17 Little Known Truths About the Mormons
"The following FACTS represent teachings that are either openly taught in the Mormon Church today, or that have been taught by the highest authorities of the Mormon Church. All quotes given are from official LDS publications or the Bible."
Actually, many of The "FACTS" presented in the pamphlet are not openly taught in the church now or by its leaders. Many of the quotes used are taken out of context and are from publications that are not meant to represent the official doctrine of the LDS Church(i.e. Journal of Discourses, Mormon Doctrine, The Seer, The Young Woman's Journal). They contain the opinions of many who may or may not be correct in their conclusions.
Please also notice the unnecessary use of exagerations, CAPITAL LETTERS, ellipses(... leaving out parts of a quote), and shock words(eg. incredible, shocking, unbelieveable, attacked) by the author, to help evoke emotions of disgust out of the reader. The only thing missing is the sinister music playing in the background :-)
I will respond to each "FACT" by providing the "TRUTH".
The Mormon Church teaches ALL other Churches are WRONG; ALL their creeds are an ABOMINATION in the sight of God; and ALL their teachers are corrupt.
One of the Mormon Books of Scripture, The Pearl of Great Price, says this about non-LDS churches:
"... 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;..." (Joseph Smith 2:19).
The above scripture is quoting what Jesus Himself said to Joseph Smith about the local ministers. By reading it carefully and in context, we find that the Jesus was referring only to that particular group of ministers in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s community who were quarreling and arguing about which church was true. The Savior (not Joseph Smith) said that they were drawing “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.” (JS—H 1:19.)
God had plans for Joseph and did not want him getting involved with that particular collection of local ministers.
Also, according to the dictionary a "creed" is defined as "a system of belief principles". Therefore all the different "creeds" might be considered an abomination because within each creed exists some beliefs and doctirnes that have been corupted. The LDS Church has never taught nor stated that all teachers of other religions are corrupt. The Church believes that most Christian denominations teach and live many good and correct gospel principles as found in the Bible, but that over the centuries some of the doctrines have become lost or corrupted by mistranslation of Bible scriptures or by the philosophies and opinions of man.
In fact Joseph Smith himself once said: "Have the Presbyterians any truth? Yes. Have the Baptists, Methodists, etc., any truth? Yes. They all have a little truth mixed with error. We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316)."
Because of the error that is mixed in, God appeared to Joseph Smith and through him, returned to the earth the fullness of the Gospel and priesthood authority.
Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.
Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:
"If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)
The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:
"Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
In Elder McConkie's chapter on salvation he speaks of three different levels of salvation. In the statement above(taken out of context) he is talking about salvation in the highest degree of the kingdom of God in heaven(Celestial). This level of salvation does require membership in God's kingdom on earth as he explains. But there are other levels of salvation(which he also talks about) that makes it possible for almost everyone, regardless of their religion, to be saved into some glory of heaven depending on their faithfulness to God's commandments and their behavior during their life on earth and according to God's grace.
Our LDS scriptures teach the same as the Bible does:
"And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3: 17)
Mormons are taught to doubt the reliability of the Bible and their leaders have consistently attacked its accuracy.
Joseph Smith claimed:
" ... it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.10)
The Bible answers this attack:
"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." (Isaiah 40:8)
Mormons are not "taught" to doubt the reliability of the Bible. In all my years of attending church this idea about questioning the reliability of the Bible has rarely been mentioned. Usually it only happens when critics of the church bring up the subject. I have often heard pastors or preachers of other Christian churches offer a "better" translation of the original Hebrew or Greek words to explain the meaning of particular scriptures. So according to them, the Bible is not translated correctly.
There are many different translations of the Bible on the market today. Some of them use different words in every scripture and, when compared to the King James Bible, in many cases the meaning of the scripture is changed.
We are always taught to find and learn the truths contained within the Bible. Two out of every four years we study the Old and New Testament thoroughly in our Sunday School classes each Sunday.
Our leaders do not consistantly attack the accuracy of the Bible. Our Church tenents merely claim that some doctrines may have been lost or altered due to inaccurate translations over the centuries(Article of Faith #8)(See also The History of the English Bible). The words God spoke as they came from His lips, "shall stand for ever", but because of the imperfections of man, some of His words were either lost or not properly recorded by man. Because God's word stands forever it is important that we have an accurate recording of it so we can learn and obey correctly. This is why we need latter-day prophets to help us know and understand exactly what God's eternal word is.
