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.:EXAMINING THE CLAIMS OF MORMONISM—Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the True Church? - Overview of Mormonism exposes some of the unchristian doctrine of the Mormon Church, changes in LDS Scripture and false prophecies that have been uttered by various Mormon authorities.
NOTE: You can purchase the photocopied documentation of everything quoted in this report from LDS (Mormon) sources (nearly 60 pages of photo copies), by ordering the EXAMINING THE CLAIMS OF MORMONISM—Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The True Church? packet. See our Resource List.(www.4witness.org)
Contents of Examining Mormonism Article:
The Book of Mormon Challenge
Upon finding oneself challenged to accept the claims of Mormonism, Latter-day Saints (LDS) often pressure investigators to follow the admonition in the Book of Mormon to: “Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart…he will manifest the truth of it unto you.…”—Moroni 10:4 But are feelings a reliable way to determine truth? The Bible admonishes us to “test” the spirits—not “feel” the spirits—to see if they are of God.
Just as many “false prophets” have gone out into the world, so many false spirits (demons) have gone out into the world, and it is a known fact that Satan and his demons influence through feelings.
Consequently, the only reliable test of a religion is to examine its history and doctrines in the light of the objective standard of the Bible. Even the Apostle Paul commended the Bereans for not just blindly accepting his teaching of truth without testing it against the Scriptures.
Furthermore, various “General Authorities” (recognized leaders) of the Mormon Church have acknowledged this fact. Take note of the following statements by Brigham Young who was the second Prophet of the Mormon Church, LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, and current Mormon scripture.
Just as LDS scripture Doctrine and Covenants admonishes one to “study” the Book of Mormon out in one’s mind first before asking God if it is right, we will now turn our attention to a critical examination of the origin and doctrines of the book.
TESTING THE BOOK OF MORMON
Declaring that he translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates he found on the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York, Joseph Smith claimed that these plates contain the record of ancient inhabitants of America who migrated to America from Jerusalem. The first migration led by Jared and his family allegedly occurred about 2250 BC. As the story goes, this group of people multiplied so much that they divided into two nations and fought with each other until everyone was killed. The second migration consisting of Lehi, his family and friends allegedly occurred around 600 BC. This group also grew into two huge nations—the Nephites and the Lamanites. Wars broke out and eventually the Lamanites killed off all the Nephites in AD 385. Thus, according to Mormon history, the Lamanites are the ancient ancestors of the American Indians and are the sole survivors of this ancient migration.
If the Book of Mormon contains the record of ancient inhabitants of America, it is logical that archaeology would support its claims by finding ruins of large groups of people who built immense, fortified cities and whose large-scale wars culminated in the destruction of thousands of Nephite people near the Hill Cumorah in present-day New York state. Yet, archaeological evidence in support such claims is strikingly lacking. Respected archaeological institutions such as the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution attest to this fact.
Furthermore, Mormon scholars have repeatedly endeavored to find Book of Mormon lands somewhere in Central America. Nevertheless, these scholars disagree among themselves as to the location of these lands. Some point toward the Costa Rica area, while others say the Yucatan Peninsula, and still others focus on the Tehuantepec area. Even Dr. Ray Matheny of Brigham Young University admits to the lack of archaeological evidence for historical accounts in the Book of Mormon.
In 1841, Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon “was the most correct of any book on earth,” 2. and LDS History of the Church describes an event that supposedly occurred soon after the translation of the Book of Mormon from the gold plates.
With such testimony from angelic beings affirming the accuracy of the Book of Mormon—a translation which is seen to be “the most correct of any book on earth,” one wonders how any errors could have crept into the original 1830 edition. Yet, the “Brief Explanation” introduction found in current editions notes:
While the LDS church notes that “errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions,” they quickly assert that these changes are somehow being made in “conformity” with “early editions” edited by Joseph Smith. But as we will see in subsequent examples, most of the changes that have been made in recent editions, were made to correct the errors found in the original 1830 edition!
