Mormonism - Is It False?
The religious system popularly known as "Mormonism" looks to Joseph Smith, Jr., as its founder. Smith, born in Vermont in 1805, claimed to have received visitations from the Father and the Son, and the angel Moroni in 1820 and 1823, respectively. The first alleged appearance was for the purpose of warning young Smith not to join any of the religious groups in his area. During the second visit he was supposed to have been advised that God had selected him for a divine purpose. He was further advised, we are told, of an ancient book written on golden plates which was hidden in a hill near Palmyra, New York. He was allowed to visit this location once each year until September, 1827,when the plates were delivered to him.
In April, 1829, assisted by a local school teacher, Oliver Cowdery, Smith began to translate the peculiar characters on the golden plates into the English. This, it is claimed, was accomplished by "the gift and power of God."
The result of these supposed labors was published in 1830 under the title, The Book of Mormon. This highly ungrammatical and tedious work claimed to be an account of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent — their origin, religion, and wars. But far more than just a historical work, it claimed to be the word of God — the "fulness of the everlasting gospel."
The same year this book was published, Joseph Smith, claiming to be a divinely appointed prophet, organized a church which, in 1834, was officially called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From that time until now, this group claims to be the "one true church," divinely restored to the earth.
In the ensuing years before the violent murder of Smith in 1844, he produced two other books, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. Both of these works, like the Book of Mormon, purported to be the word of God.
After the death of Joseph Smith, his followers were divided into warring camps. The largest of these, under the brilliant leadership of Brigham Young, made the famous exodus to the Salt Lake Valley, from which headquarters Young's successors still govern the people we know as the Mormons.
Although there are at least six distinct denominations which believe and practice the tenets of Mormonism, we shall confine this study to the doctrines of the last mentioned group, which is also the largest, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This material will, however, have general application to most other "Mormon" groups.
Why Examine The Claims Of Mormonism?
The answer to the above question can be best seen in the words of Orson Pratt, one of the original "apostles" of the Latter-day Saint Church. Speaking of the Book of Mormon, he wrote:
"If after a 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 have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments — by evidences adduced from scripture and reason" — Orson Pratt's Works, 1899 Ed., p.69.
Pratt further wrote:
"This book must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man, affecting both the temporal and eternal interests of every people under heaven....If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will sincerely receive it as the word of God.." — Ibid., p. 68.
We agree emphatically with both of these statements which clearly present justification — more than that, a challenge to examine and, if possible, prove false the claims of Mormonism.
We enter this examination not only with the approbation of a Mormon spokesman, but by the eminently higher authority of the Bible. On its pages we are told to:
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." — Ephesian 5:11
"Beloved, believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God, for many false prophets are gone out into the world."-1 John 4:1
Having established both Mormon and Biblical authority to pursue this study, we direct your attention to the consideration of the principal question — IS MORMONISM FALSE?
It Is False If Bible Is Complete
The doctrine of continuous revelation is the basic premise from which the entire system of Mormonism is derived. This doctrine asserts that revelation was not completed with the New Testament, but, rather, other revelations from God (such as the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price) have been and will continue to be made known to man through the years.
But, if it can be established that revelation was completed in the first century — that the Bible contains all truth, the entire structure of Mormonism is proved to be false.
Orson Pratt stated this proposition as follows:
"If it could be proven from scripture that God had revealed all that He ever intended to reveal, then a professed revelation would not require investigation; for it would be known at once, that every thing of the kind was an imposition. It would be folly in the extreme to inquire whether a professed new revelation were true or false; for if God had declared in His word that no more was to be given, all writings or books purporting to be a new revelation could not be otherwise than false" — Ibid., p. 70.
We see from these statements that all of Mormonism hinges upon whether or not the Bible is a sufficient guide in religion. This, Mormonism emphatically denies. Not only do they tell us that all truth was not revealed in the Bible, but they also say that what was revealed has been corrupted and lost. Listen to these words from the Book or Mormon:
"And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the foundation of a great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the lamb, many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away . . . . Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God . " — 1 Nephi 13:26 - 28.
