English Articles

mormonism

Mormonism: a bastion of fantasy, deceit and error
 

by drs Piet Guijt                                               alt


Introduction

Who has slightly studied a part of the overwhelming amount of literature about (the origin of) Mormonism, which is the doctrine of the Mormons, will fall from one into the other astonishment. It is perplexing to see how people can believe the utmost nonsense. If people do not think based on the Bible as the Word of God, and are not enlightened by the Holy Spirit, that testifies of Jesus Christ as the only Savior Anointed by God, those people can be a prey of every possible and ‘impossible’ lie of satan. It is obviously not the intention to judge people, but to bring falsehood to light by the truth that liberates.


In this article we will deal with the question what kind of sect Mormonism is, who was the founder, how the Book of Mormon was originated, what Mormons believe, and what we as Christians should think of it.  

Denomination
 

First we give some information about the ‘Church of Jesus Christ’, founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, with the addition ‘of the Latter-day Saints’ in 1838. The number of followers grew mainly due to the popular content of the 'sermons' of Joseph Smith, which gave a wrong presentation of the biblical gospel (8). The denomination of the Mormons in 1847 settled in the U.S. state of Utah led by Brigham Young, the successor to Joseph Smith. In the capital, Salt Lake City, which now counts over 2 million inhabitants (of which about 75% is Mormon), is the headquarters of the organization. And there are the great temple built of white granite, accessible only for Mormons, and the tabernacle, where organ concerts are daily given, which are open to everyone. 
 
Worldwide the number of Mormons is approximately 12 million, of whom about half in the United States (28). In Germany there are about 36,000, and in The Netherlands about 7000 Mormons (in about 40 municipalities; the first Mormon Temple in Netherlands was put into use in Zoetermeer in 2002). There has been a rapid growth, especially in South America. Every three years there is an increase of one million members worldwide, and every year about 400 new places of worship and temples arise (36). The growth is due to the fact that the Mormons have made evangelism and missions as one of the spearheads of their faith The number of missionaries (for 2 years full-time and at their own costs) is relatively large, namely between 40,000 (22) and 60,000 (28). The Mormons have the largest genealogical library in the world (28). This has to do with their view of the dead. Mormons abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea (7).
 
The organization of the church is very hierarchical. Under the supreme authority (president) are bishops, priests, teachers etc.. Black people could not hold priestly offices (because according to a revelation of Smith in 1830, they had been punished with this color because they were descendants of Cain), but compelled by necessity it was revoked in 1978. No subversive doctrine is allowed. In 1852 there was a schism because of the question of who basically might be leader: seed of Joseph Smith or not, and then the ‘Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' originated. This church claims to be the true continuation of the church of Joseph Smith (7). After 1890, when the polygamy was abolished, some Mormons continued to hold onto polygamy because they considered the so-called ‘divine revelation’ higher than the leadership of the church and the Book of Mormon (that does not advocate polygamy). This group has broken away from the official church of the Mormons (what they call 'the biggest whore on earth’) and has founded the so-called ‘Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’. They founded polygamous communities in Canada, Mexico and some remote states of America. The leader Rulon T. Jeffs (supposed as immortal, but now deceased) had 75 wives and left behind at least 65 children (6).   
 
Joseph Smith

Who was the founder of the so-called ‘Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’? (Hereinafter referred to as the Mormon Church). Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in the little town Sharon in the state Vermont. In 1815 the family moved to Palmyra in Ontario, and four years later to Manchester, also in Ontario (in New York) (2). He grew up in an environment of poverty, ignorance and superstition. Also much was done in Freemasonry. The parents of Joseph Smith had become Presbyterian, but he felt more attracted to the Methodists (2). As a child Joseph was hypersensitive, but also difficult and stubborn. He had a great imagination. He loved treasure hunting, divination and ‘saw’ devils and ghosts (33). Both Joseph Smith and his father were engaged in an occult practice, known as ‘money digging’ (treasure hunt) where one performed certain rituals with the purpose to find buried treasures, of which it was assumed that they were guarded by evil spirits (16). This occult practice was 'copied' from a traveling magician and sorcerer, who visited the village of Palmyra, where Joseph lived. The magician said that by using magic stones he could pinpoint places where groundwater and treasures buried by Indians might be (8). When after much digging a Spanish treasure, which according to Joseph should lie somewhere, not was found, Smith was unmasked as a charlatan (8). 

In 1820 Joseph Smith supposedly saw a vision of two heavenly people (God and Jesus?). They told him that he should not join any church, because they were all wrong ..... and that their creeds were an abomination and that all teachers were corrupt" (2, 22) (Pearl of Great Price 1:18 at any church , 19). In that vision Smith supposedly was told that he was called as a prophet of the Most High God, "and that he was chosen to establish God's true church on earth based on a gospel that would be revealed to him (2). Three years later, in 1823, and then again in 1827 Smith received a vision of a certain angel Moroni. In that year, namely on 18 January, Smith married to Emma Hale.
 