A basic tenet in Mormonism today is that Jesus Christ is the brother of Satan. Milton R. Hunter explains it like this:
"The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer,... this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind." (The Gospel Through The Ages, p.15)
Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Lucifer attempted to become the Savior: in fact, Jesus created all the angels including Lucifer, so they can't be brothers. Colossians 1:16 indicates that Jesus created "all things," whether "in heaven," or "in earth, visible or invisible."
Through latter-day revelation we have learned that God the Father is the father of every spirit that has ever existed or will exist, including Satan and his followers(Abraham 3). If we are all His spirit children that makes us all brothers and sisters in the spiritual sense. This does not mean that we believe that Satan is anything like Jesus or like anyone else on this earth. Just as we see the potential for great goodness and great evil in humans around us, so has there always been such potential among the spirit children (Heb. 12:9) of God who are blessed with liberty to choose God and Christ or to choose evil. Satan chose the greatest evil possible by contending against the plan of God and as a result became a "fallen angel" and a total and complete enemy to God and Christ.
In the Colossians scripture Paul is talking about the creation. But Jesus was not alone when he did it, as described in Genesis 1:26:
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: "
This scripture identifies at least two participants when it says "our image".
Both God the Father and Jesus are the creators of all things. Under the direction of God the Father, Jesus created the earth and all things on it, and He created the atmosphere above the earth, and the stars, planets, and galaxies (heaven). The "heaven" talked about is not the place where God dwells, as described in Genesis:
1 IN the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
These scriptures identify "heaven" in the creation process as the firmament where the "lights" were placed to give light upon the earth, meaning of course the sun, moon, and stars. Jesus did help create the heaven above our earth, the earth itself, as well as plenty of things that are "invisible" to mortals; like the atmosphere, heat, different wavelengths of light, microorganisms, etc.
But it was God the Father alone who created our spirits(angels), including Satan's spirit. He also created the other heaven where He and His spirit children reside.
Paul taught, "For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:28,29; See also Heb. 12:9, Num. 16:22, 1 John 3:2, Eph. 4:6, Job 1:6-12, Job 2:1-6).
Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.
Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim:
"God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643)
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught:
" ...you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves...the same as all Gods have done before you,..." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346)
The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing:
"... I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." (Isaiah 44:6)
The concept that God was once a man may have been mostly speculation on the part of some past leaders of the church that may be true, but it is not official church doctrine. The concept that in the eternities we may become gods ourselves is something that we have learned through latter-day revelation. Evidence of this is also found in the Bible.
"For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)"
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."(1 Cor 8:5-6)
Here Paul is making a distinction between the God we worship and those who are believers or followers of God who can also be called "gods". In biblical terms, those who are worthy to share in all the power and glory that God himself has are called "gods":
"Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High" (Psalms 82:6)
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)
So the "gods many and lords many" that he is talking about are those people refered to in these two scriptures above, who either have the potential to become gods or already are gods.
Jesus said "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect"
And He also said:
"The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master."
Jesus is our master(John 13: 13-14), therefore if we strive to perfect ourselves we shall be as Jesus who is God.
We can have the same power and authority as God.
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:21)
Latter-day scriptures refer to several persons, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who once lived on earth and who are now resurrected beings and have earned godhood.(D&C 132:37). But they will be the Gods of other universes at another time so we do not worship them. As far as we are concerned on this planet and this universe our God is the first and the last and beside Him there is no other God. (Isaiah 44:6)
Mormons consider Polygamy a righteous principle which will be practiced in heaven.
Although there is nothing in the Bible that will support this thinking, current Mormon Scripture has this to say:
". . .if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery . . . . And if he have TEN VIRGINS given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61, 62)
There are many scriptures in the Bible that support the principle of plural marriage: Gen. 16: 1-11; Gen. 25: 1; Gen. 29: 28; Gen. 30: 4, 9, 26; Ex. 21: 10; Deut. 21: 15; 2 Sam. 2: 2; 2 Sam. 5: 13; 2 Sam. 12: 7-9; 1 Kgs. 11: 1-4; 2 Chr. 13: 21; 2 Chr. 24: 3.
