Mormonism's Unanswered Questions
The enclosed text is from a letter I wrote to Gordon Hinckley a few years ago asking some basic questions about the LDS Church. As expected, to this date, it remains unanswered. Except with a short note from his secretary who told me to look for a “burning bosom” answer to prayer.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Office of the First Presidency
Salt Lake City, UT. 84150
Att: F. Michael Watson
October 27, 1995
Letter to Gordon B. Hinckley c/o Secretary F. Michael Watson
Dear Mr. Watson,
Thank you for your October 20th response to my letter dated October 17, 1995. I am responding in the first section of this long letter, to your request that I pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I ask that you read through at least that section and respond.
Second, you told me that “all my questions have been answered in previous publications”. I am very interested in this. Which publications reflect the official church response to any of these problems? Please give me a reference that I can trust is your official answer to all, or any one, of the issues raised in this, or the previous letter. I really look forward to this information, as I was under the impression that the church has been silent concerning all of these issues. I am especially interested in the answer to the Book of Abraham problems. I plan to publish (on the Internet) this information in the near future and could use your help in correcting any mistakes. It may be widely publicized, so any inaccuracies I have made should be corrected from the source. If I am wrong on a substantial number of these issues, I will be forced to rethink my position on the validity of Joseph Smith. I hope and pray that President Hinckley could help me edit this paper, but if that is not possible, your help would be much appreciated. Since he is the “Prophet, Seer and Revelator” he should be able to easily speak with authority to each of these points of evidence.
Purpose of Letter
I write this in love and sincerity to you, your family and friends. It's not intended to divide but to unite and join us all into the truth of God. I am going to be quite blunt in this letter. I am not attacking any person who has decided to accept the teachings of the Mormon Church and Joseph Smith. In fact, the Mormon Church has many attractive aspects to it and does much good in the world. I can completely understand why someone would be inspired to join. By human standards, the people involved of are the highest quality of character and status. The LDS Church provides a very clear and distinct perspective of authority, security and membership.
It would provide a good reason to feel a sense of security if we had a person or group of people who could give us direct answers from God concerning many issues that are not universally clear. However, my study of the facts of the Mormon Church has driven me in quite the opposite direction. I am forced to “fall back” onto the authority of Scripture found in the bible. My prayer is not that I would destroy your faith but that I would help you come to the truth in the Jesus Christ of the bible and that all his promises would come true in your life and those who you love. I pray that your children be taught by both parents in unity of love and spirit about the One True God and Savior.
My foremost and noblest goal would be impossible by man, but possible in the power of God, and is as follows; That Gordon B. Hinckley would publicly reject all of the heresies adopted over the years by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and subsequent leaders. (Some of which have already been rejected like racism, polygamy, blood atonement and Adam-God doctrine). The way to be united with the Christian Church into the mainstream of the narrow way, would be to accept the basic essential doctrines of the Christian Faith, (the person and nature of Jesus). And further reject polytheism/panentheism, Henotheism, the denial of the triune God salvation by works, and universal salvation.
Most the secondary issues that don't have anything to do with the nature of God could be accepted with agreeable disagreement, by the historical/evangelical church such as, baptism for the dead, temple ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, word of wisdom, tithing, authority etc. The Mormon Church would still promote all the positive issues already endorsed by Christians universally. (John 17:23) I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.” But as this very statement makes obvious, the differences in doctrine are very significant and both religions cannot be true at the same time.
Only Two Options
The claims made by Joseph Smith are so bold that they require one of two possibilities. Either he was the greatest prophet that ever lived or he was a total fraud that needs to be exposed. John Taylor, the third prophet of the Mormon Church said this “If God has not spoken, if the angel of God has not appeared to Joseph Smith, and if these things are not true of which we speak, the whole thing is an imposture from the beginning to end. There is no half-way house, no middle path about the matter; it is either one thing or the other” Journal of Discourses, Vol 21, p.165.
Emotion Verses Truth
From the early days of the church, Hyrum Smith, the prophets brother, and now the church in general, has used the technique of asking a potential believer in the Book of Mormon, to pray for a confirmation from God as to whether the book is true. (Moroni 10:4-5) It is suggested to come in the form of a burning in the bosom. On the surface, this sounds like a very “spiritual” manner in which to decide the issue. But this is an equivocation on the word spiritual as it is neither spiritual or biblical. The bible teaches us to study the scriptures and to test all things. It tells us that the Bereans (Acts 17:11-12), were noble for their interest in proving out the things preached by Christians. Nowhere are we taught to have blind faith in something that isn't supported by scripture or reality. Jesus himself used scripture to authenticate his own authority. 1 Thess 5:21 “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.”
The LDS church further discourages any objective study into the claims, writings, history or validity of Joseph Smith but encourages solely the subjective testimony of the burning bosom. The problem with this is typically the convert is left with no other option then to pray until he finds this subjective assurance suggested by the missionary. What other conclusion is possible?
Many cults will tell their followers something like this; “ You cannot know with deep conviction that we (the cult) are true until you decide to join us”. Then, “if people try and dissuade you form joining, that is proof they are attacking the truth. Why would they attack if we were not true”. On the other hand, the only other group are those who support your decision, so it is a win-win argument for the cult if you accept it.
Further, all religions have people who are convinced that God has shown them their way is the true. All have the same confidence of this assurance. So, is the level of assurance a good test, as to which one is true? Absolutely not. Something is true or false apart from the level of faith we assigned to it. If I believe my chair will hold me when in reality it has a broken leg, I have been in error, supported by the fact that when I sit down, I fall to the ground. Similarly, if the claims of Joseph Smith are true, then when tested using objective techniques, they will support the weight of reason, scripture and common sense. If not, they will crumble in a very predictable pattern. It is my goal to show this clear pattern which is the result of an objective test of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But in any case, it is your God given responsibility to see if a claim is true, based upon reasonable thinking.
For a spirit filled Christian, every day is a prayer for a closer walk and understanding of God. So to ask a Christian to pray as to whether Mormonism is true is rather redundant. If I ask a Mormon to pray as to whether he is wrong should he? In either case we are at the same crossroads, no closer to the truth. The answer to this prayer will be found in the evidence found both biblically and otherwise. Also, which edition of the Book of Mormon do you want me to pray about? The 1830 edition, the 1921 edition or the last version? The Holy Spirit has promised to lead us in all truth. This isn't simply truth that cannot be supported, but proof that can be supported by reality. The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith cannot be supported by the facts as you will see later.