(In his own words) Smith supposedly received in 1829, along with his associate Oliver Cowdery, the Aaronic priesthood by John the Baptist, and later also that of Melchizedek, namely given by Peter, James and John (2). And then, in another vision, he got the power to reorganize the church in its former perfection (7). On April 6, 1830 Smith felt compelled to found a church namely ‘the Church of Jesus Christ’. He constantly got new 'revelations', and after a new revelation the name was extended with ‘of the Latter-day Saints’ on April 28, 1838 (7). Several years later, namely on March 15, 1842, Joseph Smith became a Freemason. He writes in ‘History of the Church’, part 4, p. 551: "In the evening I received my first degree in Freemasonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, who had come together in my office". The next day he was elevated to the highest degree of ‘Sublime Master of the Royal Secret’ (p. 552). His involvement with Freemasonry has mainly influenced the temple ceremonies, because less than two months later (on May 2, 1842) Smith introduced, as he received by revelation, the temple ‘endowment’ ceremony (History of the Church, Part 5, pp. 1-2).

Another aspect of Joseph Smith was his relationship with women. When he fell in love with beautiful women from the group of his followers, he received in 1843 the following revelation: "If a man marries a virgin, and wishes to marry another virgin (...), then he is justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given to him" (6). Smith then preached and practiced polygamy that is the right of a man to have more women (2). Misconceptions about sexuality we also see with other cult leaders like David Berg of the 'Children of God' and in The Netherlands Sipke Vrieswijk. Smith taught that ‘plural marriage’ was permitted. According to Smith, unmarried women could not go to heaven, because the possibility for a woman to get into heaven depended more on the merit of her husband then on her own merit (8). Moreover, Jesus also had several women, Smith said (7, 32). Smith also invented, in order to indulge his sexual desire, the concept of the heavenly marriage, which would exceed the earthly marriage (8).
 
Emma Hale, the wife of Joseph, vehemently protested against the polygamy-generated views of her husband. She considered it an abomination and contrary to the Book of Mormon. She was always willing to forgive her husband his sexual ‘indiscretions’, but found it unacceptable that her husband was attempting to build up a doctrinal justification for the violation of monogamous marriage. Smith even wielded repeatedly so-called divine revelations as an argument to marry teenage girls (even 14 years old). Smith cheated on his wife even in the time when, just before his death, he was a fugitive and misused that as a possibility to be with some of his young women (46). Lavina Fielding Anderson, editor of the ‘Journal of Mormon History' writes in an article (1) that she was deeply shocked and disgusted because of the revelations from the book by Newell and Avery (34, 47).  
 
Smith even ventured to become a candidate for the U.S. presidency. But that did not take place because in 1844 he went to prison for polygamy. Smith namely had dozens of wives. On the second day of his arrest, the prison was stormed by a group of armed men, and in a firefight, in which Smith himself wounded or killed some attackers, he was shot dead at the age of 38 (6, 8). So he did not die without resistance and not 'like a lamb that is led to the slaughter”, as it is presented in the scriptures (12).
 
The origin of the Book of Mormon

After many other visions, including the vision mentioned before with ‘God and Jesus’ in 1820, a heaven-like creature, a certain angel Moroni (in his own words an emissary of God) appeared in the night of September 21, 1823 to Smith, and told him that God had a work to do for the young man. And that his name would be known for good and evil over all nations and that somewhere on a hill some gold (or gold-like) plates were buried containing the description of the history of the first inhabitants of America, and the fullness of the gospel, as it was preached by the Savior Himself to the ancient inhabitants (2, 7). Moroni, when he was alive, as the last keeper of the history of early America, supposedly had buried the plates. Ifthisshould not be interpretedasafantasystory, then Joseph Smith must have had contact with the spirit of a dead person! Smith should have known from the Bible that this was forbidden. In a later vision Moroni showed to Smith the place where the plates would lie. Smith was not allowed to reveal this place to anybody. On September 22, 1827 he was allowed to ‘dig up’ the plates, which he ‘found’ by the instruction of the angel Moroni, on the western slope of the hill Cumorah near the village of Manchester where Smith lived. Moroni gave the plates to Smith on the condition that he should return them as this messenger would ask, what has happened later. So the so-called plates on which, according to Smith, the Book of Mormon was based, are no more there. Of course the Mormons state that there have been witnesses but that is highly debatable (2). First, that appears from the fact that Smith refused to show the plates to his father Isaac Hale, using the excuse that anyone other than Joseph Smith himself, would be slain immediately by seeing the plates!! Furthermore, it is known that the so-called witnesses to the 'presence' of the plates had, an instruction from Smith, to pray many hours to be able to ‘see’ the plates (8). We can conclude how strange the story around the plates is.


According to Smith the text of the plates was written in ‘improved Egyptian hieroglyph scrypt’. However, Egyptologists are sure that the Egyptian hieroglyphs in the period of the 5th century B.C. until the 4th century A.D. remained unchanged, and that experts could not have deciphered the plates. How did Smith ‘translate’ the text into English? In his own words Smith supposedly used special glasses that were called 'performers', and which would have been found together with the plates. Usually, as proposed in the literature the Mormon, Joseph Smith had the plates before him, and translated the plates with the 'performers' mentioned, and then dictated the contents of the plates to a writer (17). However, this is not in harmony with the testimony of eye-witnesses (as Oliver Cowdery, the head clerk, David Whitmer and Emma Hale, the wife of Smith), who were there when Joseph dictated. Their story is that Smith put his magic stone or seer stone in his hat, and then ‘buried’ his head in his hat so that he saw no light, and dictated what came into his mind. Smith said he saw the words in the dark of the hat (on parchment and below the English translation). So he did not see the plates at that moment, so they were (sometimes?) non-existent, if they existed at all! It was certainly not a question of translation, but of occult inspiration, such as divination / clairvoyance (16). In this time we would speak of channeling. The magic stone was also used when receiving the many 'revelations' (38). This is confirmed by the Mormon Richard S. Van Wagoner (17, 39).

