Micah Wilder, BYU Alumnus and Former LDS Missionary
This page is designed to help Mormons discover God's truth, and to help those who are trying to witness God's truth to Mormons. The following evidences are intended to show that Mormonism is not Biblical Christianity.
1. Mormons do not believe the Bible, in its current form, is reliable or trustworthy.
Mormons believe the Bible was corrupted by men shortly after it was recieved from the Apostles. They claim that somewhere between 600 and 592 B.C., a "prophet" from the Book Of Mormon, named Nephi, predicted this event.
1 Nephi 13:26 "And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of the 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." (cf 13:27-29).
FACT: The discovery of the "Dead Sea Scrolls" at Qumran (1947-1956), proved that Nephi's prophecy was wrong. The scrolls were dated at least one hundred years before Christ's birth placing them before the supposed corruption which was to take place after the time of the Twelve Apostles. When these scrolls are compared with modern Biblical texts, we find that no information has been changed or lost. This would be consistent with Christ's promise that His words would not "pass away" (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 16:17; and Luke 21:33). Additionally, there are over 40,000 pieces of manuscript evidence that point to a New Testament from antiquity that completely resembles the New Testament available to modern readers. There are no (zero) manuscripts to support the Book of Mormon.
Actually, this supposed corruption of the Bible, is the basis for the Mormon doctrine of the "Restoration." Without this corruption of the Bible, there would be no need for Joseph Smith to restore the Gospel truth, as it would never have been lost. So, according to Mormonism, a person that only uses the Bible as a source of truth is extremely handicapped.
2 Nephi 29:6 "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible."
"The Bible in it's present form is not the authentic Word of God. It cannot be depended on as the Divine guide for mankind." (Mormon Apostle James Talmage, Mormon Articles of Faith)
"I will refer to a certain meeting I attended in the town of Kirtland in my early days. At that meeting some remarks were made that have been made here today, with regard to the living oracles and with regard to the written word of God. The same principle was presented, although not as extensively as it has been here, when a leading man in the Church got up and talked upon the subject, and said: "You have got the word of God before you here in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants; you have the written word of God, and you who give revelations should give revelations according to those books, as what is written in those books is the word of God. We should confine ourselves to them." When he concluded, Brother Joseph turned to Brother Brigham Young and said, "Brother Brigham, I want you to take the stand and tell us your views with regard to the living oracles and the written word of God." Brother Brigham took the stand, and he took the Bible, and laid it down; and he took the Book Of Mormon, and he laid it down; and he took the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and laid it down before him, and he said, "When compared with the living oracles those books are nothing to me; those books do not convey the word of God direct to us now, as do the words of a Prophet or the words of a man bearing the Holy Priesthood in our day and generation. I would rather have the living oracles than all the writing in the books." That was the course he pursued. When he was through Brother Joseph said to the congregation; "Brother Brigham has told you the word of the Lord, and he as [sic] told you the truth." (President Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, October 1897, pg. 18-19)
Christians, on the other hand, believe that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Christians further teach that the Scriptures are perfect and in need of no correction or update and we are sternly warned not to add anything to the Bible, even if our motive is to help clarify (Revelation 22:18; Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32
Ultimately, Mormons must find a reason to discredit the Bible because they hold their Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in higher esteem than the Bible, yet even these books contain errors. For example, consider Alma 7:10
as it discusses the birthplace of Jesus the Messiah.
Alma 7:10 "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers..."
The fact that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem, is indisputable prophetically (OT) and historically (NT). Consequently, Alma fails the test of a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:20-22
). The Book of Mormon, then, is fallible.
In fact, the Book of Mormon first edition and the Book of Mormon of today are quite different publications with 3,913 changes in wording and 25,000 punctuation changes. Joseph Smith revised and corrected the first edition, as did other successors who followed.
In Doctrine and Covenants Section 84 we have another failed prophecy. Joseph Smith prophesied on September 22 and 23 in 1832 that there would be a new temple built on a specified lot in Missouri. The exact location of this lot is known to be in Independence, Missouri.
"Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Josep Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord." (Doctrine and Covenants 84:3-5)
Today, over 180 years later, the temple lot still stands empty.
On May 5 1870, Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, realizing that the fulfillment of this prophecy was nearing impossibility made this desperate attempt to rally the saints to hold fast to their belief in Joseph Smith.