Everything is not Relative
Before we jump into these objective facts, there are a few more points that beg to be made. First, everything is not relative. That very statement is an oxymoron! Some will say, “I don't bug you about your religion, why are you challenging mine?” Islam and Christianity cannot be both true at the same time. In one, Jesus is God, in the other he is only a man. Likewise, in Mormonism, God is a member of a plurality of many Gods, in historical Christianity, he is one God for the whole universe of all reality. So when Evangelicals use the words and describe Jesus Christ they are describing a wholly different person then the one described by the LDS Church. These views of Jesus are mutually exclusive and cannot be both true at the same time. So it is love of the truth that motivates me to challenge and evaluate the claims of Joseph Smith, not hate or selfish pride. But my motives are really irrelevant in this discussion. The real issue is, was Joseph Smith actually a true prophet?
In Mormonism, if someone is a Christian but not a Mormon, they will still go to eternal heaven, (without reaching Godhood) but in Historical Christianity, if a person has the wrong Jesus, he will die in his sins, for eternity. Christians have a burden written on our hearts for the people of the world, no matter what religion they embrace. The stakes are very high. The LDS Church spends $10 million dollars per week evangelizing. The Evangelical Church is not centrally run like the Mormon Church. Most of the evangelizing is done on a local basis, by people who God has given a burden for lost souls. All the “universal” Christian denominations are in one accord as to the nature of the Gospel, the person of Jesus, the plan of Salvation and the coming judgment. We are all one church under the only true Priest, Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6 “ Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.”
1 John 4:1 says “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” So there are Spirits that are apparently capable of counterfeiting the feeling of Godliness, yet they are from the evil one. Indulge me for a minute, if the Book of Mormon is not true in the first place, a prayer for confirmation may come from the same source of inspiration that the book of Mormon came from initially! See Ephesians 6:16 “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” We must have faith in the correct God! If you depend only on a feeling as a result of prayer, you are open to the tricks of the Evil One! God requires that you use your mind as the Bereans did. (Acts 17:11)
Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” And Jesus in the Bible also says in John 8:32 “"You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." (The term 'I AM' is the same term used by God in the Old Testament to Moses from the burning bush and is a derivative of the name Jehovah or Yahweh).
Success Verses Failure
Another test suggested by LDS Missionaries I have run across is to quote Acts 5:34 in which a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, stands up in the council of the Jews and suggest that if this Jesus is from God, he will be successful, but if he is from man, he will fail. He advises the disciples go and succeed, or fail on their own, as a test of their truth in God. LDS Missionaries teach that because the church is so successful, it must be from God. First, this Gamaliel was a non-regenerate Pharisee who was speaking with human wisdom, not from God. Many places in the bible people are recorded as saying things that are not the words of God, but of that person, who is actually speaking in error.
If the fact that something succeeds is proof it is from God, then the truest religion in the world would be Islam, it is the fastest growing religion in the world currently. Also, the Jehovah Witnesses are very successful, along with hundreds of other religions teaching opposing views to Mormonism and Christianity! Further, according to Joseph Smith, the disciples failed, causing the need for a restoration. This would be self-contradictory to the missionaries point which claims success is proof that it is from God. In the LDS view, the early church failed, so it must not be from God. Why would there be a need to restore something that wasn't from God. I hope you see the problem with this logic.
Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed that the early church was corrupted by wicked men, paganism and false doctrines and that the truth was destroyed and lost after the first or second century. He claimed that the bible had become corrupted and altered to contain many false doctrines, thus the need for a restoration. In Joseph's day, the oldest extant manuscripts of the bible known to scholars were dated about the 14th century. Thomas Paine wrote a popular book in the 1790's which tried to claim that because the Bible was hand copied for so long it must have become corrupted by the errors and mistakes of the scribes, both intentional and unintentional. (Wrongly supposing it was copied in a linear sequential fashion). Because many other ancient works of literature have been proven to have gone through this type of corruption in the hands of human imperfection, it seems logical that this would be the case with the bible.
Joseph picked up on this debate and ran with it full steam. The problem for Joseph is that both archeology and textual criticism has progressed exceedingly. In fact, Thousands (24,000), manuscripts from the early 2nd and 3rd centuries have now been found and the bible has proven to be very much in tact. Additionally, thousands of letters and writings of the early church Fathers have been preserved, in which they quote from the New Testament (86,000 times). So much so that the whole New Testament, less 11 verses, can be reconstructed solely from the letters of the early church fathers. And these same letters support the doctrines found in the bible.
The early church fathers treated the new testament as scripture, they maintained a very Christian world view similar to that of today's Evangelicals, and were very much monotheists. They firmly believed that only one true God exists and that he exists in the form of Spirit, not flesh and bone. They clearly believed that Jesus should be worshipped as God and that the Holy Spirit was God. There was much speculation concerning the glorification of believers, which many Mormon apologists have picked up on as proof of future Godhood. They ignore the total lack of support for Joseph Smiths views. The glorification of the believer is a mysterious promise from God about being perfected by God for fellowship with him, being changed into a perfected person. 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.”
Be like who? Jesus the Glorified man. There was debate in the late 4th century as to the question if Jesus had always existed or was created at the beginning of the Universe. This question was settled after a close look at scripture by almost all the scholars and theologians of the day. And it is still clear, if you look at the scriptures carefully today. He was not created! Many new religions originating in the 19th century used this debate to conclude the church went off coarse and needed to be corrected by this new prophet or teacher, (Jehovah Witness's, Armstrong, etc..) None of the so called restored aspects of Joseph's Gospel have ever been found in any of the Early Church Fathers writings. The Councils of the early church occurred simply to make sure the world and the church were clear on the issue, avoiding continued division by the uninformed.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (some go back to 250 BC.) brought the same type of confidence in the Old Testament. It jumped us up some 1200 years earlier from the previous known manuscripts, and included almost the whole Old Testament, yet it is virtually the same as today's copies with very minor exceptions. This is proof that Joseph was wrong about the “precious things being lost”!
The view that the early church lost the precious truths of the Gospel is erroneous. It has been proven to be quite the opposite. Joseph had no way to foresee the integrity of the Bible being maintained as accurate as it has been. He even started to retranslate the bible into the “inspired” version which he finished according to History of the Church Vol. 1, p.368. What he did here was show his total lack of inspiration and essentially his deceit. He even included a few verses from the KJV version that have been proven to be mistakenly translated from the original manuscripts, even adding a prophesy about himself in Genesis 50. The church won't publish and proclaim as true his “Inspired Version” as they know it would be a great source of embarrassment from professional scholars, even those from Brigham Young University.
Jesus predicted the success of the Church throughout the ages. Matthew 16:18 “"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” And Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
And Paul predicted the success of the Church. “Eph 3:21 “ to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” And he predicts the Church will grow to maturity, Eph 4:11-16 “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
Fraud is Obvious
If Mormonism was a fraud you would expect to find numerous errors, contradictions, plagerisms, mistakes, cover-ups, embarrassing context errors and false prophesies. I am going to proceed to show you out of the LDS own material, these evidences. I will cover the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, the Pearl of Great Price, the History of Joseph and the Doctrine and Covenants. If there is a subject you need further evidence on, concerning references or source documents, I will be happy to provide them and continue proving that specific fact. There are many so called “Anti” works and organizations out there. Some are way too fanatical and make claims based on rumors or evidence that cannot be supported and are based on faulty information. I have avoided any of this material (although at least some percentage of it may be true). The points I make are all supportable, provable and based on fact. The following is only a brief outline of some of the subjects that can be proven.