 
Above the more supernatural (occult) explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon has been discussed. There are other views on the origin of the book, namely plagiarism of other books. According to many commentators, including Kirby (27) it is likely that the Book of Mormon is nothing else but a hotchpotch of sources of later date than the supposed dates mentioned in the Book of Mormon. According to some writers, including Wayne Cowdrey (9), the Book of Mormon is a summary of an unpublished story (‘The Found Manuscript ‘) written by the Presbyterian minister Solomon Spaulding (2). It is remarkable that this manuscript disappeared from a printing company in Pittsburgh between 1812 and 1814, and according to the writer Spaulding, a friend of Joseph Smith was responsible for that (3, 9). Brigham Roberts, one of the main Mormon authorities, shows (40) that in terms of description of the old American population the Book of Mormon is in conflict with recent scientific findings. In a second manuscript (41) Roberts shows among other things that the book ‘View of the Hebrews' by dr. Ethan Smith (43) has been the blueprint for the Book of Mormon. Five years before the publication of the Book of Mormon, the book by Ethan Smith was published in the town where Oliver Cowdery (the nephew of Joseph Smith and later the close collaborator in the creation of the Book of Mormon) lived. Roberts concludes that the Book of Mormon must have had a human origin, given the imagination of Smith, and the many resulting incongruities (3). Remarkably, the Book of Mormon contains many phrases, which are very similar to the ‘Authorized Version’ of the Bible, which could not be known to the presumed authors of the chronicles on the ‘plates found’.  


Of course we must reflect on the coexistence of the two views on the origin of the Book of Mormon. Namely on the one hand the supernatural origin that might constitute information through appearances of spiritual beings, and on the other hand the natural explanation that there would be plagiarism and / or fantasy. They seem to be inconsistent with each other, but it is quite possible that the two options both have played a role, at least in the fantasy world of Joseph Smith. It is possible that Smith indeed received (occult) inspirations (think of the many 'revelations'), but it is also possible that he even has invented that. So he would be or a fantasist / cheater or that he, being so occult mislead and deceived by a lying spirit in the realm of Satan, believed the lie. Incidentally, it is not important which of the possibilities is true. In all cases it is quite clear that Joseph Smith cannot have been a prophet of God, and that it is completely incorrect that a kind of book for boys (with data that cannot be supported by historical facts) is 'elevated' to the basis of a 'pseudo religion'. So it cannot be like The Gospel Doctrine (p. 42) which says that "God has revealed Himself to the world only through Joseph Smith". This is reminiscent to the statement of the false prophet H.J.A. van Geene from Puttershoek in The Netherlands, who believes that people only through him can belong to the bride of Christ.

 
We also want to point out the fallacy that in Mormonism is spoken about the role of the Urim and Thummim in the creation of the Book of Mormon. It is remarkable that there is no mention in the book about the Urim and Thummim. And Smith also never talked about it. What is the reason that there are former writings of Mormons about the Urim and Thummim? The reason is that a certain W.W. Phelps, close associate of Joseph Smith, got the speculative idea (in the year 1833) that the old 'interpreters', mentioned in the Book of Mormon and by Smith, perhaps might be the Urim and Thummim, as known from the Old Testament (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65; Deut. 33:8) (16). The idea of ​​Phelps was partly due to the fact that he associated the use of the magic stone by Smith with the Urim and Thummim. Phelps wrote about it in the Mormon publication ‘The Evening and Morning Star' of January 1833. His wrong vision gained popularity, and is found in many Mormon scriptures later on, and is also included in the official Doctrine & Covenants! Even dating is adapted. We will ignore the question whether there was help from 'interpreters' and the magical stone, or of this magic stone only. The stories about that subject are too absurd to mention (17). 

We see a series of fantasies (not to say: deceptions), misunderstandings and adjustments in order to try to make matters acceptable. It is astonishing to discover how, as we may assume, thoughtful and serious people can be deceived in that way. It seems to me that there is a spell, which is befuddling and obscuring the common sense of people. Also the fear (that one always encounters in cults) can play a role that a person will fall into a deep spiritual pit as one releases the doctrine (read: lie).