"God promised in the year 1832 that we should, before the generation then living had passed away, return and build up the City of Zion in Jackson County; that we should return and build up the temple of the Most High where we formerly laid the corner stone. He promised us that He would manifest Himself on that temple, that the glory of God should be upon it; and not only upon the temple, but within it, even a cloud by day and a flaming fire by night. We believe in these promises as much as we believe in any promise ever uttered by the mouth of Jehovah. The Latter-day Saints just as much expect to receive a fulfilment of that promise during the generation that was in existence in 1832 as they expect that the sun will rise and set to-morrow. Why? Because God cannot lie. He will fulfil all His promises. He has spoken, it must come to pass." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 362)
Today, only a sign is posted at the temple lot.
2. Joseph Smith inserted prophecies about himself into the Bible
"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, and will suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair." -Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Liverpool 1850
It is commonly known that the Book of Mormon predicts that Joseph Smith would bring the Restoration of the Gospel.
Introduction to 2 Nephi 3--"Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision--He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer...and of the coming forth of the book of Mormon." (cf. 2 Nephi 27:9)
But since there are no ancient texts that contain these prophecies, we are simply left with the fact that in 1830 Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon that prophesied that Joseph Smith would publish the Book of Mormon. This fact has caused non-Mormon scholars to conclude that the Book of Mormon prophets were created through the imagination of Joseph Smith himself.
However, we do know for certain that Joseph Smith tried to insert prophecies about himself into the Bible itself. In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi chapter 27
contains some direct references to Joseph Smith.
"And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book...but the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book...Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein." (2 Nephi 27: 6, 9, and 12)
Incredibly, in the "Inspired Version"
or "Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible"
), one can find these exact same words where Isaiah 29 should be
"And it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book...But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book...Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from theyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it, save it be that three witnesses shall behold it by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered: and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein."
(JST, Isaiah 29:11, 14, and 17).
Predictably, none of this text is found in any other version of the Bible. It was clearly added by Joseph Smith who claimed it was part of a body of "plain" and "precious" things that were "lost" from Isaiah (1 Nephi 13:29
). But if this text was really lost after the establishment of the early church by Christ's Apostles, then why do the Dead Sea Scrolls (which predate Christ's ministry on earth) not contain this text in the Great Scroll of Isaiah?
But Isaiah is not the only book where Joseph Smith inserted himself into the Bible. Consider Genesis chapter 50
. In most of our Bibles Genesis 50
contains the death of Jacob, his burial, and finally the death of Joseph which includes just one prophetic utterance (v. 24
). However in the JST
there are twelve additional verses (vss. 24-36
). Furthermore, these additional verses depict Joseph, Jacob's son, making prophetic utterances about Joseph Smith (even using his name).
"A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins...and he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers; and he shall do whatsoever work I shall command him...And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his had shall bring my people unto salvation." (Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible, Genesis 50: 26, 28, and 33).
What kind of person would deliberately mislead people about the contents of Scripture? Why would such behavior serve to distinguish Mormonism from true Christianity? Because a church built on a foundation of deception cannot be a true church (1 Timothy 3:15).
3. Mormons do not believe in one God that is over all creation
To be sure, there may have been a time in Joseph Smith's life when he believed in one all powerful and supreme God, but as time went by he clearly abandoned such a belief. The Mormon church adopted Smith's later theology and taught that Heavenly Father not only had a father but also a mother. In fact, Mormons teach that "Heavenly Father" was once just a man who worked his way up to being a god.
"First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret...I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity...God himself the Father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did...You have got to learn to be Gods yourselves...No man can learn you more than what I have told you." -Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 613-614, 1844.
The Introduction to Doctrine and Covenants Section 132
explains that Joseph Smith received a revelation from God on July 12, 1843 which affirmed the eternity of the marriage covenant and "plurality of wives."
It goes on to say: "Celestial marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods."
In other words, Joseph Smith taught that if one was obedient to the commands contained in the Doctrine and Covenants
"Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:20)
If you wish to see Joseph Smith's evolving view of God, you can look at the Book of Moses
in the Pearl of Great Price
. There you can see that God is referred to in the singular (i.e., Moses 2:1, 3, 10, 25
). However, in the Book of Abraham
(which was supposedly revealed at a later date) God is referred to as "Gods"
(i.e., Abraham 4:3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,16,17,18,20,21,22,24,25,26,27,28,29, and 31)
"If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds." -Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 345.
"He is our Father--The Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are and is now an exalted being. How many Gods are there, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods...It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being." Mormon President Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 333.
"Then we shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still further back, and so on." Mormon Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 19)
"The Gods who dwell in the Heaven...have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid. They and the heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state...they were exalted also, from fallen men, to celestial Gods to inhabit their heaven forever and ever." Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 23.
Quotes like this are plentiful in the records which preserve the teaching of Mormon leaders. But the Bible says that there is only one God.
Isaiah 43:10b "Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me."
