.:EXAMINING THE CLAIMS OF MORMONISM — Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the True Church? Overview of Mormonism exposes some of the unchristian doctrines of the Mormon Church, changes in LDS Scripture and false prophecies that have been uttered by various Mormon authorities.
Contents of Examining Mormonism Article:
The Book of Mormon Challenge
Testing Doctrine & Covenants
Testing the LDS Doctrine of Man
Testing the LDS Doctrine of God
Testing the LDS Doctrine of Jesus Christ
Blood Atonement Doctrine
Testing Mormon Priesthood Authority
The Black Revelation of 1978
Testing LDS Prophets
Upon conversing with non-Mormon people, Latter-day Saints (LDS) often pressure investigators to follow the admonition in the Book of Mormon to: “Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart … he will manifest the truth of it unto you.” (Moroni 10:4). But are feelings a reliable way to determine truth? The Bible admonishes us to “test” the spirits — not “feel” the spirits — to see if they are of God.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 1.)
Just as many “false prophets” have gone out into the world, so many false spirits (demons) have gone out into the world, and it is a known fact that Satan and his demons influence through feelings.
“In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Timothy 4:1)
Consequently, the only reliable test of a religion is to examine its history and doctrines in the light of the objective standard of the Bible. Even the Apostle Paul commended the Bereans for not just blindly accepting his teaching of truth without testing it against the Scriptures.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Furthermore, various “General Authorities” (recognized leaders) of the Mormon Church have acknowledged this fact. Take note of the following statements by Brigham Young who was the second Prophet of the Mormon Church, LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, and current Mormon scripture.
“Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 46, Brigham Young, 1873)
“The Book of Mormon claims to be a divinely inspired record … This book must be either true or false … If, after rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments upon which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated … that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced … by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason.” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, pp. 68-69, by Orson Pratt)
“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 9:8)
Just as LDS scripture Doctrine and Covenants admonishes one to “study” the Book of Mormon out in one’s mind first before asking God if it is right, we will now turn our attention to a critical examination of the origin and doctrines of the book.
TESTING THE BOOK OF MORMON
Declaring that he translated the Book of Mormon from gold plates he found on the Hill Cumorah in upstate New York, Joseph Smith claimed that these plates contain the record of ancient inhabitants of America who migrated to America from Jerusalem. The first migration led by Jared and his family allegedly occurred about 2250 B.C. As the story goes, this group of people multiplied so much that they divided into two nations and fought with each other until everyone was killed. The second migration consisting of Lehi, his family and friends allegedly occurred around 600 BC. This group also grew into two huge nations — the Nephites and the Lamanites. Wars broke out and eventually the Lamanites killed off all the Nephites in AD 385. Thus, according to Mormon history, the Lamanites are the ancient ancestors of the American Indians and are the sole survivors of this ancient migration.
If the Book of Mormon contains the record of ancient inhabitants of America, it is logical that archaeology would support its claims by finding ruins of large groups of people who built immense, fortified cities and whose large-scale wars culminated in the destruction of thousands of Nephite people near the Hill Cumorah in present-day New York state. Yet, archaeological evidence in support of such claims is strikingly lacking. Respected archaeological institutions such as the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution attest to this fact.
“Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars.” (Smithsonian Institution Form Letter, 1988)
Furthermore, Mormon scholars have repeatedly endeavored to find Book of Mormon lands somewhere in Central America. Nevertheless, these scholars disagree among themselves as to the location of these lands. Some point toward the Costa Rica area, while others say the Yucatan Peninsula, and still others focus on the Tehuantepec area. Even Dr. Ray Matheny of Brigham Young University admits to the lack of archaeological evidence for historical accounts in the Book of Mormon.
“I would not dare make a claim for anything about ancient cultures unless there was ample evidence to back it up. To do otherwise would be to deceive and be intellectually dishonest, misusing my position as an investigative scientist. While some people choose to make claims for the Book of Mormon through archaeological evidences, to me they are made prematurely, and without sufficient knowledge.” (Dr. Ray Matheny, Letter dated December 17, 1987)
In 1841, Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon “was the most correct of any book on earth,” 2. and LDS History of the Church describes an event that supposedly occurred soon after the translation of the Book of Mormon from the gold plates.