The Book of Mormon

The text of the ‘plates’ was issued in 1830 as the Book of Mormon (7). According to Mormons this Book of Mormon is divinely inspired. It is believed to contain "the fullness of the everlasting gospel" (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:5 and 135:3). The Book of Mormon is available in more than 50 languages. There are a hundred million copies printed (April 2000), and spread over the whole world. The book, like the Bible, is divided into ‘books’, chapters and verses, for example: 1 Nephi 2:5; Alma 46:1; Ether 15:31 (the names refer to figures who play a role in the Book of Mormon). By the leaders of the Christian churches the Book of Mormon was considered as blasphemous because of the 'improvements' of the Bible mentioned in the book. But naive, superstitious people, who were tired of hearing about hell and damnation, liked the book, because they now had their own book of a living prophet who had brought the scriptures from the Hill of Cumorah just as Moses had taken the 10 commandments from Sinai (8).  

What you can read in the Book of Mormon? Largely it contains a boring and long-winded story about the religious and secular history of two tribes, namely the Lamanites and Nephites during the period 600 BC to 421 AD. These tribes are supposed to   form a part of the nation of Israel (even is claimed that the 12 apostles were Nephites) (2). According to data in the Book of Mormon the tribes had to emigrate around 600 BC to a land of promise: America. A group of Israelites departed from Jerusalem, and after a long journey by sea, they finally arrived in Central America, where the Lamanites and Nephites initially settled. They were not exemplary tribes, because there was murder and there was cannibalism. The Book of Mormon also tells that Jesus supposedly appeared in the American continent after His ascension and that He supposedly planted there the gospel in all its fullness (2). Mormons believe that the original inhabitants of the Americas were 'the other sheep' spoken of in John. 10:16 and that is why they were visited by Christ. However, that verse refers to the Gentiles. Furthermore, an authoritative historical institute states that there is no evidence of a migration from Israel to America  whatsoever, and that the Indians, who lived in America before the discovery of America by Columbus had no knowledge of the Bible or the Christian faith at all (21).   

The Book of Mormon would be redacted by the Mormon prophet-historian (born in 311 AD.), taken from 'the plates of Nephi’. Nephi was supposed to be a descendant of Manasseh, the son of Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob, and would be the ancestor of the Nephites. The mentioned prophet-historian Mormon was charged by God to adapt the chronicles of Nephi. Around 385 AD., after the violent death of Mormon, the work would be continued by Moroni, the son of Mormon. This Moroni (who as ‘angel’ would later be the contact person with Joseph Smith) had sealed the annals in 421 AD., and supposedly had hidden the reports in a stone coffin on the slope of a hill, until Joseph Smith found this coffin 'led by the spirit of the meanwhile deceased Moroni' (2). This story is too strange to believe.


The Book of Mormon also contains a curious mixture of biblical texts and quotes, supplemented by statements of Mormon and Moroni. Moreover, there are historical errors, and people who lived long before the time of Jesus supposedly spoke what Jesus said when He lived on earth. Of course that is impossible. There are many inaccuracies, and the Old and New Testament are confused with each other. The Book of Mormon has been adapted many times because of errors and inconsistencies (19).

Vision of the Book of Mormon.

It's mind-boggling what nonsense is fantasized in this book. It is shocking to hear what Joseph Smith wrote about the Book of Mormon: "It is the most correct book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and man will be brought closer to God by following the rules of this book than those of any other book". If you're reading this, you already know enough. This Smith was the man who, after the founding of the Mormon Church, believed that God, through revelation, had commanded him to revise the Bible (32, p. 10). In order to justify the existence of the Book of Mormon Smith wrote (32, page 65.): "God has never said that He never would speak after what He has spoken in the Bible. By God's providence a part of His Word that He has given to the saints of former days, came into our hands and the divine origin is recognized" (2). This shows how crafty the devil is working. For it cannot be denied that God wants to speak to believers through His Holy Spirit, but that should never contradict the revealed Word of God as written in the Bible. And the Book of Mormon shows clearly great contradictions with the Bible. 

If it were true, that the people, who are described in the Book of Mormon would be Jews who had come from Jerusalem, it is very remarkable that concepts and names that are mentioned in the Old Testament, such as Passover, circumcision, priesthood, temple, ark of the covenant, incense, Jewish feasts, etc. do not occur in the Book of Mormon at all. It is also strange that the chronicles were written in Egyptian, and not in Hebrew. It is also very strange that nothing of the story in the Book of Mormon (names of cities, leaders, battles, coins, clothing) is supported by archeology!, whereas the Bible is confirmed by a huge amount of archaeological material. You can only find the name Aaron in the Book of Mormon, but never with regard to the priesthood of Aaron (44).


Other authoritative books of the Mormons

Bible, "as far as it is accurately translated", according to Articles of Faith, Article 8. This view came by revelation to Joseph Smith, for "Bible verses were, compared with the Bible, quoted different by a person standing in the light", and "Through ignorant translators, careless transcribers and conspiring and corrupt priests, many mistakes were made" (35, page 64.). Therefore, the Bible is not reliable, Smith said (2).

Book of Doctrine and Covenants. This includes the display of so-called 'divine' revelations, partly 'received from the Lord', partly given by Smith himself, and also different doctrines and Bible quotes. The prophecies and revelations are very personally, accompanied by mentioning the names of those involved. Later some revelations of successors of Joseph Smith were added, such a revelation about the abolition of polygamy by Wilford Woodruff (2).