Having the Mormon position clearly in mind, let us examine the Bible itself. What are its claims concerning completeness? Has it been corrupted as the Book of Mormon claims?
In John 16:13 our Saviour was speaking to His apostles when He said:
"Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL truth."
The precise nature of the truth into which the apostles were to be guided by the Spirit is limited and defined by the following scripture:
"According as his divine power hath given unto as all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" — 2 Peter 1:3.
By letting the Bible define its own terms, we see that the apostles were guided into ALL TRUTH "pertaining to life and godliness."
Notice carefully, please, that ALL truth was revealed to the apostles, containing "ALL things which pertain to life and godliness." The inclusion of the word "all" in these passages proves beyond doubt the fullness of revelation in the first century!
We might pause here to observe that since ALL truth was revealed in the first century; yet Mormonism was not revealed in the first century; therefore, Mormonism must not be any part of the truth!
But continuing our search of the scriptures, we read:
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us .. . And these things write we unto you . . ." 1 John 1:3-4.
So we see that what the apostles received (ALL truth), they declared to mankind in writing, which writings were to be viewed as the "commandments of the Lord" — I Corinthians 14:37.
These and many other passages conclusively establish the fullness of revelation in the first century and show that such revelation was also delivered to mankind.
But, remember, the Mormon position is that the gospel was indeed delivered in the first century and again delivered in 1830. The inspired writer in Jude 3 conclusively settles the matter when he states:
" . . . earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
That "the faith" is the truth revealed to the apostles and prophets is seen from Galatians 3:23. But notice that this faith was "once" delivered. This word is translated from the original Greek word HAPAX which means:
"Used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition once for all" — Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, p. 54.
You see then that "the faith," which was the "all truth" into which the apostles and prophets were guided, was "so delivered as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition"! The entire Mormon system fails under the rebuke of this passage.
But not only was the faith "once for all" delivered in the first century, it was also given the divine promise of indestructibility, whereby its continued existence would be assured:
"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, Out of incorruptible, by the word of God, which !teeth and abideth forever .... the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" — 1 Peter 1:29-25.
To contend, as do the Mormons, that much of the word was lost and corrupted, is to deny this plain passage.
The apostles and prophets of the New Testament clearly understood that their teaching would comprise the complete and final body of truth for mankind. We know this because they frequently warned against preaching anything other than their teachings. Listen:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" — Galatians 1:8.
The gospel of Mormonism is not the same as that of the New Testament, else it would not be necessary. It cannot contain more truth than the first century gospel, because the latter, remember, contains "all truth." Since the Mormon gospel is not the same and cannot contain more than the gospel of the first century, it must be another gospel, and, therefore, expressly condemned!
Yes, Mormonism is false, because the Bible is both complete and uncorrupted — a sufficient religious guide for mankind.
It Is False If It Contradicts The Bible
It is a well-known fact that Truth does not contradict Truth. That the Bible is Truth, is a fact to which our Mormon friends agree, up to a point. If all of the writings held to be inspired by Mormons are consistent with the Bible, this is a point in their favor. On the other hand, if it can be shown that the writings of Mormonism contradict the Bible, this will lead irresistibly to the conclusion that that religious system is false. Let us notice a few instances of how the Mormon writings compare with the Bible on subjects touched upon by both.
Where Was Jesus Born?
One of the most well-known and easily perceived contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible is that which deals with the place of the birth of Christ. Read the following:
BIBLE: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea .. ." Matt. 2:1.
BOOK OF MORMON: "And behold, he shall be born of Mary; at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers . . ." — Alma 7:10.
The Mormons make a futile attempt to "explain away" this obvious contradiction by observing that Bethlehem was only about six miles from Jerusalem, something of a suburb of the great city. Hence, we are told, when the Book of Mormon designates Jerusalem as the birthplace, this would include Bethlehem. Thus they contend, there is actually no contradiction between the two statements.