Isaiah 44:6 "I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me."
1 Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all."
In order to see just how desperately Joseph Smith believed in the heretical idea that God was a created being that graduated to divine nature due to perfect obedience, consider John 4:24.
In the KJV John 4:24 reads: "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Joseph Smith said that he felt that the Bible was not "translated" correctly so he did his own translation. In his translation of the Gospel of John, Smith deleted John 4:24
completely because it did not fit with his teaching that God was once a man.
4. Mormons do not believe that Jesus is the One true God
"As a church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge, is not based on ancient tradition. Our faith, our knowledge, comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley, April 2002 (General Conference)
Mormons do not like to refer to Jesus as "The One True God." Instead they refer to Him as the Son of God. In a very subtle way, this minimizes the distinction between Jesus and humanity because Mormons teach that we are all God's spirit children and Jesus merely preceded us in chronology.
In the original publication of the Book of Mormon (hereafter "BOM 1830")
Mary was called the "Mother of God,"
but in the current publication she is called the "Mother of the Son of God" (1 Nephi 11:18)
Also in the BOM 1830
Jesus is referred to as "The Eternal Father" (1 Nephi p. 25 and 32)
and "The Everlasting God" (1 Nephi p. 26).
This was all changed in the modern publication to "The Son of the Eternal Father" (1 Nephi 11:21
and "The Son of the Everlasting God" (1 Nephi 11:32).
"The First Vision confirms the fact that there are three separate Gods: God the Father- Elohim, to whom we address our prayers; Jesus the Christ- Jehovah; and the Holy Ghost- The Comforter, through whose spirit we may know the truth of all things." (Mormon Apostle James E. Faust, "The Magnificent Vision Near Palmyra," Ensign, May 1984)
But the Bible teaches that Jesus is the One true God.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joseph Smith was clearly bothered by what the Apostle John wrote in his gospel...so he changed it.
John 1:1 (JST) In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God."
Jesus is called by God’s covenant name, Yahweh, in Isaiah 6
and Zechariah 12
He is called “the first and the last”
in Revelation 22:13
He is called “the great God and our Savior”
in Titus 2:13
He is called “the Lord of Lords”
in Revelation 17:14
The Bible also teaches that He created all things, He commands nature, He forgives sin, He has authority over all things, He receives worship, and that His goings forth are from eternity past. That is why the Apostles regularly refer to Him as "God".
Romans 9:5 "Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen."
Titus 2:13 "Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."
1 John 5:20 "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
Thomas called Him God, John called Him God, Paul called Him God, Peter called Him God, the writer of Hebrews called Him God, and Jesus Himself claimed to be God. The reality of Scripture is that there is only one God in all the universe, and Scripture tells us it is Jesus.
5. Mormons do not embrace Jesus as the singular Head of the Church, or the singular provider of salvation.
"We stand in reverence before him...He stands as head of this great and mighty work which is spreading across the earth. Let not his memory be forgotten in the celebration of Christmas. God be thanked for the Prophet Joseph."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley, 2003
The bible teaches that Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph. 4:15-16 and 5:23
). Logic alone would indicate that there cannot be two heads. But the Bible is clear that Jesus is the only One through which salvation can be provided (John 14:6
and Acts 4:12
). The Bible further teaches that Jesus alone hold the keys to death and hades (Revelation 1:18
). He is the Author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10
). His blood saves us (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:12
). His resurrection is the proof of His role as Messiah (Acts 17:30-31; Romans 4:24
Despite the clear Biblical teaching, Mormon leaders consistently substitute Joseph Smith as a co-equal with Jesus or even a co-provider of salvation.
Consider the famous LDS Hymn, "Praise To The Man"
Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.
Mormons may find it strange that Christians are astounded by these words, but to the Christian they are utter blasphemy. His Glory? Endless Priesthood? Holder of Heavenly Keys? His Kingdom? Mingling with Gods? The Hero? Atonement? These phrases should only apply to Jesus, but the LDS church has allowed them to be applied to a mere man in their regular hymnody.
“If ever you enter into the kingdom of God it is because Joseph Smith let you go there. This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond, and the free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned, without Joseph Smith saying so. The man who was martyred in Carthage Jail, State of Illinois, holds the keys of life and death to this generation.” (Brigham Young, Oct. 8, 1854)
“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. …Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409)
6. Mormons do not embrace salvation by grace alone through faith alone
"You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Galatians 5:4
"Being born-again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances." (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 162)
"Through baptism and confirmation [people] are born-again and thus come back into spiritual life and through their continued obedience to the end, they shall be made partakers of the blessings of eternal life in the celestial kingdom of God." (10th President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:223)
"For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." 2 Nephi 25:23
In fact, Joseph Smith was so committed to the idea that justification is a result of a combination of man's work and God's grace, that he changed the Bible to reflect his views.