First, the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. It is supposed to have been translated letter by letter under the power of God through Joseph Smith Prophet, Seer, Revelator. This is verified by David Whitmer, (An Address to all Believers in Christ), Apostle Orson Hyde, Joseph F. Smith and Martin Harris. It would be evidence, of this power of God, if the Book of Mormon was free of mistakes, errors and plagerisms as Joseph claimed (History of the Church Vol 1. p.54-55). This is not the case. Additionally, if it were of human origin it would surely include misconceptions, ideas and aspects of the authors time, culture and location. And this certainly is the case.
Since 1830, there have been over 3900 changes in the Book of Mormon. Many were spelling errors, grammatical errors and errors in sequence. But many were very significant word changes, name changes and efforts to hide obvious mistakes that would be expected if it was a human author. Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the “most correct book on earth”(History of the Church Vol 4.P,461). If this is so, why all the changes, mistakes and contradictions?
In the 1830 version of the Book of Mormon the forward has a section now missing explaining an event that occurred before it was published. It recounts a sequence of events in which 116 pages, which were first translated by Joseph and Martin Harris, were lost. (Martin Harris was one of the witness for the Book of Mormon). In fact, Martin Harris's wife stole them to test if Joseph could retranslate the plates in the exact manner again. Joseph was distraught according to his mother. (See Joseph Smiths History by his Mother). He went into a depression for a few weeks concerning the issue.
Then, all of a sudden, he came up with the answer. Supposedly, a new angel appeared to him telling him he should not re-translate the plates but should give a vague recount of the events to that point. The angel went on to tell him that Satan was going to try and ruin him by having the person with the original 116 pages alter them so that if he did re-translate them exactly again, they would bring out their altered version and attempt to prove him a fraud. He then gave him a new set of plates to replace the lost book of Lehi. This is a very clumsy attempt to avoid the obvious fact that he couldn't re-write the first 116 pages exactly and was worried that if he attempted to do so he would be proven a fraud by the person who stole the original pages.
In actuality, if someone did try to alter the original, (which was in handwriting), it would be easy to prove, since the changes would be self apparent. Joseph's excuse doesn't hold water and is so ridicules that any thinking person would have to smile at the very thought of such a ruse. The church no longer includes that section in the current edition of the Book of Mormon for understandable reasons. It is now believed by some that Martin Harris's wife stole the pages when Martin brought them home for her to see. She probably threw them in the fire as was later claimed by Martin Harris.
Now, on to the text itself. The Book of Mormon was written in King James English (1611 AD) which at the time of Joseph Smith had not been spoken for over 200 years. It seems that the King James style of writing sounded the most biblical since at the time it was the most popular translation. What is interesting is that the plates were supposed to have been written starting about 600 BC and by Hebrew immigrants to the Americas. These Hebrew immigrants would have no knowledge of Greek, it wasn't known to Jews of that period. Joseph Smith also stated that “there was no Greek on the plates.”( Times and the Seasons, Vol 4, p.194) This brings up many specific problems.
The New Testament is quoted by these writers before it is written, and in almost perfect King James English to boot. King James English was not yet spoken at the making of the alleged plates, nor was it spoken any longer at the translation of them. Mistakes are copied from the 1611 version of the New Testament and the Greek terms, Alpha and Omega and Jesus Christ are used repeatably, even before Jesus is born! The Old Testament is quoted by these Hebrew immigrants, but on a few occasions they use Peters' paraphrase of Deuteronomy from Acts instead of the Old Testament wording. Peter wasn't even born yet when these plates were written! Joseph even copied into the Book of Mormon, the italicized words that the KJV translators had inserted for clarification in their language of 1611.
The name of Jesus is given on page 28 of the 1830 original version of the Book of Mormon (now 1 Nephi 12:18). Later it is changed to Messiah, this name wasn't yet revealed to the “author” some 600 years BC. The title Christ was made known to Jacob only after Lehi's death. (2 Nephi 10:3) So in later versions this was corrected. This is the kind of mistake you would expect from a counterfeiter.
After 1 Nephi 12:18 Joseph Smith goes for 55 pages using almost every synonym thinkable to avoid using the term Jesus Christ (some 480 times) then in 2 Nephi 10:1-3 he slips and uses the term again. If you read this section you will notice he gets tired of avoiding the term Christ and simply inserts a footnote of sorts that an angel revealed to the writer that Christ would be his name in the future. Later in 2 Nephi 25:19 he reveals the name Jesus to the author. I guess if he can know the term Christ, he should also know the term Jesus, hundreds of years before his birth. It makes it easier for Joseph to dictate not having to avoid the words, Jesus Christ.
In the 1830 version in Mosiah 21:28 the name Benjamin was used. It turns out the Benjamin was already dead so the church changed it to Mosiah.
The KJV version of the Bible is quoted in the Book of Mormon in 34 AD (3 Nephi 11:33). But he quotes Mark 16:16 which wasn't in the original text of the bible, but was added later in error. Most current bibles note this fact but Joseph didn't know this at the time. (This same thing happens in 3 Nephi 11:27). He quotes 1 John 5:7, which is also one of those rare verses that are in the KJV bible in which Joseph was using, but have been shown to be an inaccurate addition in latter centuries from the original.
In 3 Nephi 20:23, the writer quotes Deuteronomy 18:15-19 but he didn't look far enough back as it is Peters paraphrase of Deuteronomy which is quoted from Acts 3. The problem is that Peter hadn't yet preached this sermon! Nor has Peter been born. But Joseph found it in the KJV version of the Bible at the time he wrote the Book of Mormon, it seems he must have been too lazy to go back to the original quote in Deuteronomy.
There are references to oxen, cows, elephants, horses, bees, cureloms, silks, grains, wheels, swords of steel, temples, ship building, and compasses. None of which was part of the New World at that time. These things were introduced later by the Europeans. He even had “tens of thousands of chariots”, (3 Nephi 3:22), even though the New World didn't have the invention of the wheel until the Europeans brought it here. But Joseph was ignorant of this. There has never been found one wheel or chariot or any of the other things you would expect if such a people lived here, including the list above. Not to mention the whole land was supposed to have been covered with people (Heleman 3:8) yet there is not one piece of archeological evidence that these people were here, none!