“We heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.’” (History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 54-55)
With such testimony from angelic beings affirming the accuracy of the Book of Mormon — a translation which is seen to be “the most correct of any book on earth,” one wonders how any errors could have crept into the original 1830 edition. Yet, the “Brief Explanation” introduction found in current editions notes:
“About this edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith.” (1981 ed.)
While the LDS church notes that “errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions,” they quickly assert that these changes are somehow being made in “conformity” with “early editions” edited by Joseph Smith. But as we will see in subsequent examples, most of the changes that have been made in recent editions were made to correct the errors found in the original 1830 edition!
In his book Address to All Believers in Christ, David Whitmer (who was one of the “Three Witnesses” in the Book of Mormon) described the process Joseph Smith employed in translating the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. 3. According to Whitmer, Joseph Smith was able to obtain an exact translation of the “reformed Egyptian” by use of a “seer stone” in which the individual characters and specific words appeared before his eyes. Such an exact translation does not leave room for any corrections or even spelling errors! Yet, from the original 1830 edition to the present-day editions, over 4 thousand changes have been counted and contrary to LDS claims, not all of them have been “minor.”
Doctrinal changes such as the one at 1 Nephi 13:40 in which “the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father” has been changed to read “the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father.” 4. leaves one to doubt the validity of LDS claims regarding its accuracy.
Other major changes include Mosiah 21:28 where “king Benjamin” has been changed to read “king Mosiah.” 5. From chronology found in the Book of Mormon, it appears that king Benjamin should have been dead by this time. 6. How can a book of such divine origin and “the most correct of any book on earth,” get its people so confused?
In present editions, Alma 32:30 contains a 34-word phrase that was left out of the 1830 7. printed edition and was not put back in until 1981. Again, a person must wonder how a book that is claimed to have been “translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man” contain so many errors.
While it is claimed that the Book of Mormon was translated from gold plates written between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D., it contains vast segments of verses and even whole chapters from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. At 3 Nephi 13 of the 1830 edition, 8. Matthew 6:1-23 was nearly copied verse-by-verse right into the Book of Mormon. Later editions, however, have changed the KJV rendering of “which” to “who.” 3 Nephi 21:22-22:5 of the 1830 edition, 9. directly plagiarized Isaiah 54:1-4. Later editions have added the phrase, “and shall not remember the reproach of thy youth” to Isaiah’s text verse 4. 10.
If it is true that the Book of Mormon was written by the fifth century, how could it contain such extensive quotations from the A.D. 1611 King James Version of the Bible?
While Mormons often respond to such allegations of plagiarism by asserting that God being the author of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon would have inspired the same statements in both, such argumentation overlooks the fact that even the italicized words from the King James Version were quoted in the Book of Mormon. This is significant because the italicized words found in the KJV text are not in the original language but were added by the King James translators to provide clarity. Thus, one must ask, how could the Book of Mormon, which was allegedly written long before the King James Version of the Bible, happen to include inserted clarifying words from the King James translators — unless, of course, it is plagiarized?
BOOK OF MORMON DOCTRINE:
MODALISM: The view that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are simply three modes of manifestation: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.” (Ether 3:14; see also Mosiah 15:1-5)
TRINITY: One God (Isaiah 46:9) who is revealed in three separate and distinct persons: the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19).
FAITH + WORKS = SALVATION: “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)
FAITH + SALVATION = WORKS: A true living faith in Christ and a saving-trust of his completed purchase of our salvation results in a life filled with good works that are done out of gratitude for the free gift of salvation: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.” (Romans 11:6)
BAPTISMAL REGENERATION: The idea that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation: “And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name … or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.” (2 Nephi 9:23)
SIGN—NOT SEAL OF FAITH: Baptism is not a part of the saving process (the gospel), but is merely a response to salvation. “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 1:17)
HISTORY: There was a group of people (Jared and his brothers) whose language was not confounded at the tower of Babel (Ether 1:35-37).
HISTORY: “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:9)
As is noted in the chart above, the doctrine in the Book of Mormon does not agree with Biblical doctrine. How can God be the author of a book that disagrees with the revelation He has already given in the Bible?