Pearl of Great Price. This includes a selection out of the revelations, translations and writings of Joseph Smith. It consists of the following components:
1) Visions of Moses, revealed to Smith in June 1830,
2) The Book of Abraham (published in 1842),
3) Writings of Joseph Smith, including excerpts from his life history, and
4) Articles of Faith of the Mormon Church (2).
 
Also with regard to the so-called Book of Abraham again it is obvious that Joseph Smith either has fantasized or was inspired by occult means. This refers to the ‘translation’ by Joseph Smith of a papyrus, which he had purchased in 1835 from a traveling antique dealer in Kirtland, Ohio. This would be an ancient manuscript out of the catacombs of Egypt, written by Abraham during his sojourn in Egypt. According to a book by Charles Larson (30), that in 1967, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York City, a role has been found that indeed appeared to be the manuscript that Joseph Smith had bought in 1835. But it appeared to be just a pagan Egyptian funeral document that has nothing to do with Abraham!

In this context another big failure of Joseph Smith and his successors has to be mentioned. On April 23, 1843 six brass plates with indecipherable inscriptions were found near Kinderhook, Illinois, about 100 kilometers south of Nauvoo (26). These were presented to Joseph Smith, who 'translated' a part of it and thought that it was the history of somebody from the time of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. More than a century it had been considered to support the Book of Mormon, until in 1980 studies from the Mormon Kimball using modern techniques, showed that it only was a modern copper alloy from the 19th century. This obviously did raise big questions about the prophetic claims of Joseph Smith and his 'talent' to 'translate' ancient languages.

Doctrine of the Mormons

It should be pointed out that the doctrine is not consistent as a whole. In the course of time many changes were made in the doctrine and the writings, including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, History of the Church, etc. (12). Even there are teachings that are contrary to the Book of Mormon. The president of the Mormon Church, a so-called living prophet, can receive new revelations, by which things should be reviewed (e.g. because of the needs of his leadership). So the vision is always changing.

Let us cite a few examples. In 1960, the Mormons were told not to say that they were Christians. But because it was hindering the growth of the number of 'converts', it was ordained in 1970 to say to be called a Christian. Previously, the Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie pointed out to the Mormons, not to pursue a personal relationship with Jesus. But nowadays the missionaries speak about it, but only as a missionary tool, because one gets more support. Initially it was said that blacks would be unworthy to be a priest, but when it was discovered that especially in Brazil many priests had black ancestors, and the church was labeled as anti-racist (what did not benefit the missionary activities) the vision was revised in 1978. 

The official doctrine says that the Book of Mormon, the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price never conflict with the Bible, as it was ‘before the Bible was corrupted by bad people’. Historical facts that were contrary to official Mormon teachings are considered by definition as false because they do not promote the Mormon Faith. It is stated that an apostle or prophet directly is inspired by God. If he's wrong, he spoke as a man, but he will never mislead (48). Everything that is directed against the Mormon Church has to be seen as false or unreliable; even it is seen as evidence that the doctrine of the Mormon Church must be true. And even if the church would be false, still it teaches good values ​​for the family and that's good enough. Moreover, if the Mormon Church should be false, then all churches would be false. Former President Young has warned that if someone begins to criticize the leaders and teachings of the Church, "you may know that that person has more or less the spirit of apostasy". And further: "Apostasy is turning away from the church and ultimately denying the faith" (28). Remarkably, the Book of Mormon hardly is the basis of the doctrine, but the book is still honored to keep the suggestion of divine revelation alive (3). Think of the image of the angel Moroni with trumpet on the temples. They want to stick to tradition as is done in many other churches.   

What is the content of the writings of the Mormon Church? The Teachings, the speeches of former President Young (10), the Doctrine and Covenants, the Gospel-doctrine of John F. Smith (6th president) contain very peculiar ideas. We name a few. Except believing in one God, Mormons also believe in a multiple of gods and worlds. That is pure paganism (2) (33). Adam's sin is described as a positive step in the development of man (25), Joseph Smith learned by so-called revelation that Adam became the archangel Michael and that Noah became the angel Gabriel (32, p. 41). Brigham Young (the successor to Joseph Smith) taught that Adam had several wives, and that Adam was God and also the archangel Michael (25, vol. 1, pp. 50-51). This Young reaffirmed this teaching several times and even it is included in the journals of the Mormons of his time.

Some other ideas in the writings of the Mormons: God the Father would have a body of flesh and bones (35) (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22) (whereas the Bible teaches that God is spirit, which is ubiquitous), and God was once as we are now (32). Joseph Smith even taught that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a father (32), according to the theology of the Mormons Jesus was a spiritual brother of Lucifer (19), the Garden of Eden was located on the American continent (10). Genesis 2:11-14 shows that this view is wrong (2). There are other examples, but they are too blasphemous to mention. Otherwise, in later 'revelations' some of the above ideas are rejected as incorrect.