This explanation seems plausible until from the Bible we learn that Jerusalem was a walled city and in all of the approximately 800 references in which the city is named, not one of them includes territory beyond the walls of the city! Furthermore, in Matthew 21:17-18 we learn that Jesus "went out" of Jerusalem into Bethany. Any good map of that area will reveal that Bethany was only 11/4 or 2 miles from Jerusalem. If Bethany, only 2 miles from Jerusalem, was considered by the Holy Spirit as "out" of that city, then surely Bethlehem, three times as far from Jerusalem, could not be considered a part of the city! Even in the Book of Mormon, "Jerusalem" or "land of Jerusalem" is never used to include the surrounding cities! The contradiction, therefore, remains.
Remission Of Sins Before Christ?
BIBLE: ". . . without shedding of blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 28:28).
BOOK OF MORMON: (approximately 124 B.C.) " .. . to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, even as though he had already come among them" (Mosiah 3:13).
The contradiction here is self-evident. On the one hand the Bible declares that without shedding of blood there is no remission, not even with the shedding of animal blood, but through the blood of Christ. Until Jesus shed his blood, there obviously could be no remission of sins in fact. On the other hand the Book of Mormon affirms there was such remission of sins over 150 years before Jesus died on the cross!
When Were The Disciples First Called Christians?
BIBLE: "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" — Acts 11:28.
BOOK OF MORMON: (73 B. C.) "And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called . . ." — Alma 48:15.
Take your pick! Which will you believe? You cannot believe the Bible and at the same time believe in Mormonism!
Does The Heavenly Father Have A Body Of Flesh And Bones?
BIBLE: "God is a spirit . . . — (John 4:24) ".... a spirit hath not flesh and bones...." (Luke 24:39)
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's . . " — 130:22.
Jesus said a spirit does not have flesh and bones, and that God is a spirit. This is directly contradicted by Mormonism!
These are only a few of the many available instances of contradictions between the Bible and Mormonism. But these should be sufficient to show that Mormonism is indeed false.
It Is False If It Contradicts Itself
One of the outstanding arguments for the credibility of the Bible is its consistency — the fact that it nowhere contains contradictions. This cannot be said for Mormonism, as its writings are replete with irreconcilable contradictions, thus proving its falsity. We will present three instances for your consideration.
A Contradiction Concerning Polygamy
BOOK OF MORMON: "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord" — Jacob 2:24.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS: "David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants . . . and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me . . . and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife..."-132:38-39.
The above contradiction is so plain that it borders on the ludicrous to hear an effort to reconcile the two statements. Sometimes Mormons say that what the writer in the Book of Jacob was talking about was the "many wives and concubines" which David did not have permission from the Lord to receive. It was his "polygamy without authority," they say, which was "abominable" to God. But notice, please, in the passage in Doctrine & Covenants, It says that God gave David his wives and concubines and that the only case in which he sinned was that of Bathsheba! The contradiction remains to the chagrin of Mormon apologists.
A Contradiction Concerning The State Of The Dead The doctrine of "baptism for the dead," i.e., baptism by proxy for the salvation of the unbaptized dead, is perhaps one of the most distinctive of LDS teachings. It is enjoined upon them, among other places, in Doctrines and Covenants, Section 124. But this teaching and practice is expressly contradicted by the Book of Mormon in the following passage:
"And, in fine, woe unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins" — 2 Nephi 9:38 (see also Alma 34:32-35; 40:15).
A more glaring contradiction than this is seldom found in the writings of false religions. On the one hand Mormons teach that they can be baptized in behalf of the disobedient dead and that will save them On the other hand the Book of Mormon teaches that once people "die in their sins," they "remain" in their sins'.
A Contradiction Concerning Book Of Mormon Language
Mormons tell us that the Book of Mormon was originally written in the "reformed Egyptian" (see 1 Nephi 1:2; Mormon 9:32). Since this language was entirely unknown to any other than the "now extinct Book of Mormon peoples," we are told that a divine means of translating the plates was provided. Listen:
"But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof" — Mormon 9:34.