All of these scriptures talk about prophets of God who had more than one wife. If God allowed it in those times, why could He not allow it again in our day and in heaven?
Mormons today believe God the Father is married and past leaders have taught both God the Father and Jesus Christ are polygamists.
Apostle Orson Pratt makes these unbelievable statements:
". . .the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist,. . . the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of Wives under the Christian dispensation,. . .God the Father had a plurality of wives,. . . the Son followed the example of his Father,. . . both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time;. . ." (The Seer, p. 172)
Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that God the Father and Jesus Christ are married or polygamists.
In this article of the Seer publication, Orson Pratt was stating his own opinion, not church doctrine. Not only is it not in the Bible, it is also not found in any of the other LDS scriptures, although there are some scriptures that indirectly hint at the possibility of Jesus having been married. Church leaders are entitled to have their own opinion on some things without it counting towards official church doctrine.
There are many Christian theologians who believe it is possible for Jesus to have been married during His life on earth. The Bible never says that He was not married. According to the laws and customs of His day, Jewish men married at sixteen or seventeen years of age, almost never later than twenty. Jesus Christ did not begin his ministry until his early 30's. Keep in mind that the Jews accused him of breaking tradition at every opportunity. If Christ were unmarried at this age his enemies would have had some real ammunition to use against Him, yet nowhere in the Bible do we find anyone challenging Him on this. Was it perhaps because they knew He was married?
The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD. Joseph Smith offers this explanation:
"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) Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:
"None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him." (Psalms 49:7)
Joseph Smith said "seek" after our dead not "save" our dead. We are not saving our dead relatives. As the Bible states we can not redeem our brother, only Christ can do that. All we can do is find out who they are(seek) and perform the required ordinances(eg. baptism)(Mark 16:16) on behalf of our dead brothers(1 Cor 15:29), so that if they later repent and decide to join God's kingdom, their work will have already been done for them and they will be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Psalm scriptures(See Ps 49:1-17), if not taken out of context, explains that the "ransom" talked about is the false notion that a wealthy person can use his money to buy his own way, or his brother's way, into heaven:
"They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
"None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (Ps 49:6-7)
We fully agree that a man's earthly wealth has no bearing on his eligibility for redemption.
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matt 19:24)
To the Mormon, the ultimate test that Mormonism is true is an "inner feeling."
Mormons often refer to this feeling as a "burning in the bosom." They believe their scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) gives the best test for determining truth. This test reads:
" . . .study it out in your mind; then you must ask me [the Lord] if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall FEEL that it is right."
The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15)
This particular D&C scripture(taken out of context) is refering specifically to the process that Joseph Smith was told to use while translating the Book of Mormon. But the basic principle can be used by all of us as we learn of God's doctrines.
This "inner feeling" or "burning of the bosom" are the effects of the Holy Ghost testifying the truth of something to our minds and spirits.
The apostles of Jesus experienced this same "inner feeling" as they talked with Jesus:
"And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:31)
Simeon learned about Christ the same way:
"And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ." (Luke 2:25-26)
We can also use it to learn truths and direct our actions:
"For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." (Luke 12: 12)
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14: 26 )
Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong.
The ward teacher's message for June, 1945, stated:
"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God's plan." (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354)
Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further:
"But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32)
The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
I have never heard any leader of the LDS church "demand" total obedience from me.
Our leaders, who we believe are prophets of God, teach us correct principles that they have learned from God and allow us to govern ourselves. When our prophets and apostles "propose a plan", they have truely thought it out completely with inspiration from God. But we have never been told to not think for ourselves when it comes to living and understanding gospel doctrine
Critics love to use this obscure statement(Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354) to show the world how we blindly follow our leaders as though we were robots in some controlling cult. No such statement like this was ever made before this one and none like it have been made since then. In fact the quote in question was never supported by church leaders. It was later clarified by then President George Albert Smith, in response to a query about this particular ward teaching directive. The message "was not prepared by one of our leaders," he writes. "However, one or more of them inadvertently permitted the paragraph to pass uncensored. By their so doing, not a few members of the Church have been upset in their feelings, and General Authorities have been embarrassed. I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church (President Smith's November 16, 1945, letter to J. Raymond Cope, Ph.D.)".