In his book Address to All Believers in Christ, David Whitmer (who was one of the “Three Witnesses” in the Book of Mormon) described the process Joseph Smith employed in translating the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. 3. According to Whitmer, Joseph Smith was able to obtain an exact translation of the “reformed Egyptian” by use of a “seer stone” in which the individual characters and specific words appeared before his eyes. Such an exact translation does not leave room for any corrections or even spelling errors! Yet, from the original 1830 edition to the present day editions, over 4,000 changes have been counted and contrary to LDS claims, not all of them have been “minor.”
Doctrinal changes such as the one at 1 Nephi 13:40 in which “the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father” has been changed to read “the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father." 4. leaves one to doubt the validity of LDS claims regarding its accuracy.
Other major changes include Mosiah 21:28 where “king Benjamin” has been changed to read “king Mosiah.” 5. From chronology found in the Book of Mormon, it appears that king Benjamin should have been dead by this time. 6. How can a book of such divine origin and “the most correct of any book on earth,” get its people so confused?
In present editions, Alma 32:30 contains a 34 word phrase that was left out of the 1830 7. printed edition and was not put back in until 1981. Again, a person must wonder how a book that is claimed to have been “translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man” contain so many errors.
While it is claimed that the Book of Mormon was translated from gold plates written between 600 BC and 421 AD, it contains vast segments of verses and even whole chapters from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. At 3 Nephi 13 of the 1830 edition, 8. Matthew 6:1-23 was nearly copied verse-by-verse right into the Book of Mormon. Later editions, however, have changed the KJV rendering of “which” to “who.” 3 Nephi 21:22-22:5 of the 1830 edition, 9. directly plagiarized Isaiah 54:1-4. Later editions have added the phrase, “and shall not remember the reproach of thy youth” to Isaiah’s text verse four. 10.
If it is true that the Book of Mormon was written by the fifth century, how could it contain such extensive quotations from the AD 1611 King James Version of the Bible?
While Mormons often respond to such allegations of plagiarism by asserting that God being the author of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon would have inspired the same statements in both, such argumentation overlooks the fact that even the italicized words from the King James Version were quoted. This is significant because the italicized words found in the KJV text are not in the original language but were added by the King James translators to provide clarity. Thus, one must ask, how could the Book of Mormon which was allegedly written long before the King James Version of the Bible, happen to include inserted clarifying words from the King James translators—unless of course, it is plagiarized?
As is noted in the chart above, the doctrine in the Book of Mormon does not agree with Biblical doctrine. How can God be the author of a book that disagrees with the revelation He has already given in the Bible?
Many changes have also been made to the LDS “scripture” of Doctrine and Covenants. One of the most significant of these changes is the deletion of a section that was 68 pages long, containing more than 20,000 words. This section found in the original 1835 edition wasn’t removed until 1921. 11. Entitled “Lectures on Faith” and consisting of seven lectures within this larger section, this series of Lectures was deemed so important by Joseph Smith and early Church leaders that they even referenced these lectures in their preface to the 1835 edition by stating that the lectures embraced “the important doctrine of salvation.” The reason for the exclusion of this section is likely due to the fact that in these lectures, Joseph Smith taught a doctrine that the Mormon church now calls heresy—the idea that God the Father is “a personage of spirit” and that there are only “two personages” who comprise the “Godhead.”
Another section of Doctrine and Covenants that has undergone major revision is Doctrine and Covenants Section 5. When it was originally published in the Book of Commandments in 1833, it stated that God had told Joseph Smith that he would only have one “gift” to translate one book—that being the Book of Mormon:
When Joseph Smith allegedly translated the “Book of Abraham” in the LDS Scripture Pearl of Great Price from an Egyptian papyrus, Smith was compelled to change the wording of this revelation to accommodate his new gift to translate the Egyptian papyrus. The revelation now reads:
Such drastic changes to “scripture” certainly cannot be of God. Just as LDS Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith noted in his Doctrines of Salvation, if Joseph Smith’s “claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures.”—Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 188
Mormonism teaches that God is quite literally the Father of every human being who has ever lived on planet earth. Proclaiming that each person was first “begotten” as a spirit by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother in a spirit world near Kolob, they assert that every spirit who proves himself worthy in this spirit world is rewarded for his faithfulness by eventually being born as a human into a family here on earth.