Other elements of doctrine as expressed in their creed, seem to be endorsed by Christians. The problem is that several biblical concepts often have a different content and meaning (2). It is similar to the new age book 'A Course in Miracles' (18). Although Mormons (appear to) believe in redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they also believe in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith, by whose intervention the truth in this dispensation was restored (2). It should also be noted that the Mormons understand by ‘rescue’ something different than what the Bible says. Their doctrine teaches that salvation ultimately comes through own good works, namely by obeying all laws and regulations of the Mormon Church, whereas the Bible says that we are saved by grace, and that good works follow after salvation (Eph. 2: 8-10). The Mormon Church knows baptism, but it is otherwise than in Christian churches. Children are baptized by immersion for the remission of their sins when they are 8 years old, and then they also receive the laying on of hands (2) (Doctrine and Covenants 68: 25-27). They even know the baptism for the dead, for the remission of sins on behalf of dead relatives, who have not heard the gospel or the fullness of it (32).
 
How remarkable some views of Mormons can be, if one looks at their lives, their ethics, these seem to be Christian anyway. They reject abortion and euthanasia on religious grounds. They preach purity and marital fidelity (even though this was not the case in the life of Smith himself). In addition, they swear off the use of alcohol, coffee, tea and tobacco. But it must be remembered that behind it legalistic spirits lurk (see Col 2: 20- 23 in The Book!). Their faith and loyalty to the secular powers make them an accepted community everywhere. Mormons often are highly placed government officials in American politics (14).
 
Temple Rituals

The Mormons know churches and temples. Non-Mormons only are allowed in the churches, but not in the temples. The temples are designed completely different. What does happen in those Mormon Temples that are sealed with high secrecy, and which are made perfectly and look quite stunning, and in which one should not talk to each other but only whisper? (28). The rituals (‘ordinances’), which may be performed only in the temple, are very important because they are seen as the only way to be saved and to be raised to divinity (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20). Mrs. Camacho, an ex-Mormon who lives in The Netherlands says: "We need to do so much for people, so many rituals, promises and work to earn salvation. But where is the sacrifice of Christ?" (28).

Mormons say that the temple ceremonies are taken from the Hebrew tradition. They also claim that the early church, as it was founded by Jesus Christ and His apostles practiced these temple rituals. The Bible however does not know secret temple rituals (John 18:20). And whereas in the Old Testament the Temple in Jerusalem served as the dwelling place of God (Ps. 5:7; Luc. 19:45-46), the New Testament teaches (1 Cor. 3:16; John 14:20; 1 Cor. 6:19) us that the believers, as individuals and as a community of faith, are the temple of God. Again we see the non-biblical nature of Mormonism (20).

In the Mormon Temples unusual rituals have taken place, which were revised many times in the course of history. Also rituals are performed for already deceased Mormons, such as baptism for the dead. In every Mormon Temple there is a large font. The basin of the biblical temple was not used to baptize, as the Mormon Church teaches. And again, in addition to the normal civil marriage, marriages are celebrated with the intention to guarantee eternal marriages, so that Mormons can get children after they have become gods and goddesses after their death (2, 20). In this way deceased married women can be given (by contract) in marriage with a Mormon high priest. Also the Mormon temple ritual of eternal marriage has never been practiced in the biblical temple, even not mentioned once in the Bible, or in the ancient Jewish literature or in early Christian history. On the contrary, in Rom. 7:2 the apostle Paul declares clearly that marriage only is intended for the earthly life: "For the woman who has a husband is bound to her husband by the law as long as he is alive; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law in regard to her husband" (45). And Jesus clearly says in Matt. 22:30 that there will be no marriages in heaven. Again one sees in Mormonism the unbiblical thinking.

Certain rituals, especially the initiation rituals, start with ceremonial washings and anointings. Then each participant will receive a new name and a garment that supposedly has the symbolic power to keep off physical and mental dangers. Then follows the so-called ‘Endowment’, which is essentially a distorted representation of the fall of man with the so-called acceptance of the teachings of the Mormons by Adam. Finally, the participant must take a number of oaths and has to answer some questions correctly in order to be finally allowed to go through a curtain (20). All this is reminiscent of the atmosphere at the initiations in Freemasonry. The rituals also have similarities with the temple ritual of Nimrod (Babylon), Isis and Osiris (Egypt), and witchcraft. Many of the rituals in Mormonism so have their origins in superstition as well as in paganism and occultism, as is the case in Freemasonry. Also there are initiations for already dead people. Their names are taken from the large genealogical library (3). This library is provided with data because in very many countries teams are busy with laying down on microfiche record all registers of baptism and genealogical registers.  

In connection with the temple service, we would like to highlight the fact that the Mormon Church claims to have recovered the priesthood of Aaron. But this is not possible, because the Hebrew immigrants mentioned in the Book of Mormon are described as descendants of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:16) or Manasseh, which are associated with Joseph (Alma 10:3), and not of the tribe of Levi, and thus never exercised the lawful priesthood of Aaron after all. The Bible teaches very explicitly that only men of the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron shall be entitled to serve as priest in the temple sanctuary as a priest (e.g. Num. 3:10; Num. 18:1 t / m 7) . Moreover, as we saw above, in the New Testament the temple is no longer a building, but the one who believes in Jesus Christ as Savior, is a temple of the Holy Spirit (45).
 
Conclusions

We can draw conclusions 1) from the data concerning the person of Joseph Smith, 2) from the source from which it was drawn, and 3) from the content of the writings and teachings of the Mormons. Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God, but someone who (because of felt rejection) wanted to be someone, and thereby opened himself up for occult deception, fantasy and deceit [the article by Clark Julius (8) gives a very clear picture of the unreliability of Smith]. And, correspondingly, the source is not from God, and the writings of the Mormons are in conflict with the Bible.  