There are no Nephite or Jaredite artifacts anywhere! At one point millions are killed in battle yet not one body has been found. (Ether 15:2) The land was supposed to have been empty of people before the Hebrews landed. In less than 1000 years there are millions and millions of native peoples with languages that have no similarity to one another, much less Hebrew. By the 1800's the Indians, who are supposed to have been descendants, speak no Hebrew whatsoever and each has there own distinct language, unrelated to one another. No places have been found, named in Nephite or Jaredite. Additionally, genetic testing has confirmed the Indians have oriental genotypes and not Hebrew. Furthermore, the language of some are closely related to that of Siberian Eskimos, supporting the theory they came across the Bering Straight some ten thousand years before.
Racism or Culture
The Indians of today are considered to be of Lamanite decent. My wife and kids would be considered Lamanite, my wife is at least 1/4th Cherokee. Joseph taught that the Indians (Lamanites-a wicked people, according to Joseph) wiped out the earlier race of civilized people in America. In 2 Nephi 5:21 Joseph wrote “And he had caused a cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity...as they were white , and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” This shows Joseph's own racism which was very common at that time.
2 Nephi 30:6 says concerning the Lamanites “...and their scales will fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a 'pure' and delightsome people.” In the original 1830 version the word “pure”, used to be “white”. So it read “a white and delightsome people.” Again this change is an obvious attempt to look a bit less racist which exposes the prejudice of the time, and the racism of Joseph Smith. Jesus told us we shall know them by their fruits. One of the greatest things in Christianity is that to God all are equal, no matter what race or gender. The first person to repent after the day of Pentecost was a black man from Ethiopia. The first person to see the risen Christ was a women. Prejudice and cultural values, are expected to bleed through if this was the work of a human and not inspired by God.
The Book of Abraham and Mormon Doctrine by Apostle McConkie (pp.526-527 1966 edition, later deleted) both espoused racists doctrine's common at the time of Joseph Smith. Yet the Bible doesn't support the idea that pre-birth spirits even existed much less were valiant or not! Genesis 1:28; 5:1-2 says “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” And “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.” And all flesh is the same blood, Acts 17:26 “ and He made from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation,”.
Revelation 5:9 tells us that the redeemed will be from every nation, “for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 'And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.'". So we see God is no respecter of persons as to age, race, gender, or intelligence. We also notice that God created Man, not simply reformed or organized him. Joseph Smith was wrong on both points.
Joseph didn't Get it Right
Burnt offerings are offered by Jews who were not from the tribe of Levi. This would never happen unless Joseph didn't understand the ramifications of this type of error. (Mosiah 2:3) In the section that was written after the first 116 pages were lost, many details are missing. Details that you would expect to be there unless the author had forgotten them and was afraid to make a mistake and risk being exposed when the original resurfaced.
In 1 Nephi 16:7 Nephi gets married but we are never given his wives name. The names of other men's wives are also missing until you get to the section after the 116 pages (Omni v12), where the details get back to normal. Nephi's successor to the throne is not given a name (Jacob 1:9) It is more convenient for Joseph to call each of the new Kings after the first one. But after the 116 pages are over, the names reappear (Mosiah).
The dating is very foggy until after the 116 pages are passed. (Omni v12). Details of there landing in America, directions traveled, geographical location, cities visited in the new world, and all the details of wars are missing. (1 Nephi 17:1; 2 Nephi 4:26; 2 Nephi 5:6-8; 1 Nephi 9:4; 2 Nephi 5:34; Jacob 1:10; Jacob 7:24)
But after this section, the details become very clear. (Omni v24; Mosiah 9:18-19; Alma 43:3-4,5,16,35; Alma 44:12-13,18.) Much of the first section seems to be filler and very boring. Many words are used to say almost nothing. It seems Joseph Smith was trying to get to the section that he knew more about and wasn't lost, making it safe to write with more details.
Here are some examples of more proof of plagiarism from the KJV version of the New Testament into the Book of Mormon. He quotes a few terms that were not translated correctly by the KJV translators. In 2 Nephi 14:5 the word “defense” is used. It is a quote of Isaiah 4:5. Translators now know this term is really “canopy”, not “defense”. If Joseph was not copying the KJV version of the bible, but relying on the words of God, he would have used the correct term, but instead copied the mistake of the KJV translators into the Book of Mormon. And again, in 2 Nephi 15:25 he uses the word “torn”. It should have been correctly translated “refuse”. He copied the KJV mistake from Isaiah 5:25 right into the Book of Mormon! Is this what you would expect from the greatest prophet ever to live?
The grammar of the first edition (1830) is full of Joseph's poor vocabulary. He spoke like many of his time who were not educated using a sort of “hill” language. In many places he uses “was” instead of “were”, “is” instead of “are”, “much” instead of “many”, “had not ought” has been changed to “ought not”, the word “a” has been deleted. For example, he writes on page 249 of the first edition, “As I was A journeying to see a very near kindred”. This is repeated through out the first edition. This is only a single sample of many similar mistakes that make it obvious he was writing under his own ability and not that of God. B.H. Roberts, a very important Mormon apologist and historian, admits the mistakes were not that of the printer, as he was under orders not to change anything. By the way, although the reprint of the first edition of the Book of Mormon is available from almost any book store, the Mormon owned Deseret Book store doesn't carry them.
The RLDS Church has the original manuscript and the mistakes have been verified to be on the original. Not only have words been removed but many words have been added. In the 1830 version p 32. Joseph writes “...that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father, and savior...” It is later changed to “...the Lamb of God is THE SON OF the Eternal Father and Savior...” The Words “Son of” are added later after Joseph's death. This same change is made in several other places (1 Nephi 11:18; 1 Nephi 11:12; 1 Nephi 11:32; 1 Nephi 13:40).
Issues that were popularly being debated and traits of the culture, at the time of Joseph seem to be also at issue in America during the Nephite period thousands of years earlier as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Issue such as infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, call to ministry, general resurrection, eternal punishment, masonry, the rights of man, and the origin of the Indians. Examples include fainting in the spirit, which was a common phenomena at the time of Joseph and the many revivals going through the area. This is similar to Jacob 7:124; Alma 18:24; Mosiah 4:1; Alma 19:6.
Infant baptism was a big issue in Joseph's' day. See Moroni 8:5-22. An argument for the name of the church was a hot issue, see 3 Nephi 27:3-8; 3 Nephi 26:21. The origin of the Indians was being debated. Two popular works which were most assuredly known to Joseph
(according to B.H. Roberts) before he wrote the book of Mormon were “View of the Hebrews” by Ethan Smith and “Wonders of Nature” by Josiah Priest. Both were promoting the view that the Indians were descendants of the Hebrews. In fact, Joseph seems to have plagiarized right from “View of the Hebrews” as the list of parallels in the Book of Mormon is so significant it virtually proves he is a plagiarist. This book was first published 30 miles from Joseph Smiths home.