“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:20)
Many changes have also been made to the LDS “scripture” of Doctrine and Covenants. One of the most significant of these changes is the deletion of a section that was 68 pages long, containing more than 20 thousand words. This section found in the original 1835 edition wasn’t removed until 1921. 11. Entitled “Lectures on Faith” and consisting of seven lectures within this larger section, this series of Lectures was deemed so important by Joseph Smith and early Church leaders that they even referenced these lectures in their preface to the 1835 edition by stating that the lectures embraced “the important doctrine of salvation.” The reason for the exclusion of this section is likely due to the fact that in these lectures, Joseph Smith taught a doctrine that the Mormon church now calls heresy — the idea that God the Father is “a personage of spirit” and that there are only two personages who comprise the Godhead.
Another section of Doctrine and Covenants that has undergone major revision is Doctrine and Covenants Section 5. When it was originally published in the Book of Commandments in 1833, it stated that God had told Joseph Smith that he would only have one “gift” to translate one book — that being the Book of Mormon:
“And now, behold, this shall you say unto him:—I the Lord am God, and I have given these things unto my servant Joseph … and he has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift. And verily I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth.” (Book of Commandments, Chapter 4:2-3)
When Joseph Smith allegedly translated the “Book of Abraham” in the LDS Scripture Pearl of Great Price from an Egyptian papyrus, Smith was compelled to change the wording of this revelation to accommodate his new gift to translate the Egyptian papyrus. The revelation now reads:
“And now, behold, this shall you say unto him—he who spake unto you, said unto you: I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jun … And you have a gift to translate the plates: and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished. Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 5:2,4-5 12.)
Such drastic changes to “scripture” certainly cannot be of God. Just as LDS Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith noted in his Doctrines of Salvation, if Joseph Smith’s “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.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 188)
Mormonism teaches that God is quite literally the Father of every human being who has ever lived on planet earth. Proclaiming that each person was first “begotten” as a spirit by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother in a spirit world near Kolob, they assert that every spirit who proves himself worthy in this spirit world is rewarded for his faithfulness by eventually being born as a human into a family here on earth.
“God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. ‘All men and women are … literally the sons and daughters of Deity … Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body.’” (Gospel Principles, 1992 ed., p. 11)
“By definition, exaltation includes the ability to procreate the family unit throughout eternity. This our Father in heaven has power to do. His marriage partner is our mother in heaven. We are their spirit children, born to them in the bonds of celestial marriage … For as we have a Father in heaven, so also we have a Mother there, a glorified, exalted, ennobled Mother.” (Achieving A Celestial Marriage Student Manual, p. 129)
“We were made first spiritual [i.e. in heaven] and afterwards temporal [i.e. on this earth.]” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 97)
The Bible clearly articulates that God is called “Father” in the limited sense of being the supreme Creator of all things; but calling God “Father” in the sense of being the Creator is quite different from the spiritual sense in which one can truly call God his personal “Father.” The Bible is absolutely explicit in stating that only those individuals who have been spiritually adopted into God’s family through personal acceptance of Christ have the privilege (power) of calling God their personal “Father.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12)
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son … to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
If everyone is already in God’s family as “sons of God,” why would the Bible state that each person needs to personally undergo “adoption” into God’s family through the blood of Jesus? Christ plainly declared that He is the only one who pre-existed before coming to earth, and as a result, He is the only one who can truly say that He is from “above” — i.e., Heaven!
“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world … Ye are of your father the devil.” (John 8:23, 44)
If the Mormon doctrine of man’s pre-existence is true and all humans are sons of God in a literal, physical sense, why would Jesus have told the Jews that they were of their “father the devil”? Does Satan have “literal” children?
As is clearly seen, the terms “father” and “son” in these contexts are strictly employed in a figurative, spiritual manner to convey the relationship between God and man — not to denote some so-called “pre-existence.” Indeed, the Bible declares that God “formeth the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1), thus, he is not begotten first in some so-called “spirit world.”
“Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 15:46)
The Mormon Church proclaims that God the Father “is an exalted Man” who has not always been God, but who had to dwell “on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did” in order to earn the right to have His kingdom.
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man … We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea … he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Joseph Smith, 1844, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3)
By faithfully following all the ordinances of the LDS gospel, “worthy” Mormons hope to eventually attain to the level of exaltation of “Heavenly Father” and to become “gods” like Him. The Mormon gospel is basically summed up in the following statement by Joseph Smith:
“Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves … My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 4)
How does the Mormon god compare with the God of the Bible?