Therefore it is undeniable that despite some apparent similarities with the Christian faith and using some of the same terminology (but often with different content), the conclusion must be drawn that Mormonism should be seen as a non-Christian sect (22). Mormonism is a caricature of the Christian faith, a dangerous blend of church and world of flesh and spirit, and of Christian, pagan and occult elements (7).

The so-called "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' can certainly not be seen as the only true church which is entitled to bear the name of Jesus Christ and who would have His divine authority, as the Teachings of Joseph Smith (p. 135) would want you to believe. When Brigham Young, Smith's successor, dares to say: "The sin of the Christian denomination is that they have rejected the light (Joseph Smith) that came to them", it shows the distraction and deception of the doctrine of the Mormons.

The bastion of Mormonism essentially is based on a fantasized and / or occult inspired book that uses the theories about origin, which were very popular in the 19th century, mainly in order to boost British and Americans trying to lift up their self-esteem with a pretended divine origin (33). Throughout their teaching the shadow of the angel Moroni (a fantasy figure or an evil spirit from the realm of satan) is walking round, and the prophet Joseph Smith, who is honored in an almost idolatrous way (2).   

For the proclamation and spread of the Kingdom of God, the book of Mormon is absolutely unnecessary. It is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is a deception that is keeping people unnecessarily busy, and distracts them from the core of the gospel, namely getting to know Jesus Christ and reaching out to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Behind the origin of Mormonism is a deceiving spirit whose task is to keep humans from the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the Christian faith, Jesus Christ is the central Person. He is the Lamb of God who died to redeem us from our sin debt. For Mormons Christ, the Anointed One, does not have the central place, but Jesus is, so to say, a precursor of Joseph Smith, whose name is mentioned many hundreds of times more often in their teachings than that the name of Jesus (2). Based on data mentioned above we can say that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, even if one could and would speak of a prophet at all. Better to say that he 'earns' the title of fantast and deceiver, in which fantasy and occult influences were mixed.

Just as we saw in the discussion in Promise of July 2000 (18) of the new age book 'A Course in Miracles' (involving a so-called messenger from the spiritual world), also regarding Mormonism can be said in the words of the apostle Paul: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any gospel to you other than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have told you before, I tell you again, If anyone preaches any gospel to you other than the one you received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1: 8 and 9). It is therefore very sad that a stronghold of lies as Mormonism is, and which is based on fantasy and errors, and is surrounded by a haze of paganism, has captivated millions of people.
 

Final Note

In this article fundamental criticism is given about the doctrine and the legalistic system of the Mormon Church, but we want to emphasize that we do not reject or condemn the people, who are caught in this deceptive system. After all they are people with a sense of community and a willingness to make sacrifices, and they are clean, honest and loving people with good intentions. Thus, one seriously is engaged in educating young people (starting in their 12th year) to priests and elders (2). But those good intentions are no guarantee of truth. Mormons have come under the spell of an indoctrination system, which has a dark background, so that one does not notice that one is deceived. It is important to treat them with the love and respect of the Lord Jesus Christ, so showing the power of the Holy Spirit, and so being attracted by His love and glory. I would wish that the Mormons shall know Jesus, as an ex-Mormon has experienced. He writes in his letter: "The main reason to leave the Mormon Church was finding Jesus Christ. And He found me" (12). Mormons should dare to see, how they have believed the lies from the realm of Satan. Converted Mormons should do the same as the heathen did in the past, when they came into faith in Jesus Christ, namely that they would burn (nowadays: would throw in the shredder) all their pagan books, and start a new life with Jesus. He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Who will seek Him sincerely, will find Him!


Drs. Piet Guijt
June 2013

help by translation Herb Boyd

References and notes
(The figures quoted in parentheses in the article are references to the numbers in the list below)

1. Anderson, Lavina Fielding, The Garden God Hath Planted: Explorations Toward a Maturing Faith. In Sunstone, October 1990, p. 26-27.
2. Baaren, J. I. van, Mormonen en hun geloof(Mormons and their faith), Moria Foundation, 1977.
3. Baaren, J. I. van, Mormonen en hun leer in het licht van de Bijbel(Mormons and their learning in the light of the Bible), Moria Foundation, 1986.
4. Bible.
5. Book of Mormon (Writings of the Mormons).
6. Bouwman, Willem. ‘Geïnspireerde broers doden hun schoonzus’('Inspired brothers kill their sister). In: Nederlands Dagblad, June 18, 2004.)
7. Christelijke encyclopedie, deel 5(Christian encyclopedia, part 5), Kok, Kampen 1960.
8. Clark Julius, C., Joseph Smith. The Philalethes - August 1987. (2think.org) (www.lds-mormon.com/jsmith.shtml).
9. Cowdrey, Wayne. L. Who really wrote the Book of Mormon?
10. Discourses of Brigham Young (Writings of the Mormons).
11. Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith (6th president) (Writings of the Mormons).
12. Evans, Daniel, Letter to Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Mormon Church, November 15, 1993.
13. Evansen, Glenn and Joel B. Groat, Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates Overview and Current Perspectives, Institute for Religious Research, 2003. (http://www.irr.org)
14. Eyck, Marc, Wat geloven de Mormonen? (What do Mormons believe?), Katholiek Nieuwsblad, February 8, 2002.
15. Groat, Joel B., A Mormon General Authority's Doubts About the Authenticity of the Book of Mormon. (http://www.irr.org)