In New York at the time of Joseph's youth there were numerous mounds of dirt which were of native origin. Sometimes skeletons or trinkets were found under these mounds, causing speculation as to their origin. They were actually built by Indians a few hundred years prior for the purpose of marking property or hunting rights. It was a common practice for the local folks to ponder the purpose of these mounds of dirt. Joseph simply took it a step further with his fruitful imagination.
On May 1, 1843 the Times and the Seasons printed an article clearly depicting the discovery and request for translation of some brass plates now known as the Kinderhook Plates. This was a well publicized event in which the whole community was waiting to hear what the “Prophet” Joseph Smith would say about these plates. He had claimed to have the ability to translate reformed Hieroglyphics and Egyptian Hieroglyphics. In the History of the Church Vol 5, page 372, Joseph is quoted as saying “I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth.” In other sections of the History of the Church Joseph writes he is in the process of further translation of these plates. If he wasn't killed in June of 1844, he would have published a complete work of his translation of these Kinderhook Plates.
The problem for Joseph is that these plates were a complete hoax, perpetrated on the Mormons as a ploy to expose their prophet. The practical jokers later came clean about the whole thing. One of these plates is still in the vault of the church and has been proven to be a fake by several scientist. The church allowed the test but won't publish the findings. Fortunately the researchers released the findings on their own.
At the time of Joseph Smith, Egyptology was in it's infancy. Very little was known about translating Egyptian into English. Joseph obtained some Egyptian artifacts from a Mr. Chandler who was traveling around showing the artifacts, including some mummies and papyrus from town to town. Joseph purchased these from him in July of 1835. He soon started the process of translating them which resulted eventually in the Book of Abraham.
The church still has much of this material including facsimiles 1, 2 and 3, the “small 'Sensen' Text” and a number of other pieces. Joseph Smith made a “Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar” which was suppressed for many years by the church. In this work he writes down an Egyptian character and next to it writes down it's meaning. Each character is given between 40 and 177 English words, all of which correspond to a specific section of the Book of Abraham. Some of these characters in reality were only parts of a single Egyptian word. The problem for Joseph is that now we know what these characters mean and they have nothing to do with what Joseph Smith “translated” them into. Even the LDS Church recognizes this!
Joseph claimed that these papyrus were written “by the hand of Abraham” (Pearl of Great Price, page 29) and Joseph while in Egypt, that they were from his period of about 2000 BC. The fact is these papyrus are from 2nd century AD. (Some 2000 years off) and are pagan burial rites, “Books of Breathings” as they were called and amulets of death magic spells having nothing to do with Abraham. This is a scientific fact that the church cannot refute and doesn't even try. The bottom line is that Joseph has been proven to be a fraud by this whole scheme. All of this papyrus has nothing to do with what Joseph claimed it did, but is filled with pagan spells, magic, prayers for the dead, and pagan gods.
No Way Out
There is no greater proof needed, but it's fascinating to see the believers in Joseph Smith try and come up with a perspective that will save him from this obvious sham. Hugh Nibely, a noted Mormon apologist and amateur Egyptionologist, first tried to claim that Joseph was using the papyrus for inspiration but wasn't directly translating at all.
This could be refuted by Joseph's own words in numerous places. He continually claimed to translate these directly from the Papyrus and from Abraham's own handwriting. Then Hugh Nibley claimed it must have a hidden meaning. This is also ridiculous if you look at the facts. Now he has reversed his position and claims the scribes copied the characters in error into the book of Abraham and the true source of the book has been lost. This is really preposterous when you consider whether or not Joseph would have allowed this to take place and not correct it at that time.
There is no way around it, Joseph Smith has been proven an impostor in his inability to translate accurately as he claimed. Neither could it be a simple but honest mistake, it can only be proof of his diabolical scheme. It is what you would expect to find if he was a con man, fleecing his followers for prestige, money and who knows what other things.
Many people from that time and culture were very honest and upright morally. It was hard for them to imagine someone making bold claims in the name of God and not being sincere. There just wasn't a history of religious scams to that point that the public was aware of. The question in their minds is whether or not this person is delusional or not. Joseph Smith was anything but delusional. He was a gregarious, outgoing, likable person. Almost everybody immediately liked him upon meeting him. This is a common trait of sociopathic confidence-men who pray on the gullible and honest. The time was ripe for a con-artist to prosper with religion.
He Couldn't be That Smart
The question is raised, could Joseph Smith have fooled so many people including his own family? Did he have a history of trouble of this kind. The answer is yes! He and his family were poor after being embezzled of their money by a crooked ginseng farmer. While living in Palmyra, they engaged in fortune telling. For a fee they would use divining rods, seer stones or trance like gazes to find hidden water spots, buried treasure or lost artifacts. This wasn't that uncommon at the time but it was illegal. In fact, Joseph Smith Jr. was tried and convicted on March 20, 1826, of “Glass Looking” for which he was fined $2.68. This would be considerably more in value at today's rates. It is very well documented and cannot be disputed.
After Joseph Smith's book started to “sell” and the church was started,, the neighbors of the Smiths, several dozen in all, got together, wrote and signed statements of their personal and embarrassing experiences with the Smith family and how the Smiths were inclined towards scheming them out of their money. Each statement is very detailed and believable, detailing personal accounts of how they were convinced to use the Smiths for a treasure hunt, aided by spirits, seer stones or divining rods. They wanted the world to know the truth about Joseph Smith before others were victimized by him.
If you notice the date he was convicted , March 1826, this is after he supposedly had the first vision in 1820 of seeing both God the Father and God the Son telling him not to join any religion for “all were wrong and their professors corrupt”. Joseph is then convicted of glass looking and later joins the Methodist Church for a short while. He is asked to leave because of his money digging business. How could he have seen God and been told not to join, and then go on to engage in opposite behavior, which he later admitted to. The question as to his character is made clear by mounds of evidence.
Which Version of First Vision?
The First Vision described above wasn't generally known and wasn't taught in it's current form until 1843, some 20 years after the event. In fact in 1832 he briefly wrote about something similar but that description was much different then the one told today. In that version there is talk of the Lord but no God the Father. From that period, up to 1843, absolutely nothing has been found written about or discussed concerning the First Vision as proclaimed by missionaries today. In another obscure writing he talks of something similar but this one only mentions a visitation from an angel. The date varies from when he was 14 to 16 years old. Joseph claimed in later years that he was persecuted for telling this story but it seems he really never told it until 1843. And then, it was the third version, modified twice already.
The Mantle Falls on Brigham
Brigham Young, (Second Prophet, Seer, Revelator of the Church, and Joseph's successor), taught that Adam, from the garden of Eden, is now our Father and our God, the only one with whom we worship. Of course this is not taught now by the church and even at the time it caused much confusion, but it is worth knowing, in any event, it shows the Prophet of the church is not always believable.