The Bible clearly articulates that God is called “Father” in the limited sense of being the supreme Creator of all things; but calling God “Father” in the sense of being the Creator is quite different from the spiritual sense in which one can truly call God his personal “Father.” The Bible is absolutely explicit in stating that only those individuals who have been spiritually “adopted” into God’s family through personal acceptance of Christ have the privilege (power) of calling God their personal “Father.”
If everyone is already in God’s family as “sons of God,” why would the Bible state that each person needs to personally undergo “adoption” into God’s family through the blood of Jesus? Christ plainly declared that He is the only one who had a pre-existence before coming to earth, and as a result, He is the only one who can truly say that He is from “above”—i.e., Heaven!
If the Mormon doctrine of man’s pre-existence is true and all humans are sons of God in a literal, physical sense, why would Jesus have told the Jews that they were of their “father the devil”? Does Satan have “literal” children?
As is clearly seen, the terms “father” and “son” in these contexts are strictly employed in a figurative, spiritual manner to convey the relationship between God and man—not to denote some so-called “pre-existence.” Indeed, the Bible declares that God “formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1), thus, he is not begotten first in some so-called “spirit world.”
The Mormon Church proclaims that God the Father “is an exalted Man” who has not always been God, but who had to dwell “on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did” in order to earn the right to have His kingdom.
By faithfully following all the “ordinances” of the LDS gospel, “worthy” Mormons hope to eventually attain to the level of “exaltation” of “Heavenly Father” and to become “Gods” like Him. The Mormon “gospel” is basically summed up in the following statement by Joseph Smith:
How does the Mormon god compare with the God of the Bible?
Mormons often respond to these Biblical passages by arguing that they don’t believe they will take Heavenly Father’s place but that they merely want to be “a god like Him.” But notice how Lucifer didn’t say that he wanted to take Heavenly Father’s place either; he merely wanted to be “like” God. Not only is this the very doctrine that caused God to remove “Lucifer” from heaven, but it is the same lie that Satan told Eve which caused Adam and Eve to be thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Indeed, “no truth” abides in Satan “for he is a liar, and the father” of lies.
Mormonism proclaims that God our “Father in Heaven” was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient....” 13. How can the God of Mormonism be the same God of the Bible when the Bible teaches that neither God the Father nor Jesus Christ had any “beginning of days nor end of life”—Hebrews 7:3? 14.
In this Biblical passage, one can see the seriousness of falling into the deception of Satan by placing faith in a counterfeit Jesus. Since Jesus is the sole source of salvation (John 14:6), merely affirming “belief in Christ” while clinging to a distorted view of His identity will lead to spiritual destruction, for a counterfeit Jesus cannot save anyone.
In the same way that Mormonism distorts the nature of the God the Father, Mormonism distorts the identity of Jesus Christ and thus falls under the condemnation of proclaiming “another Jesus” than the one “preached” in the Bible.
Because Mormonism teaches that God was quite literally the father of Jesus Christ—not only in the spiritual realm but in the physical realm as well, it proclaims that Jesus was not begotten in the flesh by the Holy Ghost, but by the exalted man Heavenly Father.
Thus, according to Mormonism, the “Virgin Mary” wasn’t truly a virgin in purity as we know it, but was the “lawful wife of God the Father.”
How can the Jesus of Mormonism be the same Jesus of the Bible when the Bible clearly articulates how the “virgin” Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost” and not by a so-called “exalted Man”?
Distorting the Eternal Nature of Christ
In the same way that Mormonism perverts the Biblical concept of the incarnation of Christ, Mormonism distorts the eternal nature of Christ. Far from the Jesus of the Bible who in His very nature is the “Father”/Possessor of eternity (Isaiah 9:6) and who created “all” things including the “principalities” of Lucifer and his angels, Mormon doctrine relegates Christ to being the mere created “spirit brother” of “Lucifer.” Thus, in Mormon doctrine, Jesus’ “appointment” to being the “Savior of the world” was “contested” by his rival brother Lucifer who also wanted to be chosen as “the Savior of Mankind.”
Does this sound like the Jesus of the Bible who possesses eternity and who never had to rival for the position “Savior” with Lucifer whom He created?
