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Mormon Church - Denomination, Cult, or World Religion?

The Church of Jesus Christ The Latter Day Saints or “LDS” or “Mormons” claim that they are not only Christian, but according to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and a score of other LDS writings, they are the only “true” church. Since this site is dedicated to “truth for saints” I thought it prudent to examine these “truth” claims for the LDS church to see if indeed it is A. Christian and B. The “True” Church.

1. The Canon - LDS apologists contend that several of the books of the Bible were not accepted
    as Scripture until the 'councils'. However, the method by which a scroll or parchment was
    accepted as "Scripture" was in truth, determined by the following process:
    a. Self – authenticating quality
    b. Commonly used in Christian worship (Col 4:16 commonly circulated)
    c. Apostolic authority – direct ties to an Apostle
    d. Commonly received as Scripture by the people of its time in both the OT and the NT
    e. The Old Testament is taken directly from the Hebrew Canon
        • all books of the Old Testament are quoted by Jesus
    f. Internal consistency – 66 books, over 40 authors in 3 languages on 3 continents
        • yet does not contradict other scripture,

2.  Reliability: LDS claims that 'wicked priests' changed the Bible and removed "precious truths"
   
(Book of Mormon — 1 Nephi 13:26-29; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, pp. 190-191)
    However, the following facts still remain and will need to be accounted for:
    a. Manuscript Evidence– 24,633 mss dating back to 150AD!
    b. Archaeological Evidence– voluminous evidence verifying every monetary unit, culture,
        city, people  etc.
    c. Predictive Prophecy Evidence– 61 major prophecies fulfilled to the tee in Jesus
    d. Scientific Statistical Probability of fulfilled prophecy.

3. LDS claim there was a 'great apostasy'.
(Gospel Principles, pp. 105-106; Mormon Doctrine, p. 44).
    However, there doesn't seem to be an answer to a simple question: When did this happen?
    Again, here are some facts that Joseph Smith failed to take into account prior to his claim:
    a. There is an unbroken line of teaching/teachers:
        i. 30-33 AD (the time of Jesus Himself)
        ii. 33-95 AD Apostles
        iii. 95-165 Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Clement of Rome
        iv. 165-284 Iraneus, Origen
        v. 328-430 Athanasius, Chrysostom, St. Jerome, Augustine
    b. The early church fathers passed the consistent teaching of Scripture to the reformers
        i. 16th century - Wycliff, Hus, 14th cent. ; Martin Luther, Jean Calvin
        ii. 17th century - John Bunyan
       iii. 18th century - John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards (contemporaries of Joseph Smith)
       iv. 19th century - D.L. Moody,
        v. 20th century - C.S Lewis, Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer

4. Denominations: LDS claims that all other denominations are an abomination to God.
   
(v19 “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me
said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt - Joseph Smith, History lds.org
)
    a. Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Lutherans, Methodists, Church of England (Anglican),
        Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Evangelical
        • all comprise the vast majority of the Biblical Christian orthodoxy.
    b. The above list (though not exhaustive) are all agreed on the basic essentials of the faith:
        i.God is triune (not 3 gods - one in purpose)
        ii. Jesus is God the Son (not the spirit brother of Lucifer)
        iii. The Holy Spirit is God,  etc.
    c. The orthodox denominations might differ is on the non-essentials i.e. method of worship,
        methods of edification of the church i.e ways of applying the gifts of the Spirit,
        free will v. God's will emphasis...etc. but they still hold to the essentials listed above,
        whereas LDS doctrine rejects the above essentials outright. It is primarily for this reason
        that the LDS faith considers itself a "Christian" religion, but orthodox Christianity,
        on the whole, considers Mormonism to be a cult that formed around the misguided
        charisma of a man named Joseph Smith.

5. Mormon History according to Mormon and other external historical records.
    a. Prior to starting his own church, Joseph Smith was a treasure seeker and a Mason
    b. Smith claimed to go into the forest to find the true church and received a vision of
        God and Jesus
    c. In this vision god told him to join no church for they are all an abomination to god
    d. Smith claims to have received some ancient plates with Egyptian Hieroglyphics
        and the Urim and Thummim
    e. From these he translated the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price,
        and Doctrine and Covenants.    
    f. They taught and practiced polygamy and were subsequently chased out of
        Pennsylvania, Ohio (where Smith was killed in a gunfight)
    g. Brigham Young took over the movement and they migrated west along the Oregon Trail
    h. They came into the Salt Lake Valley and Brigham said his famous, "This is the place"
    i. The church settled there with Brigham at the helm
    j. The presidency passed to chosen men from the "12 apostles"
    k. they settled into Idaho, Nevada, and Utah - all 3 states heavily LDS in population.
    l. Mormonism, although claiming 501c3 status as a recipient of members’ tithes, 
        is a very successful business: owning ZCMIs, Banks, etc