In the King James Bible (which Mormons prefer) Romans 4:16
teaches that justification is "of faith, that it might be by grace."
But in the JST, Romans 4:16
reads: "Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace."
Mormon President Spencer Kimball's biography tells of an interesting anecdote related to this doctrine. Apparently a woman in the Mormon church, Naomi W. Randall wrote a song for children to sing in 1957. It was called "I Am A Child of God". At that time the song's chorus concluded with the words--"Teach me all that I must know to live with him someday".
While visiting a stake conference, Elder Kimball (a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time) heard some children singing the song. His biography records:
"Soon after that, he commented on the song in a conversation with a member of the Primary General Board. "I love the children's song," he said, "but there is one word that bothers me. Would Sister Randall mind if the word know were changed to the word do?" Sister Randall agreed to change the song. Now the chorus ends with the words "Teach me all that I must do to live with him someday." These words reflect a principal that President Kimball emphasized throughout his ministry: "Celestial life may be had by every soul who will fulfil the requirements. To know is not enough. One must do. Righteousness is vital and ordinances are necessary." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church- Spencer W. Kimball, p. 1)
One the most revealing books ever written by a Mormon on this subject is Spencer W. Kimball's "The Miracle of Forgiveness,
" which contains some of the most atrocious teachings imaginable including:
- Mankind has the ability to perfect himself and become an omniscient and omnipotent God (p.2).
- No one can repent on a cross, nor in prison, nor in custody (p.167).
- Forgiveness is cancelled on reversion to sin (p.169).
- Discontinuance of sin must be permanent (p.176).
- Keeping God’s commandments brings forgiveness (p.201).
- Salvation by grace alone was originated by Satan (p.206).
- Only by living all of the commandments can a Mormon be sure he is forgiven (p.208).
- Personal perfection is an achievable goal (p.209).
- The time to become perfect is now, in this mortality (p.210).
- Forgiveness could take “centuries” and is granted based on a Mormon’s humility, sincerity, works, and attitudes (p.325).
- The repentance which merits forgiveness requires the transgressor to reach the point where the very desire or urge to sin is “cleared out of his life” (pp.354-355).
But the Scriptures teach salvation completely apart from works.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe." Romans 3:20-22
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness." Romans 4:5
"What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." Romans 9:30-33
"For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." Romans 10:2-4
"Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified." Galatians 2:16
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." 2 Timothy 1:8-9
"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." Titus 3:5-6
7. Mormons believe that the Word of God can change and that prophets can alter previously given revelation
"LDS doctrine is subject to sudden reversals. While other churches cling to the Bible, Mormons believe new revelations can overthrow past injunctions, including those written in scripture. “Nowhere does the Bible proclaim that all revelations from God would be gathered into a single volume to be forever closed,” the church contends." (
"Divine Revision: How Mormons Will Come To Accept Homosexuality", By William Saletan, www.slate.com, 11-12-2014)
This approach to truth (that it changes over time) could explain some of Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's strange prophecies.
"The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being about six feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style are quite general in style, or the fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally near a thousand years." (Joseph Smith, Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, Vol. 2, p. 166)
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and this prophecy was proven to be false.
"Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?... when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fathers. So it is in 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. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized". (Brigham Young, July 24, 1870, Journal of Discourses 13:271)
One of Joseph Smith's most famous revelations came on July 12, 1843 and it had to do with the subject of polygamy. Doctrine and Covenants Section 132 cites God talking about Smith by name and even records God proclaiming a curse on Smith's wife 'Emma' if she refused to accept his multiple virgin wives (D & C 132:52-54). The details of the polygamy command are set forth in verses 61-62:
"If any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61-62)
Brigham Young expressed similar views including this: "Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). He also said, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain to a glory, and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son, but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. II, p. 269, Aug. 19, 1866)
If you are wondering why Mormon's do not practice polygamy today, Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie offers this explanation:
"In the early days of this dispensation, as part of the promised restitution of all things, the Lord revealed the principle of plural marriage to the Prophet. Later the Prophet and leading brethren were commanded to enter into the practice, which they did in all virtue and purity of heart despite the consequent animosity and prejudices of worldly people. After Brigham Young led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, plural marriage was openly taught and practiced until the year 1890. At that time conditions were such that the Lord by revelation withdrew the command to continue the practice and President Wilford Woodruff issued the manifesto directing that it cease (Discourses of Wilfor Woodruff, pp. 213-218.) Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 578)
In an article published on the website "lds.org
" it is admitted that Mormon founder Joseph Smith had 40 wives including some who already had husbands. It cites "Biblical
" precedent for such behavior as being found in Doctrine and Covenants 132:34-39 and Jacob 2:30
(Both Mormon scriptures). The only truly Biblical reference given is "Genesis 16
" when Abraham disobeyed God and took Hagar for a concubine. (Plural Marriage In Kirtland and Nauvoo
[no author]; https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng). Brigham Young reportedly had 59 wives.