This is what Brigham Young preached on April 9, 1852. “Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! 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 helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Arch-angel, the Ancient of Days! About whom holy men have written and spoken-He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-Professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later...the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” Journal of Discourses, Vol 1:50-51.
Brigham Young insisted that everybody accept this doctrine and most did, although somewhat reluctantly. Brigham taught that Mary had sex with Adam in order to conceive Jesus. Deseret News April 9, 1852. Recent Church leaders have denied this fact but it is a proven fact that Brigham taught this as firm doctrine. There has been no revelation reversing this teaching either.
Brigham Young also taught the doctrine of “Blood Atonement” which basically reveals that a man must shed his own blood to atone for his sins if he commits grievous transgressions. The blood of Jesus isn't of enough value to cover sins without the sinners own blood being spilt. Deseret News, Sept 21, 1856, page 235. Since Brigham Young was the Governor and above the law in Utah, this was practiced at his command many times. Everything from rejecting Mormonism to adultery and murder were cited. See the confessions of John D. Lee, Bill Hickman, Orrin Porter, as an examples. Slitting of the throat was the preferred method. Brigham was eventually indicted for murder. I have a copy if you need it.
Brigham Young taught that there were races of “people living on the Moon and the Sun”. See Young Women's Journal 1892 Vol 3, p.263-264 and Journal of Discourses Vol 13, P.271. It is a scientific fact that no people live at either of these places. Do we accept the words of the “prophet” or reject them? If you reject them, he is not a Prophet, Seer or Revelator. If we accept them then we deny Gods other revelation, his creation. This is simply more evidence to the fact that he is a false prophet.
The Bible says; Deut 18:20 “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' "And you may say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
Thus Saith the Lord
The Prophesies of Joseph Smith also prove he whether he was a fraud or not. He gave thousands of prophesies concerning the immediate future. You would think he would get lucky and get at least a few right, even if he wasn't a prophet. But even luck seemed against him. The most famous prophesy given to support his authenticity is the “civil war prophesy”. It is amazing that out of all the prophesies he gave, this is the best the church can show to prove his “ability”. In Doc and Cov section 87, he say's basically that great wars are going to start throughout the land and it will begin in South Carolina. He goes on to tell us the war will pour out on all nations, that Great Britain would be called into it, and that in the end the remnants will rise up against the gentiles and shall vex them with a sour vexation. He said that all nations would be involved. That this will be the “Day of the Lord” and that all the inhabitants of the earth will suffer plague, earthquake, thunder from heaven, lightning, famine and mourning.
The above prophesy was given on December 25th, 1832. At the time South Carolina was already rebelling against the United States for a tariff act passed on July 14th, 1832. President Andrew Jackson had put the troops on alert and the newspapers were full of this news. The tension between the south and the north was already at a boiling point before the revelation was given. Even newspapers in Europe had predicted the civil war in 1832. One example was a newspaper called “the Annual Register of the History of Europe” 1832 p.406 said this “Civil War and a dissolution of the union seems to be approaching.”
The prophesy was never printed in Joseph life time, and when it was, over 300 words were deleted. Included in the words deleted were prophesies that England would attack the United States and the government would put Joseph Smith in charge of a large army partially made up of Mormons. The Civil war didn't start for some time and when it did it was not even close to what Joseph had predicted. Brigham Young said after the war started “Do they know what they are doing? No; but they have begun to empty the earth, to cleans the land, and prepare the way for the return of the latter-day Saints to the center Stake of Zion.” (Which was considered Missouri) Journal of Discourses, Vol 9 pp142-143
This links us up to another false prophesy given by Joseph and the next few prophets. At the time they had been pushed out of Missouri, Joseph had made a prediction that they would be “Gathered” by God back to that spot in his lifetime and that they would build a great temple there (Journal of Discourses, Vol 3, p17; Vol 5, p 134; Vol 6, p190; Vol 8, p350; Vol 9, p.71; Vol 13, p138; Vol 13, p362; Vol 14, p275; Vol 17, p.111; Vol 17, p291; Times and Seasons, Vol 6, p956;).
This “Gathering” was a major theme for at least 80 years in Mormonism. It is not even mentioned today because each of the next few prophets kept saying it would happen in their lifetime. Although it seemed every time they got moved the location of the gathering was changed. First it was supposed to be Independence Missouri,( Doc & Cov 84. Verse 2-4) then it changed to the Rocky Mountain area. It was even changed in the history of the Church to make it seem like that was prophesied by Joseph. (History of the Church, Vol 5, p.85) also see (History of the Church Vol 1, pp.455-456)
Joseph Smith predicted the Lord would come back within 56 years from 1835. History of the Church Vol 2, p182. All the saints believed this prophesy until it didn't come true. (Journal of Oliver Boardman Huntington, Vol2. Pp128-129) “He said some in the congregation shall live until the savior should descend from heaven with a shout” See History of the Church Vol 1 p.176. Some of these written prophesies the church actually changed when they didn't come to pass. The words “Shall” changed to “May” in many places. See History of the Church Vol 2, pp188-189.
Herber C. Kimball, (a general authority and apostle), prophesied in 1856 that Brigham Young would become President of the United States, Journal of Discourses, Vol 5, p219.
In one early account given by David Whitmer, (one of the witness to the Book of Mormon), we get a story of the effort to finance the printing of the Book of Mormon. Joseph had a revelation in which God commanded Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery (both witnesses to the Book of Mormon) to go to Toronto and Kingston, Canada, and that God would provide an investor from there. Meanwhile, Martin Harris was trying to sell his property to get the money to “invest” in the Book of Mormon and obtain the rights to the copyright and “profits” thereof. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery came back half starved and without any money contrary to the prophesy. When Joseph was questioned by David Whitmer about the failed prophesy he replied “Some revelations are from God; some revelations are from man; and some revelations are of the Devil” ( An Address To All Believers in Christ” Richmond, Missouri, 1887, pp. 30-31 by David Whitmer) Deut 18:20 tells us what to think of a prophet that does this!
David Whitmer also exposed the falsification of the Priesthood, initiated by Joseph Smith. David Whitmer reveals that Sidney Rigdon pushed Joseph into establishing this practice some 2 years after the beginning of the Church and after 2000 people were baptized. Ibid p.64. This contradicts section 27 of the Doctrine and Covenants which teaches that Peter, James and John visited in August 1830.
The truth is that before the Doctrine and Covenants were printed there was a book called the Book of Commandments. In this book there is no mention of the priesthood or visitations. Most of these books were destroyed in a fire. Then the Doctrine and Covenants was started which included the Book of Commandments in the first section. They penned in all the points concerning the priesthood to make it look like it was from the beginning. I guess Joseph and Sydney thought they could get away with it at that point. Fortunately, some original copies have survived to this day. The problem is, since these sections have been altered, by Joseph, to make it seem like the priesthood was from the beginning when it was not, how valid is the priesthood today?