“I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.” (Hosea 11:9)
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” (Romans 1:22-23)
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
Mormons often respond to these Biblical passages by arguing that they don’t believe they will take Heavenly Father’s place, but that they merely want to be “a god like Him.” But notice how Lucifer didn’t say that he wanted to take Heavenly Father’s place either; he merely wanted to be “like” God. Not only is this the very doctrine that caused God to remove Lucifer from heaven, but it is the same lie that Satan told Eve which caused Adam and Eve to be thrown out of the Garden of Eden. Indeed, “no truth” abides in Satan, “for he is a liar, and the father” of lies.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
Mormonism proclaims that God our “Father in Heaven” was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient.” 13. How can the God of Mormonism be the same God of the Bible when the Bible teaches that neither God the Father nor Jesus Christ had any “beginning of days nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3)? 14.
“You are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. … Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. … ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. … Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; 46:9)
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
In this Biblical passage, one can see the seriousness of falling into the deception of Satan by placing faith in a counterfeit Jesus. Since Jesus is the sole source of salvation (John 14:6), merely affirming “belief in Christ” while clinging to a distorted view of His identity will lead to spiritual destruction, for a counterfeit Jesus cannot save anyone.
In the same way that Mormonism distorts the nature of the God the Father, Mormonism distorts the identity of Jesus Christ and thus falls under the condemnation of proclaiming “another Jesus” than the one “preached” in the Bible.
Because Mormonism teaches that God was quite literally the father of Jesus Christ — not only in the spiritual realm but in the physical realm as well, it proclaims that Jesus was not begotten in the flesh by the Holy Ghost, but by the exalted man Heavenly Father.
“When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.” (Brigham Young, 1852, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50)
“Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost. … he was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 18)
Thus, according to Mormonism, the “Virgin Mary” wasn’t truly a virgin in purity as we know it, but was the “lawful wife of God the Father.”
“The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father.” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 158)
“The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 1866, vol. 11, p. 268)
How can the Jesus of Mormonism be the same Jesus of the Bible when the Bible clearly articulates how the “virgin” Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost” and not by a so-called “exalted Man”?
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. … Behold, a virgin shall be with child.” (Matthew 1:18, 23)
Distorting the Eternal Nature of Christ
In the same way that Mormonism perverts the Biblical concept of the incarnation of Christ, Mormonism distorts the eternal nature of Christ. Far from the Jesus of the Bible who in His very nature is the “Father”/Possessor of eternity (Isaiah 9:6) and who created all things including the principalities of Lucifer and his angels, Mormon doctrine relegates Christ to being the mere created “spirit-brother of Lucifer.” Thus, in Mormon doctrine, Jesus’ appointment to being the “Savior of the world” was contested by his rival brother Lucifer who also wanted to be chosen as “the Savior of Mankind.”
“The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning … this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)
Does this sound like the Jesus of the Bible who possesses eternity and who never had to rival for the position of “Savior” with Lucifer whom He created?
“For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
“All things were made by him: and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)
“For unto us a child is born … and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
“Without father, without Mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God.” (Hebrews 7:3)
As if distorting the eternal nature of Christ and perverting the Biblical concept of the incarnation wasn’t enough, Mormon leaders have continued the blasphemy by additionally proclaiming that both God the Father and Jesus Christ have more than one wife. Therefore, according to Mormonism, far from being the guest who was merely invited to the “marriage in Cana of Galilee,” 15. the soon imminent Mormon polygamist (Jesus Christ) married “Mary, Martha, and the other Mary.”