Contrast the unauthorized Improvement Era statement with what some past church leaders have said:
President Hugh B. Brown, “I admire men and women who have developed the questing spirit, who are unafraid of new ideas as stepping stones to progress. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression ...This free exchange of ideas is not to be deplored as long as men and women remain humble and teachable. Neither fear of consequence or any kind of coercion should ever be used to secure uniformity of thought in the church. People should express their problems and opinions and be unafraid to think without fear of ill consequences” (An Eternal Quest-Freedom of the Mind, Speeches of the Year, BYU, May 13, 1969, Provo, UT).
Elder James E. Talmage wrote in The Articles of Faith, “This book [Book of Mormon] is entitled to the most thorough and impartial examination.” J. Reuben Clark stated, “If we have the truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
Alma P. Burton President of the Manti Temple said: "Since each one may know the truth for himself, his obedience must be entirely voluntary. There can never be any element of force or coercion in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a fact that each member may vote his own conviction and yet see all in one accord. Mormons should not follow their leaders blindly. They should follow them intelligently because the leaders give the word of the Lord to their members and the Lord will reveal to each member, individually, a knowledge of that fact." (Alma P. Burton, Ensign, Mar. 1974, 14)
Another favorite of the critics is the quote by N. Eldon Tanner:
"When the prophet speaks the debate is over"
What they forget to mention is that within that same talk he explains what this means:
"Latter-day Saints know that the messages of the prophet have come from the Lord and have the concurrence of all the General Authorities, who are men of vision and integrity, and who themselves try to keep in tune with deity. They are not, as some would suggest, following blindly and acting without their own free agency to speak and think for themselves. Through prayer to our Heavenly Father each of us can have the assurance that the course we choose has his divine approval." (N. Eldon Tanner, Ensign, Aug. 1979, 2)
Heber C. Kimball's words(taken out of context again) are his own opinion, as are many of the things found in the Journal of Discourses. If you read the entire sermon, he was talking about digging a well for water, and that if the leaders told them to dig in a certain place, that they should have faith they will find water in the place where they were told to dig. He said:
"But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong, you will get water, if you dig away."
He later explains, "That is rather presumptuous doctrine with some people; but with me it is not."
As you can see He was simply voicing his own opinion and using the well-digging example to show how he trusts the inspiration of the church leaders.
The 1 John 4:1 verse is sound doctrine. Our own Doctrine and Covenants says something similar.
"Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God." (D&C 50: 31)
"And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit." (D&C 11:12)
And in the Book of Mormon:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (3 Ne. 14: 15)
Mormon leaders have consistently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by God's Grace through Faith alone.
In Apostle James Talmage's book, The Articles of Faith, twice he refers to justification by Faith alone as a "pernicious doctrine," and further declares:
"The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil." (pp. 107, 480)
The Bible responds:
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 1)
I have never seen a Mormon leader "attack" anything, except maybe a bowl of ice cream. The Bible does not teach salvation by grace through faith alone. The Bible and the LDS church believe that salvation comes by faith and grace and works.
As James said: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24)
It is important to consider what is said through the entire New Testament to know what is required for salvation. The Bible teaches that there is more than faith and grace required to be saved:
Here are some examples:
Philip. 2: 12 - "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling"
Matthew 10:22 - "he that endureth to the end shall be saved"
Matthew 7:16-21 - Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father
Matthew 19:16-21 - keep commandmants, give to the poor
Mark 16:16 - be baptized
Mark 8:35 - give our lives to God
James 1:21 - resist filthyness and evil
James 2:14-26 - perform good works
1 Pet. 1: 17 - judged according to our works
Rev. 20:12-13 - judged according to our works
According to Matthew we have to endure to the end in order to be saved(Matt 10:22), implying that salvation is somethng that happens to us after we die. We do receive salvation by the grace of God, but we are also judged according to our works(1 Pet. 1: 17, Rev. 20:12-13) and are placed in a level of salvation in heaven(1 Cor. 15:40-42) according to how well we have done all the things commanded by God and according to who we have become
If you believe only in salvation by grace through faith alone, it is hard to explain the contradictions between what Paul and James say about it(Compare James 2:24 to Eph 2:8-9).
Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie has warned his people against a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.