Keep it clearly in mind that even Joseph Smith did not claim to be able to translate the language of the alleged plates without these divine "interpreters." Now, we are told that Smith copied off some of the characters from the plates, with the translation, gave them to Martin Harris who then took the document to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia University, "a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments." We read the results of this interview in The Pearl of Great Price as follows:
"Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct." — Joseph Smith, 2:84.
Do you not see the direct contradiction? On the one hand the Book of Mormon says the language of the plates was unknown to any other people, therefore the necessity of the supernatural means of translating them, supposedly given to Smith. On the other hand, the Pearl of Great Price tells us that Professor Anthon knew the language well enough to say the translation was correct!
There are many other palpable and irreconcilable contradictions in Mormon writings. The few we have presented should be enough to prove that these writings came from man and not from God.
It Is False If Its Purposes Have Failed
The Mormons make many wondrous claims as to the exalted purposes of their religious system. We wish to consider two of those purposes in this treatise. Since it is contended that these purposes are divine, if we find that they have failed, this should be ample proof that the Mormon system is not of God, as His purposes never fail.
Mormonism Was To 'Wind Up The Scene" By 1891!
In Doctrine and Covenants 130: 14-113, Joseph Smith wrote the following:
"I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face."
Since this "revelation" from the Lord is alleged to have taken place when Joseph Smith was 27 years old, in 1832, had he lived to be 85, that would make the time when Smith was to "see the face of the Son of Man" in the last days of 1890 or sometime in 1891. While there seems to be some doubt in Joseph's mind, at this time, as to what would take place in 1891, a subsequent statement of his, made in February, 1835, clarifies the matter:
" . . . and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh — even fifty-six years should wind up the scene" — History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - Day Saints, edited by B. H. Roberts, volume II, p. 182.
Since the latter statement was made in 1835, fifty-six years from then would have been 1891! But that uneventful year has come and gone, the "scene" has certainly not been "wound up," and Jesus has not come again! Mormon missionaries are still going forth "to prune the vineyard," but this purpose was to be accomplished "for the last time" prior to 1891. Here is a purpose as well as a prophecy of Mormonism which has failed so obviously! (see Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
Mormonism Was To Restore Lost Portions Of The Gospel
Remember, in 1 Nephi 13:28-28, the Book of Mormon asserts that "many plain and precious parts" of the Bible would be removed. In this same chapter, speaking of the Book of Mormon, one of the purposes of that book is stated in these words:
"And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them . . . " — v. 40.
As we have already shown in a previous section, God gave the promise that His word could not be destroyed, but rather that it would "abide forever" (I Pet. 1:23-25). Thus, the Mormon purpose stated above is faulty in its beginning, as there is no need to restore that which was to remain, according to God's promise, uncorrupted through the years.
Furthermore, has the Book of Mormon "made known" the plain and precious things which have been taken away" from the gospel? Absolutely not! Even Mormon authorities must admit this in their inability to produce these "plain and precious things" removed (against God's promise) from the Bible. Mormon missionaries talk much about the so-called "lost books of the Bible." Yet, where are these books? Certainly not in the Book of Mormon, by the admission of Mormons themselves! If, therefore, neither the "lost books" nor the lost "plain and precious parts of the gospel" have been restored in the Mormon system, obviously another of its self-assigned purposes has failed, thereby proving its falsity!
MORMONISM — IS IT FALSE?
In this brief examination we have produced evidence that the Bible is complete and uncorrupted and thus a sufficient religious guide for mankind.
We have shown that whereas truth cannot contradict truth, the Mormon writings plainly contradict the Bible, a known and recognized source of truth.
We have further shown that there are gross contradictions in the Mormon writings themselves.
Then we examined two of the purposes of Mormonism as stated in authoritative Mormon literature and found that they have failed.
Yes, Mormonism is false. The evidence presented in this tract is but a small portion of that which is available which leads irresistibly to the same conclusion.
2424 Mc Carran North Las Vegas, Nevada