“There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee … no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.” (Orson Hyde, 1857, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 259)
A lesser-known LDS principle prominently taught in the early years of Mormonism but still affirmed today is the “blood atonement” doctrine which states that there are “serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 92)
Because this doctrine is so embarrassing to Mormonism and is one of the clearest examples of Mormon perversion of Christianity, LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie endeavors to down-play this teaching in the writings of early Mormon leaders by stating:
“Wicked and evilly-disposed persons have fabricated false and slanderous stories to the effect that the Church, in the early days of this dispensation, engaged in a practice of blood atonement … By taking one sentence on one page and another from a succeeding page and even by taking a part of a sentence on one page and a part of another found several pages away—all wholly torn from context—dishonest persons have attempted to make it appear that Brigham Young and others taught things just the opposite of what they really believed and taught.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 92)
While Mormonism endeavors to silence its critics by accusing them of deception and taking statements out of context, the actual documented evidence proves otherwise. Note the following statements made by Brigham Young regarding this doctrine. As you will see in these quotations, no sentences are taken apart or construed from different pages:
“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they would stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world. I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it a strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them.” (Brigham Young, 1856, Journal of Discourses, vol 4, p. 53)
“I say, rather than that apostates should flourish here, I will unsheath my bowie knife, and conquer or die. [Great commotion in the congregation, and a simultaneous burst of feeling, assenting to the declaration.] Now, you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet. [Voices, generally, ‘go it, go it.’] If you say it is right, raise your hands. [All hands up.] Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work.” (Brigham Young, 1853, Journal of Discourses, vol 1, p. 83 (Brackets in the original))
As one can clearly see, none of these statements are taken out of context. Ironically, while McConkie accuses critics of fabricating “false” stories regarding this doctrine, he affirms it as a “true doctrine”:
“The true doctrine of blood atonement is simply this … under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate, and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins. Murder, for instance, is one of these sins; hence we find the Lord commanding capital punishment … President Joseph Fielding Smith has written: ‘Men may commit certain grievous sins … that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. … for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail … Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 92-93)
While Mormonism endeavors to validate their “blood atonement” doctrine by citing the Biblical penalty of “capital punishment” for murders, such argumentation totally ignores the basis behind this injunction and is fatally flawed for three reasons.
1) Ignoring the Context: The principle of capital punishment for murders was given to Noah and his family right after the occurrence of the Flood (see Genesis 9:6). Biblical scholars affirm that this is the place where government was first instituted. Therefore, in our time, this principle is not to rest in the hands of individuals who desire revenge (or in the hands of a religion that wants to “clear out” so-called “apostates” from their domain), but in the hands of the appointed government.
2) Denying the Sufficiency of the Blood of Christ: While Mormonism is quick to point to the fact that in the Old Testament, capital punishment was the penalty for murder, it overlooks the fact that according to the Bible, the penalty of all sin (not just murder) is death (Romans 6:23). Thus, to argue that murder is not covered under the blood of Jesus is to accuse Jesus of not completing His work.
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)
3) Overlooking the Example of Paul: The Apostle Paul considered himself the “chief” of “sinners,” 16. because he had “persecuted the church of God.” 17. He was the one who was behind the brutal murder of Stephen and imprisonment of Christians in the early church. 18. Since the Apostle Paul found Jesus’ blood sufficient to cleans him of murder, why should there ever be any instance in which “men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins”?
Instead of trusting in the Jesus of Mormonism who is a polygamist, the “spirit-brother” of Lucifer, and who may not be able to forgive all of your sins, why not trust in the Jesus of the Bible who claims:
“Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? … Behold the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.” (Isaiah 50:2; 59:1)
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross … For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 2:13-14; 3:3)
“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. … If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7, 9)
“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:11-12)
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
Latter-day Saints believe that in order for a male to be able to become exalted as “a god” in the Celestial (highest) kingdom of heaven, he must hold the Mormon “Aaronic” and “Melchizedek priesthoods.” According to Mormonism, this priesthood authority is absolutely essential for any person to be able to perform any of the ordinances of the Mormon “gospel” (such as baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost). Thus, they claim that in 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were “ordained” to these priesthoods by John the Baptist and the apostles Peter, James, and John — resulting in a restoration of this priesthood authority that was allegedly “lost” from the earth at the death of these Biblical apostles.
What does the Bible have to say about priesthood authority? Did the Biblical apostles hold these priesthoods? What about Jesus Himself? Did He hold the “Aaronic priesthood” as the Mormons claim?
“These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office. … Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. … And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh neigh shall be put to death.” (Numbers 3:3, 6, 10)
“And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes … If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood … what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? … For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” (Hebrews 7:5, 11, 14)
While Mormonism is quick to assert that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry were ordained to these priesthoods by the Biblical apostles, it overlooks the fact that not only was Jesus Himself unable to hold the Aaronic priesthood because He was not born of the tribe of Levi, but none of Jesus’ apostles where able to hold these priesthoods for they could not fulfill the necessary qualifications. Thus, the priesthood authority was changed from the Aaronic priesthood (held solely by men of the Levitical lineage) to the Melchisedec priesthood (held by Jesus alone).
“What further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:11-12)
This Melchisedec priesthood can only be held by Jesus because He is the only one who can fulfill the qualifications.
