and procreate throughout
- God the Father: Also known as Heavenly Father
of Elohim. The God of Mormonism was once a human and currently inhabits a body of
flesh and bones.
- Jesus Christ: The literally begotten son of God
the Father and Heavenly Mother. The Jesus of Mormonism is the firstborn of God's
Offspring, including all angels, demons, and humans.
- Joseph Smith: The founder of the Latter Day Saint
movement. He is considered to be a modern-day prophet who was called by God to restore
"true Christianity" to the earth after centuries of apostasy.
- Mormon: A Nephite leader; father of Moroni. It
is Mormon from whom the Book of Mormon gets its name. Also, a nickname given to
the followers of Joseph Smith.
- Moroni: The son of Mormon. Moroni buried the gold
plates containing the Book of Mormon and later appeared as an angel to Joseph Smith
to tell him of their location.
In conclusion, study God's Word as written in the Holy Bible and see if the
Book of Mormon and its teachings will stand the test as inspired by the Holy Word
of God. Mormonism is not the biblical version of Christianity. It is not Christian.
Mormons serve a different God than do Christians --- a God that does not exist.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in Galatians 4:8, "when you did not know
God, you were slaves to those which by nature were no gods." Only the God of
the Bible exists. There are no others. Mormonism puts its faith in a non-existent