As if distorting the eternal nature of Christ and perverting the Biblical concept of the incarnation wasn’t enough, Mormon leaders have continued the blasphemy by additionally proclaiming that both God the Father and Jesus Christ have more than one wife. Therefore, according to Mormonism, far from being the guest who was merely invited to the “marriage in Cana of Galilee,” 15. the soon imminent Mormon polygamist (Jesus Christ) married “Mary, Martha, and the other Mary.”
A lesser-known LDS principle prominently taught in the early years of Mormonism but still affirmed today is the “blood atonement” doctrine which states that there are “serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins.”—Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 92
Because this doctrine is so embarrassing to Mormonism and is one of the clearest examples of Mormon perversion of Christianity, LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie endeavors to down-play this teaching in the writings of early Mormon leaders by stating:
While Mormonism endeavors to silence its critics by accusing them of deception and taking statements out of context, the actual documented evidence proves otherwise. Note the following statements made by Brigham Young regarding this doctrine. As you will see in these quotations, no sentences are taken apart or construed from different pages:
As one can clearly see, none of these statements are taken out of context. Ironically, while McConkie accuses critics of fabricating “false” stories regarding this doctrine, he affirms it as a “true doctrine:”
While Mormonism endeavors to validate their “blood atonement” doctrine by citing the Biblical penalty of “capital punishment” for murders, such argumentation totally ignores the basis behind this injunction and is fatally flawed on three accounts.
1) Ignoring the Context: The principle of capital punishment for murders was given to Noah and his family right after the occurrence of the Flood (see Genesis 9:6). Biblical scholars affirm that this is the place where government was first instituted. Therefore, in our time, this principle is not to rest in the hands of individuals who desire revenge (or in the hands of a religion that wants to “clear out” so-called “apostates” from their domain), but in the hands of the appointed government.
Instead of trusting in the Jesus of Mormonism who is a polygamist, the “spirit-brother” of Lucifer, and who may not be able to forgive all of your sins, why not trust in the Jesus of the Bible who claims:
Latter-day Saints believe that in order for a male to be able to become “exalted” as “a god” in the “Celestial” (highest) kingdom of heaven, he must hold the Mormon “Aaronic” and “Melchizedek Priesthoods.” According to Mormonism, this Priesthood authority is absolutely essential for any person to be able to perform any of the ordinances of the Mormon “Gospel” (such as “baptism” and the “laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”). Thus, they claim that in 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were “ordained” to these Priesthoods by John the Baptist and the apostles Peter, James, and John—resulting in a “restoration” of this “Priesthood authority” that was allegedly “lost” from the earth at the death of these Biblical apostles.
What does the Bible have to say about Priesthood authority? Did the Biblical apostles hold these Priesthoods? What about Jesus Himself? Did He hold the “Aaronic Priesthood” as the Mormons claim?
While Mormonism is quick to assert that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry were ordained to these Priesthoods by the Biblical apostles, it overlooks the fact that not only was Jesus Himself unable to hold the “Aaronic Priesthood” because He was not born of the tribe of Levi, but none of Jesus’ apostles where able to hold these Priesthoods for they could not fulfill the necessary qualifications. Thus, the “Priesthood” authority was “changed” from the “Aaronic” Priesthood (held solely by men of the Levitical lineage) to the Melchisedec Priesthood (held by Jesus alone).
This Melchisedec Priesthood can only be held by Jesus because He is the only one who can fulfill the qualifications.
How can any man other than Jesus be “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days”? 19. Jesus was able to fulfill these qualifications because His eternal nature as God is without “beginning of days”? Therefore, it is only in His human nature as the “Son of Man,” that Jesus possesses a genealogy and was born of his mother Mary. Furthermore, just as “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” 20. so only Jesus fulfills the qualification to be “holy,” “undefiled,” and “separate from sinners.”
It is for this reason that unlike the Levitical priests of the Aaronic Priesthood who were constantly passing the Priesthood on to others to avoid the extinction of that Priesthood, Jesus permanently possesses this Melchisedec Priesthood which can never be passed down to anyone else.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word (aparabatos) translated “unchangeable” in Hebrews 7:24 means “untransferable (perpetual).” 21. In other words, unlike the Aaronic Priesthood that was passed down from one man to another, Jesus’ Melchisedec Priesthood is “untransferable” in that it cannot be handed-down or conferred to anyone else. Jesus possesses it permanently.