Gods Word Changed
The changes in the Doctrine and Covenants up to section 42 are enormous, there are literally thousands of words added and thousands of words deleted, in an obvious attempt by Joseph Smith to make the priesthood seem like it was from the beginning. This is complete, out and out, fraud! The “High Priesthood” was not in the church until June of 1831, not from the beginning as the church would have you believe. (An Address To All Believers In Christ, p.35, 62-65) Hebrews 7 tells us about the true priesthood today.
Plural Marriage or polygamy is a doctrine still accepted by the Mormon Church today yet not practiced currently. In July of 1843 a revelation was given to Joseph Smith saying “Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same....and if ye abide not in the covenant then ye are damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter my glory...And let my handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me...” In the original Doctrine and Covenants section 101:4 1835 version it says “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and Polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” This was later removed as it contradicts the new section 132.
The revelation used to have an introduction that said it was given in 1843. The word “given” has now been changed to “recorded”, because the evidence proves that Joseph Smith was practicing “polygamy” way before this date. Further evidence shows it began as far back as July 1831. The Church (Joseph Fielding Smith, a previous President), has admitted having a revelation written by Joseph Smith allowing Polygamy dated July 1831. His first plural wife was either Fanny Alger or Nancy Johnson sealed to him in Kirkland or Hiram, Ohio.
The real problem for Joseph originates in the fact that he publicly denied the accusation of polygamy for many years. (History of the Church Vol 6, pp.408-412) It was kept secret and practiced only by his closest confidants at first. The original section, (Quoted above on previous page) supporting only monogamous marriage was written in 1835 and already the rumor was out concerning polygamy as you can see it is attempting to refute the accusations of polygamy. It was written as a cover-up. (Collaboration for the date of July 17th, 1831 has been supported in the journals or letters of Joseph Fielding Smith, W.W. Phelps, S.F. Whitney, Juanita Brooks, William Clayton and many others.)
The Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:23-28 (please read this section in the Book of Mormon) or in the original p.111, Vs 23-24 says that polygamy is an abomination and that David and Solomon were condemned by the Lord for practicing it. This contradicts Doc and Cov's sec 132. And it contradicts the Bible, (Deut 17:17, 1 Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:5,6; Gen. 16:5 Math 19:5,8) This is the kind of contradiction you would expect if the origin is human and not Godly.
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Bennett and many others went on to marry dozens of wives, some were already married to other men.(see Journal of Discourses Vol. 2, pp13-14; Mormon Prophets, 1886, pp. 70-72; The Life of Heber C. Kimball by Apostle Orson Whitney; Confessions of John D. Lee, p132; Wife number 19, by Ann-Eliza Young, 1876, pp. 70-71). You shall know them by their fruits!
The problems this caused both in individual households and for the church were immeasurable. In later years the practice, but not the belief, was reversed by revelation from the Prophet. This was preceded by a war with the United States of America. The revelation was basically part of a settlement with the United States Army to avoid being pushed down to Mexico. After the revelation many leaders and general authorities continued the practice and some were even convicted in court. Today many male members only have the hope and expectation that this practice is to continue in the hereafter.
The Pearl of Great Price has many of the same type of problems that the Book of Mormon has. It is full of Christian terms and practices from the 1st century attributed by the author back all the way to Adam and Eve. In the Book of Moses 6:51-66 we see Adam being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (the Greek name for Him, not known to Hebrew 'Nephites') and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. In the next book, the Book of Abraham, it seems the name of Jesus Christ was forgotten, as it is never mentioned.
The fact is the truth of the Gospel was hidden from man and was not revealed until the time of Christ. The Bible states : Eph 3:9 “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And Col 1:26 “ that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints”.
So we see that the Gospel was hidden in times past until Jesus came to us. But Joseph, in the Pearl of Great Price, (and the Book of Mormon) has 19th Century Christianity being revealed in Old Testament times to the Nephites, (which goes against the truth of scripture) written 600 years later.
Thomas Paine was Right
It is interesting to observe is the way Joseph changed Genesis into the Book of Moses and then changed it into the Book of Abraham. The Book of Moses has God speaking in the first person, Genesis is in the third person and Abraham is in multiple persons. They all basically cover the same material in the beginning but by the time he wrote Abraham, he had become a polytheist. Is this continuing revelation or 'lets make a god'? I guess it depends on how much of the evidence you take into consideration.
Thomas Paine wrote a book preceding the time of Joseph Smiths book that criticized the Bible on many points. One was that Moses wrote in the third person. In Moses 2:1, Joseph starts using the first person. For example instead of “...the Lord spake unto Moses, saying...” He changed it into the first person like this, “And I, God said...”. He goes on like this plagiarizing the KJV version of Genesis, changing the pronoun until Moses 5:1. Then, with a few exceptions, he reverts back to the third person account. Some of these changes were missed in the first edition and were “corrected” in the 1851 edition and the 1989 edition. In total, thousands of words have been deleted and many hundreds of words have been added. If Joseph is a prophet, why the need to changes his words? The only answer is that the church is still practicing the same kind of secretive fraud for the same reasons as Joseph Smith, power, pride and money, not necessarily in that order!
The New Seer
In the 1980's when Gordon Hinckley (Now the Prophet, Seer, Revelator) was a member of the First Presidency, he met with a document's dealer named Mark Hoffman on numerous occasions. Mark Hoffman had such a close relationship with Gordon Hinkely, he didn't even have to make an appointment. He could walk into his office anytime he wanted. He also had met with Hugh Pinnock, Dallin Oaks, Eldon Tanner, Marion Romney and had his picture taken with Prophet Kimball. Mark Hoffman was a seventh generation Mormon who had done a 2 year mission and had researched the history of the church quite extensively.
He became wealthy selling and trading new found documents to Gordon Hinckley c/o the church and to close relationships of the church. It turns out that almost all of the documents he “found”, were forgeries. Most had one common trait, they would be embarrassing to the church if discovered by the general public. Examples include, A letter by Joseph Smith blessing his son and anointing him the next Prophet, Seer and Revelator, the last letter Joseph Smith wrote on the day of his death, the Anthon transcript, the Salamander letter and many more documents that would tie Joseph Smith to practices he was already being accused of having done. Mark Hoffman, being an expert on Mormon History, would forge documents he knew would support things that Joseph was accused of having been involved in but couldn't be proven. He simply filled in the blanks.