McConkie made these shocking statements at a speech given at BYU: "... gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Now, I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. . . .But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught." (Church News, week ending March 20, 1982, p. 5)
In opposition to this, Jesus gives us a personal invitation:
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
If you read the entire talk, Elder McConkie was expressing his own opinion about our relationship with God the Father, warning us that people who constantly profess to have a personal relationship with Christ may be in danger of forgetting about God the Father, who should be the main focus of our worship. He was simply making a distinction between a proper relationship with Christ and an improper one. In other words, as Elder McConkie explained, we should avoid singling out "one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of [our] devotion, to the exclusion of the others. . . ." (same talk)
In the Mathew 11:28 scripture, Jesus is explaining that we may find rest and comfort in Him as a representative of God the Father. The verse just before that says:
"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him]." (Matt 11:27)
So in other words Jesus is telling us that because He knows God, we can get closer to God the Father by getting closer to Him(Jesus).
Elder McConkie would not disagree with this.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater "work" than the Lord Jesus.
Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:
"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. . . . 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." (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)
No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.
How many true prophets of God have you listened to lately?
Read that again. Joseph Smith did not boast that he did a "greater" work, he only claimed that he did something that Jesus and His apostles did not do.
First of all we need to remember that the record of this sermon comes from a second hand account personal diary of Thomas Bullock who wrote things down in his journals as he remembered them. So the accuracy of Joseph's statements is questionable.
You say "No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words." In fact Joseph Smith patterned his sermon after a talk by the Apostle Paul as recorded in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. In that sermon, Paul the Apostle was doing some boasting of his own to the Gentiles.
"As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia." (2 Corinthians 11:10)
Joseph was boasting in Christ the same way Paul was. He is demonstrating his confidence in the Lord and the success of his mission. He is not saying he is better than Paul, John, Peter, or Jesus. He is simply saying that he did something that they did not do.
His attitude is understandable when you consider what he has been through up to this point. He has withstood the attacks and criticism of those hostile to the church and in this talk he wants to let them all know that what he has done and is doing is something that has not failed even with all the attacks from his enemies.
If we listen to more of his sermon we understand why he said what he said:
"My object is to let you know that I am right here on the spot where I intend to stay. I, like Paul have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation. As Paul boasted, I have suffered more than Paul did. I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecutions. Perhaps my brethren think it requires all this to keep me humble. The Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution. When facts are proved, truth and innocence will prevail at last. My enemies are no philosophers: they think that when they have my spoke under, they will keep me down; but for the fools, I will hold on and fly over them."
According to Christ perhaps it is possible for us to perform great works. Consider what He also said,
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12).
What did Jesus mean when He said that those who believe on Him will do "greater works" than what He did? Certainly there was no greater works than the atonement, the resurection, the establishment of His gospel on the earth, and the creation of the universe. Joseph Smith believed this as well. Perhaps Jesus meant greater in terms of quantity rather than quality. His was a relatively short life on the earth, and a short ministry(3 years). He knew that others would come along who would labor a much longer time on earth and produce many more fruits than He did. For example, Paul the apostle probably converted more people than He did. In the same kind of comparison, Joseph Smith kept the church together longer.
In 1835 Joseph Smith prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord.
At a meeting called by Joseph Smith he instructed the Latter-day Saints that it was "the will of God" to go forth and "prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh-even fifty-six years should wind up the scene." (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182) Eight years later he reinforced this by stating:
"I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written - the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till 1 am eighty-five years old." (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 336)
These are obvious False Prophesies which would make Joseph Smith a False Prophet.
This statement comes from a sermon that was written down by people who were listening at the time and recorded it in their journals as they remembered it. Therefore it does not quote Smith verbatim, nor does it say that he prophesied the time of the second coming. Instead, it states:
"...even fifty-six years "should" wind up the scene."
We have no way of knowing whether the word "should" is Joseph Smith's or that of one or more of those who remembered the sermon in their diaries or journals. In either case, the use of "should" instead of "would" or "will" suggests that instead of prophesying, either Joseph Smith was guessing or expressing a personal opinion, or many of those who heard him considered him to be expressing a personal opinion.