16. Groat, Joel B., Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism, Institute For Religious Research, 1999. (http://www.irr.org)
17. Groat, Joel B., Translation or Divination? Institute For Religious Research, 1999. (http://www.irr.org)
18. Guyt, Piet, Is ‘Een cursus in wonderen’ uit God of niet?(Is 'A Course in Miracles' from God or not?). In: Promise, July 2000.
19. Hanegraaff, Hank, The Basics Of Mormonism, Christian Research Institute, Rancho Santa Margarita. (www.equip.org)
20. Hanegraaff, Hank, Mormon Temple Rituals, Christian Research Institute, Rancho Santa Margarita. (www.equip.org)
21. Hanegraaff, Hank, Did Jesus Appear in America? Christian Research Institute, Rancho Santa Margarita. (www.equip.org)
22. Hanegraaff, Hank, What is Mormonism? Christian Research Institute, Rancho Santa Margarita. (www.equip.org)
23. History of the Church (over 20 thick sections) (Writings of the Mormons).
24. Is Mormonism Christian? A Comparison of Mormonism and Historic Christianity, Institute for Religious Research, 1999. (http://www.irr.org)

25. Journal of Discourses (Writings of the Mormons).
26. Kimball, Stanley B., Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to Be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax. In: Ensign 11 August 1981, p. 69-70.
27. Kirby, Gilbert, The Mormons.
28. Koops, Ronald, Salt Lake Sect. In: Visie, March 2002. (based on file ‘Geestelijke stromingen’ (Spiritual movements) under ‘Naar Buiten’ (Outside) on http://www.eo.nl/predikanten).
29. Krakauwer, Jon. In de ban van de hemel. Een verhaal over gewelddadig geloof(Under the Banner of Heaven. A Story of Violent Faith). Uitg. Prometheus Amsterdam, 2004.
30. Larson, Charles, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, Institute for Religious Research, 1992.
31. Doctrine & Covenants (Writings of the Mormons).
32. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Writings of the Mormons).
33. Maanen, Alexander, Mormonen(Mormons). (www.faq-online.nl/verslagen/geloofsovertuigingen/mormonen)
34. Newell, Linda King & Valeen Tippets Avery, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, 2nd ed, University of Illinois Press, 1994.
35. Pearl of Great Price (Writings of the Mormons).
36. Persbureau Het KNP, Wereldwijd snelle groei Mormonen(The news agency KNP, Worldwide fast growth Mormons), Lienden, July 19, 2004.
37. Priest, Josiah, Wonders of Nature and Providence (published in 1824 in New York, just 30 kilometers from the place where Joseph Smith lived from 1815 to 1830. It contained the almost generally accepted view that the Indians were the descendants of the Hebrews).
38. Quinn, D. Michael, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Signature Books, SLC, 1987, p. 143.
39. Rigdon, Sidney, A Portrait of Religious Excess, Signature Books, SLC, 1994, p. 57.
40. Roberts, Brigham. H., Book of Mormon Difficulties (1st manuscript in 1922).
41. Roberts, Brigham. H., A Book of Mormon-Study (2nd manuscript in 1922).
42. Roberts, BH, Studies of the Book of Mormon, 2nd edition (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992).
43. Smith, Ethan, View of the Hebrews (published in 1823 in Poultney, Vermont, only a few miles from Windsor, Vermont where Joseph Smith's family lived until was he ten years of age. Roberts Considered it ‘probable’ that Ethan Smith's book was

"either possessed by Joseph Smith or certainly known by him, for [it] was surely available to him" - Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.153).
44. Wilson, Luke P., Contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Institute for Religious Research, 1999. (http://www.irr.org)

45. Wilson, Luke P., Zijn Mormonen tempels christelijk? (Are Mormons temples christian?). Institute for Religious Research, 2001. (http://www.irr.org/mit/temple-dutch.html)
46. Wilson, Luke P., The Thorn in Joseph's Side, a book review of the book ‘Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith’, 2nd ed. of the writers Linda King Newell & Valeen Tippets Avery, Institute for Religious Research, 1999. (http://www.irr.org)
47. In 1890, 11 years after the death of Emma, ​​her conviction was taken over by the Mormon Church, and polygamy was abolished  by the successor to Brian Young (who had 27 wives and 52 children), namely Wilford Woodreff.
48. An ex-Mormon sighs: "If prophets could not mislead their followers (like the Mormon Church states), why does the Church teach now (rightly) that the vision of Young must now be considered a false doctrine?"
49. Robertson, Judy, Uit de greep van de mormonen. Een vrouw op zoek naar de waarheid(Out of the grip of the Mormons. A woman seeking the truth), Heerenveen (Barnabas, 2003) and the associated website: www.concernedchristians.org

 

 

 


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