6. Who is god, according to Mormon books?
    a. God came from a planet near a star named Kolob –
(B of M Abraham 3:1-3)
    b. God came here to Earth as a baby and grew into God
(Teachings of the Prophet  Joseph Smith,
        J.F. Smith pp345-346; Life of Lorenzo Snow, Dr. Thomas Romney p46; Art. of Faith, James Talmage p430)

    c. There are many gods and goddesses in the heavens
(B of M Abraham 4:3)
    d. Not 1 God in 3 persons but 3 gods with 1 purpose
       
(Bruce Mckonkie, Mormon Doctrine, p576-577; Teaching of the Prophet Joeseph Smith, JF Smith p370)
        

7. Who is Jesus, according to Mormon books?
    a. Jesus is one of many 'spirit sons' of God
(Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie p192,590;
        Gospel Principles, pp. 17-18)

    b. Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers
(Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie p192,590)
    c. both offered plans, Lucifer's was rejected, he rebelled
(Gospel Through The Ages,
        Milton Hunter p15; "Pearl of Great Price", Book of Moses  4:1-3)

    d. Jesus' plan was accepted and he came to Earth
("Pearl of Great Price", Book of Moses  4:1-3)
    e. God cannot create man because man's spirit has always existed –
       
(Doctrines and Covenants 93:29; Abraham 3:22; Teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith, JF Smith p354)
    f. Man has no beginning but grows from man into God –
(see above references)
        + (Mormon Doctrine p321; D & C 132:20-21; Teachings of Prophet JS, p347, 374 Articles of Faith, p530)

    g. The "true" Gospel was lost from the Earth

            (Doctrines of Salvation vol 3 pp 265-326; D & C 112:23)

    h. Salvation is automatically applied for Adamic sin; the rest of your daily sin requires works
        
(Articles of Faith, James E. Talmage p85, 91, 92; for 'works' see references below)
    i. Accepting the doctrines and ordinances of Mormonism results in true salvation
(Gospel
            Principles, p. 303-304; Pearl of Great Price  - Third Article of Faith; Mormon Doctrine, pp. 339, 671;
            Book of Mormon — 2 Nephi 25:23)

    j. Those who died without hearing the Mormon "gospel" have an opportunity to hear
        after dying
(Mormon Doctrine, pp. 686-687; I Peter 3:18-21, 4:6; D. & C. 76:73-74)
    k. Baptism for the dead, necessary for salvation: Living LDS baptized on behalf of dead
       
(D & C 128:15; Teachings of Prophet J.S., JFS p193; Articles of Faith, p152)

8. Mormon doctrine authority
    a. 'scriptures' what are they?
        i. Book of Mormon – Comprised of supposed accounts of Jesus visit to the "Indians" of
            North America. However, not a single artifact has been found to support a single story.
        ii. Pearl of Great Price – Contains Abraham in Egypt; Articles of Faith; History etc.
        iii. Doctrines and Covenants – compilation of ecclesiastical constitution for LDS church
        iv. Bible –  KJV or Joseph Smith Translation are only accepted versions. Because, like
              most cults, Mormons believe the Bible to corrupt, it is the least of all LDS scripture.
    b. 'Prophets' who are they, who were they?
        i. Most cults begin from the endeavor of a powerful personality who controlled the scope
            of investiation and questioning that was allowed by the sect.
        ii. Prophet is the same as the 'President' with similar authority as Catholic Pope
        iii. Line of LDS Men Who Claimed or were Named 'Prophet'
           
Joseph Smith1830-1844
                Brigham Young1844-1877
                John Taylor 1877-1887
                Wilford Woodruff 1887-1898
                Lorenzo Snow1898-1901
                Joseph F. Smith 1901-1918
                Heber J. Grant1918-1945
                George Albert Smith 1945-1951
                David O. McKay1951-1970
                Joseph Fielding Smith 1970-1972
                Harold B. Lee 1972-1973
                Spencer W. Kimball1973-1985
                Ezra Taft Benson 1985-1994
                Howard W. Hunter1994-1995
                Gordon B. Hinckley 1995-present