“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God … Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was … For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:1, 3-4, 26-27)
How can any man other than Jesus be “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days”? 19. Jesus was able to fulfill these qualifications because His eternal nature as God is without “beginning of days.” Therefore, it is only in His human nature as the Son of Man that Jesus possesses a genealogy and was born of his mother Mary. Furthermore, just as “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” 20. so only Jesus fulfills the qualification to be “holy,” “undefiled,” and “separate from sinners.”
It is for this reason that unlike the Levitical priests of the Aaronic priesthood who were constantly passing the priesthood on to others to avoid the extinction of that priesthood, Jesus permanently possesses this Melchisedec priesthood which can never be passed down to anyone else.
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” (Hebrews 7:23-24)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word (aparabatos) translated “unchangeable” in Hebrews 7:24 means “untransferable (perpetual).” 21. In other words, unlike the Aaronic priesthood that was passed down from one man to another, Jesus’ Melchisedec priesthood is “untransferable” in that it cannot be handed-down or conferred to anyone else. Jesus possesses it permanently.
While only Jesus can hold the official “authority” of the Melchisedic priesthood, the Bible does mention that there is a priesthood of all believers. In other words, anyone (whether male or female) who has been called out of spiritual darkness into the marvellous light of Christ can claim to be of the “holy priesthood” and “chosen generation” of the people of God.
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. … But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:5, 9)
Unlike the Aaronic and Melchisedec priesthoods that required sacrifices for sin, this priesthood of all believers brings forth the “spiritual sacrifices” of “praises” to Jesus for what He has accomplished in becoming our sole High Priest — once for all paying the price of our redemption from sin and freeing us to no longer be in the bondage of darkness.
Mormonism teaches that black skin is the “mark of Cain” and a sign of being cursed from being able to hold the LDS priesthoods. As a result, black Mormon men were not granted priesthood status in the LDS Church — that is, until September 30, 1978, when LDS Prophet Spencer W. Kimball allegedly received a “new revelation” stating:
“He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy Priesthood … Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the Priesthood without regard for race or color.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Declaration 2)
As justification for this “new revelation,” LDS authorities argue that this release “day” was “promised” by early Mormon prophets. But an examination of the writings of the early LDS prophets reveal that the “promised” day could not have possibly been in 1978, because even to this day, not all of the white “descendants of Adam have received … the blessing of the Priesthood” as was prophesied would be the case when this day would arrive.
“You see some classes of the human family that are black … Cain slew his brother … the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin … How long is that race to endure that dreadful curse that is upon them? That curse will remain upon them, and they never can hold the Priesthood or share in it until all the other descendants of Adam have received the promises and enjoyed the blessings of the Priesthood and the keys thereof … When the residue of the family of Adam come up and receive their blessings, then the curse will be removed from the seed of Cain.” (Brigham Young, 1859, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pp. 290-291)
Current Racism in Mormon Doctrine
While on the surface, it may appear that Mormonism has cleared up its racist doctrine toward blacks by allowing them into the LDS priesthoods, such changes are merely superficial for LDS scripture and doctrine still teaches that black skin is evidence of unfaithfulness in LDS pre-mortal life.
“Those who were less valiant in pre-existence … are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966 ed., p. 527)
“The race and nation in which men are born in this world is a direct result of their pre-existent life.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1986 ed., p. 616)
Even though LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie’s book Mormon Doctrine has undergone extensive changes in the area of doctrine regarding black people, the 1986 edition still states that a man’s “race” into which he is born is directly determined by his alleged “pre-existent life.” Furthermore, the Book of Mormon to this day still equates black skin with rebellion against God.
“And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly 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.” (2 Nephi 5:21, 1986 ed.)
Civil War Not to Free the Slaves?
It is precisely because of this doctrine regarding black skin that Brigham Young falsely prophesied in 1863 that the Civil War would not free the slaves.
“Will the present struggle free the slave? No … Treat the slaves kindly and let them live, for Ham must be the servant of servants until the curse is removed. Can you destroy the decrees of the Almighty? You cannot.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 250)
Brigham Young (2nd Prophet of the LDS Church) taught that Adam “is our Father and our God, and the only god with whom WE have to do.” 22. Thus, he claimed:
“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 … 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, 1852, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp. 50-51)
The LDS church no longer believes this doctrine anymore, and they endeavor to deny the fact that Brigham Young actually taught it. Yet, Brigham Young said that he “never yet preached a sermon … that they may not call Scripture.” 23.
