West Pines Community Church Men’s Bible Study
Brief Survey of Cults, Apologetics &
Other Confusing Topics
Part 2 of 4 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Some Facts & Figures
· Founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, in Fayette, New York
· Two major branches in existence today
o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
§ Headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah
§ The main focus of this study
o The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
§ Headquarters in Independence, Missouri
§ Rejects the name Mormon and any new revelations since the 1830’s
· Over 8 million members; 300,000 new converts per year; over 50,000 active missionaries; over 37,000 students at BYU
· Huge wealth, over $5 billion in investment assets.
Joseph Smith, born in 1805, son of Joseph Smith Sr., a treasure hunter, initially started in his father’s footsteps. Following is a quote from Mormon historian Michael Quinn:
“…Joseph Smith, the founding prophet and president…had unquestionably participated in treasure-seeking and seer-stone divination and had apparently also used divining rods, talismans, and implements of ritual magic.”
Dr. Quinn was excommunicated from the LDS church in 1993 after refusing to keep silent about his research findings on Joseph Smith.
1820 is the first alleged revelation that Joseph Smith received regarding the foundation of this new religion, as God the Father and God the Son materialized and spoke to him while he was praying in the woods. The revelation was the announcement that Joseph Smith was chosen to launch the new true Christianity. Must have not been too revealing as he continued his peep-stone practices… there is a recorded case “New York vs. Joseph Smith” in March of 1826, where the hearing ruled him guilty of money-digging, using a certain stone to determine where hidden treasures were.
1823, the angel Moroni, the glorified son of one Mormon, appeared at Smith’s bedside, and revealed the “golden plates” that eventually become the Book of Mormon. Interesting fact is that in the Pearl of Great Price (another of Joseph Smith’s revelation collections) he specifically names the visitor as Nephi, which is described as a completely different character than Moroni in other writings… This discrepancy is simply shrugged off by the LDS.
The “golden plates” were discovered by Smith in 1827 when he started translating them from the “reformed Egyptian”. The translation was done with Smith behind a curtain, using a type of miraculous spectacles (seeing-stone anyone?) provided to him by the angel Moroni. One of several scribes, on the other side of the curtain, would be writing down what Smith was reading out loud.
Extreme unpopularity in each area they moved to, forced the church to move several times, from Fayette, to Kirtland, Ohio to Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake, Utah in 1847, after Smith’s assassination in 1844.
The Book of Mormon
An alleged story of 2 ancient nations populating the American continent, one after leaving Babel 2250 BC, and the other after leaving Jerusalem around 600 B.C. Numerous documents from scientists, archeologists, linguists, anthropologists (etc.) provide confirmation to the complete lack of any evidence to support such civilizations on the North or South American continent. The book documents huge civilizations with large infrastructure and major wars and battles.
The supposed “reformed Egyptian” writings were completely exposed as hoax by a contemporary, professor Charles Anthon, at Columbia University. The letter exists to this day. The most interesting part is that the letter was written by the professor in reply to a claim made by Smith, indicating that Dr. Anthon confirmed Smith’s translation to be correct.
There are numerous internal contradictions which are just too many to list. There are online resources that point to much information on this topic.
· The LDS claims possession of the priesthood of Aaron and Melchizedek. Not so, Hebrews 7:24
o In a revelation given trough the prophet Joseph Smith, Jan. 19, 1841, the Lord says: “I give unto you my servant, Brigham Young, to be a President over the Twelve traveling council, which Twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom… (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia)
· Mormon view of God:
o God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man (The Teachings from the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345)
o Gods exist, and we had better strive to be prepared to be one with them (Brigham Young, 7:238)
o Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, a mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress (Apostle Orson Hyde)
o When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him… He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do (Brigham Young 1:50)
o You have got to learn how to be gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you (Joseph Smith)
· View of the virgin birth:
o …He (Jesus) was not begotten by the Holy Ghost… Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven (Brigham young 1:50-51)
o Some of our old traditions teach us that a man guilty of atrocious and murderous acts may savingly repent on the scaffold… This is all nonsense. Such a character will never see heaven (Brigham young 8:61)
o There is not a man or a woman, who violates the covenants made with their God that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never with that out, our own blood must atone for it; (Brigham Young 3:247)
· The Book of Mormon teaches that the second group of people, moving to the Americas about 600 BC, were split into 2 groups, and one of them was punished for their evil deeds with a curse of dark skin.
· "No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood" (Brigham Young)
· In 1967 the original papyrus from which Joseph Smith "translated" the Book of Abraham was rediscovered. Immediately after the papyrus came to light we began publishing material which showed that Joseph Smith was completely mistaken in his purported translation. The papyrus was in reality a copy of the Egyptian Book of Breathings, a pagan text that had absolutely nothing to do with Abraham or his religion. Since the Book of Abraham was the real source of the Church's teaching that blacks could not hold the priesthood, we called upon the Mormon leaders to "repudiate the Book of Abraham and renounce the anti-Negro doctrine contained in its pages." (Salt Lake City Messenger, March, 1966)
· Smith’s infamous practice of polygamy was instituted at Kirtland and later confirmed by “divine revelation”
· In 1890, President Wilford Woodruf officially abolished polygamy as a practice of the Mormon Church.
Mountain Meadows Massacre
· 1857, John D. Lee and group of LDS members annihilated 100 non-Mormon immigrants in order for the LDS to remain in control of Utah… When Brigham Young was told, the record of his reply, in the Mormon writings is: “As soon as we can get a court of justice we will ferret this thing out, but till then, don’t say a thing about it”
· John D. Lee was brought to justice 20 years later and executed. The LDS excommunicated him and then reinstated his membership in 1961.
Introduction to The Jehovah’s Witnesses & the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
Resources (what smarter people than the person writing this have to say)
· Witnessing to LDS - http://www.truthinlovetomormons.com/index.htm
· LDS theology information - http://www.mrm.org/
· More resources - http://evidenceministries.org/
· Apologetics Site (very good) - http://www.apologeticsindex.org/
· Kingdom Of The Cults -
Page 1 of 3 5/12/2005