Mark Hoffman went on to become a murderer. He was getting so buried in the lies and deception that he decided to kill a few of his main contacts that were about to expose him. In the following investigation, Gordon Hinckley was interviewed many times by the police. At first he denied even knowing Mark Hoffman. This only intensified the investigation and when it seemed Mr. Hinckley would be called to testify, he admitted the truth under oath. At that point the church and the police took a closer look at all the documents they had purchased and Hidden in the Church Vault, and found that every one purchased from Mark Hoffman was a fake. Mark Hoffman later admitted to producing the forgeries and showed them how he did it as part of a plea bargain designed to keep Gordon Hinkely out of court.
This brings up a few questions. If the prophet and general authorities are supposed to be able to see, (They are supposed to be able to see what's in a mans heart, good or bad) why didn't they detect the motives of Mark Hoffman themselves? Why did Gordon Hinckley lie? And why were they so quick to believe that these documents that showed Joseph Smith to be a fraud, were real? And why did they bury them in the vault so quickly? What other documents are in the vault today of this nature? Do the church officials know that Joseph Smith was a phony? Why would they keep going as if he was true? Is it because of power, money and prestige, like Joseph? This is simple human nature and why we need God.
Every Knee Shall Not Bow
The Mormon Church teaches that we shouldn't worship Jesus, but only the Father. This is an attempt to avoid being labeled polytheists. The problem is that Jesus is worshipped in the bible as God in many places. The Greek word used is proskuneo which is the same word used for worshipping the Father. In Hebrews 1:6-8, “And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM." And of the angels He says, "WHO MAKES HIS ANGELS WINDS, AND HIS MINISTERS A FLAME OF FIRE. “But of the Son He says, "THY THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.” Other verses where he is worshipped are John 20:28; Matthew 2:11; 8:2; 9:18 John 9:38 Matthew 28:9, 17. Revelations 5:11-14. And in every case he accepts the worship!
Mormons teach that Jesus is Jehovah and we are told we are not to pray to Jesus. But in many places of the Old Testament, we are told to pray to Jehovah. Deuteronomy 4:7 "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD (Jehovah) our God whenever we call on Him?”; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 5:2; 32:6; Jeremiah 29:7, 12. Strongs gives this definition to the word Jehovah “Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord.” This is a derivative of the term 'I AM that I AM'. Having always existed in contrast to us human beings as having been created.
One God, Two God, Three God, More
The LDS Church teaches that Jesus is Jehovah and God is Elohim, two separate and distinct Gods. The problem is this doesn't hold water in the Old Testament. Genesis 27:20 “And Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?" And he said, "Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me." The word for Lord is Jehovah and the word used for God is Elohim!
Again this is true in Exodus 3:4-7 “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. And the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.” And again for emphasis Jeremiah 32:18 “who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name;” In all of these examples, the word Lord is Jehovah and the word God is Elohim! How can this be a different and separate God?
In additional verses Jesus alone is called Elohim. Isaiah 40:3 “A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.' This whole verse is in reference to Jesus according to John 1:23! I could go on many times with this but one final verse that is particularly relevant to this discussion is Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD (Jehovah) is our God (Elohim), the LORD (Jehovah) is one!”
Some other various problems are the fact that Jesus was God before he had a body. This contradicts the teaching in the Book of Abraham. And how could the Holy Spirit be God if he doesn't have a body at all? Was our God once a sinner? And if time goes back forever in a linear fashion, how could we have ever gotten here right now? If God needs to become God, then who created the universe in the first place? All previous Gods must have started somewhere? And if time goes back for infinity, why aren't all beings Gods already? Shouldn't the process be done by now or does it take longer then infinity?
If Joseph Smith had the lineage of Ephraim (Doctrines of Salvation 3:247), who was half Egyptian, (Genesis 41:45, 50-51), and the people of the Book of Mormon were from the lineage of Manasseh, who was half Egyptian, (Alma 10:3), and Abraham 1:21,22,27 says that nobody who has Egyptian blood could hold the Priesthood, then isn't Joseph's authority undermined in a number of ways?
An LDS Prophet Speaks the Truth
Joseph Fielding Smith, a past president of the Mormon Church said this, “The Church Stands or Falls with Joseph Smith. Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures.” Millennial Star, Vol 96, pp33-34.
The above statement by the prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith, seems to approve and permit one to look freely at the evidence and not depend solely on a subjective burning bosom. I urge anyone, even those who believe they have found the subjective confirmation, to also seek the objective one required by the Bible, God, Joseph Fielding Smith, and the rules of logic and reason. There is nothing to fear in the truth. God is truth!
If you think that something I have presented is not accurate, I hope you will honestly research the issues to your own satisfaction. Let me know where I am in error, I will thank you for your assistance if it can be done using reason, and the word of God.
The historical, evangelical, Christian Church, views the Jesus of Mormonism as a different Jesus. In Mormonism, he isn't viewed as a member of the one true Godhead; he is simply our elder brother and not creator of all things; he is the brother of Lucifer and not the creator of Lucifer; he died for our sins whether we accept his forgiveness and gift or not; He married a number of wives; was the literal child of a mother with two husbands in which she had sex with God, was not to be worshipped; was simply an arch-angel; is simply one in an endless plurality of Gods; his Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather used to be sinners; All their effort is spent fulfilling the requirements of the church, i.e. tithing, covenant work, baptism for the dead, temple work, priesthood rituals, secret rights taken partially from masonry and all the while hoping, but not knowing, if they are right with God. Most Mormons don't seem to seek or value knowing Jesus on a personal level like Christians do, but Mormons seek a subjective emotional testimony about the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church. Jesus, to Christians, is the only true high priest, after the order of Melchizedek.
The whole truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stands or falls on the person of Joseph Smith. In light of all the evidence against his sincerity and honesty, it seems foolish to overlook it in the name of a testimony'. Who knows which spirit gave you this emotional affirmation and why. If you die in your sins with the hope that the “Jesus” revealed by Joseph Smith is cleansing your sins, and Joseph turns out to be a fraud, you have lost everything. It is worth looking into the evidence despite your firm convictions, for the sake of you and your family.
This letter is only a brief look a minority of the many points of evidence that are available to the sincere seeker of truth. Many believe there should be a tension between science and faith. The truth is that true science can test only the things that lend themselves to repeatable and observable data. Science has supported the claims of the bible in every case that there is a way to test the claim, i.e. archeology, astronomy, biology, mathematics, geology and history.
In Mormonism, the faith requires a rejection of the observable evidence to continue to believe. This is not the kind of faith that God requires but is actually going against the instruction of His Word. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” So we need to rely on what is observable because it testifies about truth, just like the Bible.
I hope and pray this will be helpful to all who seek the One True God who will lead men in all truth. Denial of truth for the sake of sin, religion or pride, is a human trait responsible for many of our problems and will lead to the wide road of destruction. The Holy Ghost has promised to lead us in all truth. If anyone has been led to something that is not true by a spirit, it is their responsibility to reject that spirit and seek the One True Spirit from God.
God Bless You,