    
9. Major Points of Difference Between LDS and Christians:
    a. LDS God v. Biblical God
        i. "our father in heaven" god of the LDS church comes from a planet near a star
            named Kolob contrast this vs the Biblical "God The Father"
            Who created all planets and all stars. Kolob or no Kolob.
    b. god of the LDS church began as man vs Biblical God with no beginning or end
    c. LDS Jesus vs. Biblical Jesus
       i. "Jesus Christ the Savior" of the LDS faith was "sired" from the above erroneous god
            in a physical relation with Mary (as the LDS god is a glorified man) contrast this vs. the
            Biblical Jesus who created all things and has always been God unchanging with the
            Father and Holy Spirit Triune God.
       ii. Jesus of the LDS faith is satan's spirit-brother  contrast this vs the Biblical Jesus
            who is satan's God and creator

10. Internal issues of Mormon Authority –
       
2Pet 1:20 'No scripture came by private interpretation...but men spoke by God...'
     a. Conflict within what the LDS Prophet says and LDS scriptures say. 

       
LDS Prophet:
        LDS Scriptures: Alma 34:33-35
– No chance for salvation after death
       
                            2 Nephi 28:21-22; Mosiah 2:39; 3:25 – The devil teaches 'no hell'

        LDS Prophet:
        LDS Scriptures: Mosiah 7:27; D&C 38:1-3
– Christ was the God, the Father of all things
                                Alma 18:26-28; 22:9-11 – God is a spirit

        LDS Prophet:
        LDS Scriptures: Moses 2:26a
– God MADE man in His own image
                                Mormon 9:9-11, 19; Moroni 7:22 – God has ALWAYS been God

        LDS Prophet:
        LDS Scriptures: D&C 20:19,28; 2 Nephi 31:21; 3Nephi 11:36
– There is only ONE God
                
11. External issues of Mormon Authority:
    a. Though many archaeologists LDS and secular have tried and tried, still not one monetary
        unit or civilization, city, people etc has been found in any of the sites mentioned in
        the Book of Mormon
    b. Smithsonian Institute states in publicly distributed statements that there is no connection
        between the Book of Mormon and Central and South American archeology
        (where the events supposedly took place) SIL - 76 Rev. May 1980
    c Changes to LDS Scripture – about 4000 changes to the Book of Mormon
        since the 1830 edition appeared. This is a curious bit of information, considering that all
        of the odd, extra-biblical teachings of Mormon are predicated on Joe Smith's claim that the
        Bible can't be trusted because it had been "changed" by wicked priests.

        1830 Book of Mormon "And he said unto me,  Behold, the virgin which thou seest,
                        is the mother of God
 ....first book of Nephi, P. 25
        Current Book of Mormon: "And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is
                        the mother of the Son of God...
I Nephi 11:18-21)

        1830 Book of Mormon "And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying,
                            look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the
                            people; yea, the Everlasting God..."
First Book of Nephi, p.26.
        Current Book of Mormon: "...that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the
                        everlasting God."
INephi 11:32
                    
        1830 Book of Mormon "And now limhi was again filled with joy, on learning from the
                        mouth of ammon that King Benjamin had a gift from God..."

                        Book of Mosiah, P. 200

        Current Book of Mormon: "...filled with joy in learning from the mouth of Ammon that
                       King Mosiah had a gift from God..."

12. Failed prophecies:
    a. Inhabitants on the Moon Prophecy
        i. Oliver B. Huntington, a devout LDS contemporary of Joseph Smith, stated that Smith
            taught,"The inhabitants of  the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants
            of the earth, being six feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style and
            are quite general in style or fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally;
            near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by Joseph (Smith)
            the Seer, and he could see whatever he asked the Father in the name of Jesus to see"
           
(Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, Vol. II, p. 166).
        ii. In over 60 years of close observation of the moon and its surface, no inhabitants found.
                        
    b. Inhabitants of the Sun
        i. Brigham Young, second LDS Prophet, said, "Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this
            little planet that shines on an evening, called the Moon?... When you inquire about the
            inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to
            them as the most ignorant of their fellows. So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the
            Sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life
            there? No question about it; it was not made in vain"