“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not harken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. … And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God … So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
Life on the Sun and Moon?
“Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? … and 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 of it; it was not made in vain.” (Brigham Young, 1870, Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 271)
“Nearly all the great discoveries of men in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a Prophet. As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do—that they live generally to near the age of a 1000 years. He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.” (Oliver B. Huntington, 1892, Young Woman’s Journal, vol. 3, p. 263)
Polygamy Never Banned in Utah State?
“‘Do you think that we shall ever be admitted as a State into the Union without denying the principle of polygamy?’ If we are not admitted until then, we shall never be admitted.” (Brigham Young, 1866, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269)
Brigham Young to become President
of the United States?
“The Church and kingdom to which we belong will become the kingdom of our God and his Christ, and brother Brigham Young will become President of the United States. [Voices responded, ‘Amen.’] … You may think that I am joking; but I am perfectly willing that brother Long would write every word of it; for I can see it just as naturally as I see the earth and the productions thereof.” (Herber C. Kimball, 1856, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 219)
“And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation: pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land … therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded me to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me, and that to him I am accountable for every word I say.” (Joseph Smith, 1833, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1976, p. 17)
When did “hail, famine, and earthquake … sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land”? When did unparalleled earthquakes and hailstorms sweep the wicked of the generation of 1833 from the United States? Indeed, “many years” have passed since that generation was in existence, yet the wicked where never annihilated from the land.
The Need for a Living Prophet?
Jesus warned his followers that in the last days “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” 24. What is the test to determine a false prophet from a true prophet?
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
The test of a true prophet is 100% accuracy in his predictions. All it takes to disqualify a person from being a true prophet of God is one failed prophecy. Furthermore, just as the penalty for false prophecy is death, so the penalty of following a false prophet is spiritual death.
“The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail. … and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:15-16)
While it is true that prior to Christ, God led his people through living prophets whom He would appoint to speak in His name, 25. ever since the coming of Christ, God no longer appoints living prophets to lead His people as He did in those days.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)
“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” (Luke 16:16)
Just as Luke notes, John the Baptist was the last living prophet of God, for he paved the way for Jesus Christ who is God’s Final Word (John 1:1,14). Changing the way He communicates and leads His people, God now works individually with each believer who has personally come to Jesus and placed his full trust in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice for sin.
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus … Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19, 22)
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
As Jesus is now the sole Prophet and Priest of true Christians, the true believer does not need anyone other than Jesus to be his mediator between himself and God. No church, organization, or individual can ever truly claim to be the “only way of salvation,” for trusting in Jesus and developing an intimate personal relationship with Jesus is the only way one can truly be saved and connect with the living God of the universe.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Instead of placing your trust in a religion, church, or prophet who falsely claims to be the way to God, why not place you full trust in Jesus alone? He is the only one who can truly satisfy your deepest longing for security and assurance of eternal life.
“I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13)
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
He lived the perfect life in your place, and He now offers you His perfection in exchange for your sin. Why not come to Jesus today, and ask Him to be your righteousness for you?
“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. … For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb 10:10, 14)
“Having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)
1. All Biblical Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version
2. History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461
3. Address To All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 12
4. 1830 Book of Mormon, p. 32; See also 1 Nephi 11:18,21 (1830 Book of Mormon, p. 25)
5. 1830 Book of Mormon, p. 200
6. See Mosiah 6:3-7; 7:1
7. 1830 Book of Mormon, p. 315
8. 1830 Book of Mormon, p. 482
9. 1830 Book of Mormon, p. 501
10. See 3 Nephi 22:4
11. Explanatory Introduction, Doctrine and Covenants, 1986ed.
12. All underlined sections of this quote are the portions of the revelation that were added since its original version was published in the Book of Commandments.
13.Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 132
14. See also Psalm 90:2
15. See John chapter 2
16. 1 Timothy 1:15
17. 1 Corinthians 15:9
18. Acts 7:54-8:3
19. Mormons often try to avoid the implications of these qualifications by asserting that these qualifications apply to the office of Melchisedec priesthood, and not to individual men in the priesthood. However, notice that the following verse speaks of how great this “man” was (vs. 4), and not of how great this “office” is.
20. Romans 3:23
21. #531 – Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, p. 13
22. Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50 (emphasis in original)
23. Journal of Discourses, vol 13, p. 95
24. Matthew 24:11
25. Amos 3:7
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