While only Jesus can hold the official “authority” of the Melchisedic Priesthood, the Bible does mention that there is a Priesthood of all believers. In other words, anyone (whether male or female) who has been called out of spiritual darkness into the marvellous light of Christ can claim to be of the “holy priesthood” and “chosen generation” of the people of God.
Unlike the Aaronic and Melchisedec Priesthoods that required sacrifices for sin, this Priesthood of all believers brings forth the “spiritual sacrifices” of “praises” to Jesus for what He has accomplished in becoming our sole High Priest—once for all paying the price of our redemption from sin and freeing us to no longer be in the bondage of darkness.
Mormonism teaches that black skin is the “mark of Cain” and a sign of being cursed from being able to hold the LDS Priesthoods. As a result, black Mormon men were not granted Priesthood status in the LDS Church—that is, until September 30, 1978 when LDS Prophet Spencer W. Kimball allegedly received a “new revelation” stating:
As justification for this “new revelation,” LDS authorities argue that this release “day” was “promised” by early Mormon prophets. But, an examination of the writings of the early LDS prophets reveal that the “promised” day could not have possibly been in 1978, because even to this day, not all of the white “descendants of Adam have received…the blessing of the Priesthood” as was prophesied would be the case when this day would arrive.
Current Racism in Mormon Doctrine
While on the surface, it may appear that Mormonism has cleared up its racist doctrine toward blacks by allowing them into the LDS Priesthoods, such changes are merely superficial for LDS scripture and doctrine still teaches that black skin is evidence of unfaithfulness in LDS pre-mortal life.
Even though LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie’s book Mormon Doctrine has undergone extensive changes in the area of doctrine regarding black people, the 1986 edition still states that a man’s “race” into which he is born is directly determined by his alleged “pre-existent life”. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon to this day still equates black skin with rebellion against God.
Civil War Not to Free the Slaves?
It is precisely because of this doctrine regarding black skin that Brigham Young falsely prophesied in 1863 that the Civil War would not free the slaves.
Brigham Young (2nd Prophet of the LDS Church) taught that Adam “is our Father and our God, and the only god with whom WE have to do.” 22. Thus, he claimed:
The LDS church no longer believes this doctrine anymore, and they endeavor to deny the fact that Brigham Young actually taught it. Yet, Brigham Young said that he “never yet preached a sermon…that they may not call Scripture.” 23.
When did “hail, famine, and earthquake…sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land”? When did unparalleled earthquakes and hail storms sweep the wicked of the generation of 1833 from the United States? Indeed, “many years” have passed since that generation was in existence, yet the wicked where never annihilated from the land.
The Need for a Living Prophet?
Jesus warned his followers that in the last days “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” 24. What is the test to determine a false prophet from a true prophet?
The test of a true prophet is 100% accuracy in his predictions. All it takes to disqualify a person from being a true prophet of God is one failed prophecy. Furthermore, just as the penalty for false prophecy is death, so the penalty of following a false prophet is spiritual death.
While it is true that prior to Christ, God led his people through living prophets whom He would appoint to speak in His name, 25. ever since the coming of Christ, God no longer appoints living prophets to lead His people as He did in those days.
Just as Luke notes, John the Baptist was the last living prophet of God, for he paved the way for Jesus Christ who is God’s Final Word (John 1:1,14). Changing the way He communicates and leads His people, God now works individually with each believer who has personally come to Jesus and placed his full trust in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice for sin.
As Jesus is now the sole Prophet and Priest of true Christians, the true believer does not need anyone other than Jesus to be his mediator between himself and God. No church, organization, or individual can ever truly claim to be the “only way of salvation” for trusting in Jesus and developing an intimate personal relationship with Jesus is the only way one can truly be saved and connect with the living God of the universe.
Instead of placing your trust in a religion, church, or prophet who falsely claims to be the way to God, why not place you full trust in Jesus alone? He is the only one who can truly satisfy your deepest longing for security and assurance of eternal life.
He lived the perfect life in your place, and He now offers you His perfection in exchange for your sin. Why not come to Jesus today, and ask Him to be your righteousness for you?
For more information see:
1. All Biblical Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version
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