The second statement is taken out of context. Just before stating that "prophecy" he says the following:
"I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: 'Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man;'. I was left to draw on my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I will go where He is(die)." Later He recorded, "I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time." (D&C 130:16-17)
Joseph was obviously uncertain what God meant. But nevertheless his statement was true, that God would not come until he was at least 85 years old or that he would die and thus see God. Of course Joseph Smith died at 39(something God knew would happen), so he went where God was and saw Him there.
Mormons are taught to "shake hands" with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.
The following information is found in Mormon scripture:
"When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him." (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5, 8)
Rather than trusting in "feelings" the Bible commands us to: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (I Thessalonians 5:21)
There is no conflict between these two scriptures. The word "feel" in the D&C scripture is not talking about emotions; it literally means to physically feel with our hand as we try to shake hands with the messenger. It teaches us how to "prove all things" by instructing us how to detect the difference between a messenger of God and Satan. And to "hold fast" to the hand of the angel from God. (See also response to FACT #10)
Brigham Young claimed that those who leave the Mormon Church would turn "wrinkled" and "black."
The following curse was pronounced by Brigham Young:
". . .but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)
There have been tens of thousands of people leave the Mormon Church - Where are the "black and wrinkled" ones?
Once again if not taken out of context one can see that this was not a curse pronounced by Brigham Young. Here is what he said:
"I feel to bless this people, and they are a God-blessed people. Look at them, and see the difference from their condition a few years ago! Brethren who have been on missions, can you see any difference in this people from the time you went away until your return? [Audience voices: "Yes."] You can see men and women who are sixty or seventy years of age looking young and handsome; but let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil."
This was no curse; he was simply making an observation based on his past experience of what he saw happen to people when they apostatized from the church. Figuratively speaking, their countenance and souls become black and wrinkled in appearance. I have seen this happen to many former church members.
Joseph Smith taught the moon was inhabited by people who dressed like Quakers and lived to be about 1000 years old.
In the Mormon publication, The Young Woman's Journal, pp. 263 & 264, O.B. Huntington gives this interesting information:
"As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do - that they live generally to near the age of 1000 years. He [Smith] described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style."
Now that man has walked on the Moon, there can be no doubt that there aren't any 6 foot tall Quakers roaming its surface.
The source of this information is highly questionable. Huntington claimed that Joseph Smith's father had given him a patriarchal blessing in 1837 which promised that he would preach the gospel to the moon inhabitants. But Huntington was only ten years old when he was given this blessing and he tried to write it down from memory 50 years later. Also, it turns out that the blessing was given by his own father, not Joseph Smith's father. There is also nothing in any of Joseph Smith's other writings that would indicate he believed this.
If it true that he said this, Joseph Smith's opinion may have only been a reflection of the beliefs of the day. At the time, the idea that people were living on the moon was being propagated by many of the contemporary scientists. In 1976 Patrick Moore, Director of the Lunar Section of the British Astronomical Association, wrote of William Herschel: "As an observer it is possible that he has never been equaled, and between 1781 and his death, in 1822, every honor that the scientific world could bestow came is way. His views about life in the Solar System were, then, rather surprising. He thought it possible that there was a region below the Sun's fiery surface where men might live, and he regarded the existence of life on the Moon as 'an absolute certainty.'" Also in 1822, the German astronomer Gruithuisen announced that he had discovered a lunar city with a collection of gigantic ramparts extending 23 miles in either direction. It was not until 1838, with the publication of the writings of Beer and Madler, that the scientific world concluded that the moon is definitely unable to support higher life forms.
Whether or not Joseph Smith believed in the popular notion of the day that there were men on the moon has nothing to do with his suitability as a prophet. The whole subject has no importance or relevancy when it comes to religious matters.
CHALLENGE MINISTRY CONCLUSION
If all the FACTS are examined, Mormonism can not be considered a Christian denomination or a divinely led institution. Although Mormons are being deceived by their leaders, why not be concerned enough to share the truth in love? Jesus Himself said: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)
If all the TRUTHS are examined, the Church of Jesus Christ can be considered a Christian religion and a devinely led institution. No one is being decieved. We are fully aware of the doctrines and teachings of the Bible as well as latter-day revelation from God. We will not waste our time demeaning or finding fault with another person's religious beliefs, but we are concerned enough to be willing to share the truth in love with anyone who cares to hear it.
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