            (Journal of Discourses Vol. XIII, p. 271).
        ii. This is a Prophet speaking here. His word is supposedly the word of the LDS god and
            The Prophet is as infallible as the LDS god (c.f. Roman Catholic Pope) see below:
            • Brigham Young, "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children
                of men, that they may not call Scripture"
(Ibid., p. 95).
            • This "Scripture" about men on the moon as well as the Sun by Brigham Young
                ought to raise eyebrows about Brigham Young's inspired messages.

    c. Second Coming Predictions
        i. Wilford Woodruff, fourth LDS Prophet said on June 27, 1875, "I believe there are many
            children now living in the mountains of Israel (Utah) who will never taste death, that is,
            they will dwell on the earth at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ"
           
(J. of D., Vol.18, p. 37).
        ii. On June 6, 1880, Woodruff again said, "We live in the generation itself when Jesus
            Christ will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory"
           
(J. of D., Vol. 21, p. 124).
        iii. Woodruff died on Sept. 2, 1898, and all the children he spoke of in 1875 are now dead.
            Therefore, Woodruff's predictions are false. 
        iv. Compare this "prophecy" with the clear teaching given in
1Thessalonians 5:1-3
            concerning the truth that no date will ever be given concerning the Second Coming
            because of the obvious fact that Jesus will come like a thief in the night.


Similarities Between Islam and Mormonism

An astounding number of likenesses exist between two very unlikely spiritual bedfellows: Islam and Mormonism. I thought I had stumbled on to these similarities myself and was all ready to plant a flag for my discovery when, after minimal research, it became quite obvious that most of these striking similarities were written about as early as 1873! And of course there are scores of web sites that log even more comparisons than the ones I've found below...all the same, its still a very interesting correlation which sheds great light on the journey from the status of cult to a profoundly greater status of world religion (which I believe Mormonism is becoming in its own right).

1. Both faiths were founded by a single solitary young man - Muhammad for Islam and Joseph Smith for Mormonism; Each claiming to be God's "last great prophet"


2. Both men were disgruntled with their previous religion: Mohammad with Arabian Polytheism and Smith with Episcopal Christianity. Yet both incorporated polytheist symbols and practices into their church "liturgy"

3. Both men claimed extra-Biblical 'secret' revelation from God by way of supernatural apparition and both claimed that these revelations came as a result of receiving a visit or visits from an angel; Mohammed - claimed to be visited by the angel Gabriel and Smith claimed to be visited by the angel "Moroni".

4. Both men discredited the Bible as being "changed by wicked and corrupt priests" (neither gave a date for such a change, a person who changed it, or a specific passage that was 'corrupted')

5. Both men wrote a book that contained their secret revelations. Muhammad wrote the Quran and Smith wrote the "Book of Mormon"

joseph_smith_ca_1880-1920muhammad_8-e1420138165868

9. Both Islam and Mormonism had splits after the death of their founder based on disputed blood lineage of the faith's successor. Islam - Sunni/Shi'ite and Mormonism - Latter Day Saints/Reorganized Latter Day Saints

10. Both faiths have an infamous tie to the date 9/11 - Islam - Islamic fundamentalists cowardly attacked two buildings in New York and slaughtered over 3000 unsuspecting men, women, and children on 9/11/2001 while many Muslims throughout the Middle East were photographed dancing in the streets in celebration. Mormonism - Mormon militia (under the authority of Brigham Young) cowardly attacked 140 unsuspecting men, women, and children as they passed through Southern Utah in covered wagons on 9/11/1857. The Mormon church has tried desperately over the years to revise this blood bath out of historical existence, but the historical record of the "Meadow Valley Massacre" survives to this day.

11. Both faiths have attempted to erect a monument/memorial to themselves on or quite near the exact site of their most infamous 9/11 atrocities. - amazing hubris.

12. Both Mohammad and Smith claimed to be "restoring true religion" to the earth because "Judaism (Islam) and Christianity (Mormonism) disagreed among themselves which was evidence that they were incorrect and illegitimate and therefore true religion was "lost from the earth" and thus both Muhammad and Smith claimed to "restore true religion" to the earth, which was nice of them.

13. Both Mohammad and Smith were polygamists and made polygamy a major part of their newly introduced faiths.

14. Both men made the claim that their newly "revealed" books were the most perfect ever written. Then subsequently after the prophet's death both works underwent significant changes and edits.

15. Both leaders, Mohammad and Joseph Smith, had chief lieutenants defect from the faith while under their leadership citing “issues” around the translation process of their definitive religious writings: the Qu’ran and the Book of Mormon.


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