WORD OF WISDOM
“SALVATION AND A CUP OF TEA. You cannot neglect little things. ‘Oh, a cup of tea is such a little thing. It is so little; surely it doesn’t amount to much; surely the Lord will forgive me if I drink a cup of tea. Yes, he will forgive you, because he is going to forgive every man who repents; but, my brethren, if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?” (
Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:16).
The "Word of Wisdom" refers to a Mormon health law found in Doctrine & Covenants, Section 89
, which tells Mormons to abstain from hot drinks (interpreted as coffee and tea), tobacco, excessive amounts of meat, and alcoholic beverages. Obedience to this health law is one of the requirements to receive a temple recommend. Those who keep these sayings are promised that "the destroying angel shall pass by them" (89:18, 21).
“Some of our people quibble over the matter of tea and coffee, and say there is no mention of tea and coffee in the Word of Wisdom. I want to say to you that from the beginning of this Church, in the days of the Prophet Joseph, down to the present time, the leaders of this Church have interpreted that Word of Wisdom to include tea and coffee and all drinks that are habit-forming because of the caffeine and drugs they contain” (Mormon Apostle George F. Richards, Conference Reports, October 1938, p.56)
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, published in 1992, addressed the caffeine issue on a number of occasions. “The main chemical in coffee that has caused health concerns is caffeine, a cerebral and cardiovascular stimulant” (1:289). “Devout Latter-day Saints do not drink teas containing caffeine” (4:1441). “. . . leaders have counseled members to avoid caffeine and other addictive chemicals” (4:1585).
Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe called caffeine a ‘vegetable poison.’
He states, “Without going into further details, it is readily seen that the teachings of Joseph Smith, in 1833, in relation to the value of tea and coffee in human drinks, harmonizes with the knowledge of today. Moreover, he was in advance, in the certainty of his expressions, of the scientists of his day. It is true that caffeine had been found in coffee and tea a few years before the revelation of 1833, but the physiological action of the drug was not known until many years afterwards.” (Joseph Smith As Scientist, 96).
Clearly the LDS position has evolved over time from "no hot drinks"
to "no caffeine"
. However, things have recently changed again. Caffeine in soda drinks is now widely condoned in Mormon circles. Why? LDS.org explains--"Caffeine is not specifically mentioned [in the "Word of Wisdom"] as the reason not to drink these drinks."
BLACKS AND THE PRIESTHOOD
“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.”
(Brigham Young, March 8, 1863: a conference talk in the Tabernacle, Journal of Discourses 10:110).
Another well known area of evolving truth in the Mormon church is ban that prevented members of African heritage from holding either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood. This guiding principle was in effect until 1978 when it was rescinded “by revelation”
under 12th LDS President Spencer W. Kimball.
But this change stands in stark contrast to the position of many previous Mormon authorities.
“Why are so many of the inhabitants of the earth cursed with a sin of blackness? It comes in consequence of their fathers rejecting the power of the Holy Priesthood, and the law of God. They will go down to death.” (Brigham Young, August 19, 1866, Journal of Discourses 11:272).
“That the negro race, for instance, have been placed under restrictions because of their attitude in the world of spirits, few will doubt. It cannot be looked upon as just that they should be deprived of the power of the Priesthood without it being a punishment for some act, or acts, performed before they were born. Yet, like all other spirits who come into this world, they come innocent before God so far as mortal existence is concerned, and here, under certain restrictions, they may work out their second estate. If they prove faithful in this estate, without doubt, our Eternal Father, who is just and true, will reward them accordingly and there will be in store for them some blessings of exaltation” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way To Perfection, p.43).
“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:61. Italics in original).
“NO NEUTRALS IN HEAVEN. There were no neutrals in the war in heaven. All took sides either with Christ or with Satan. Every man had his agency there, and men receive rewards here based upon their actions there, just as they will receive rewards hereafter for deeds done in the body. The Negro, evidently, is receiving the reward he merits” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:65-66. Italics in original).
“There is no truth more plainly taught in the Gospel than that our condition in the next world will depend upon the kind of lives we live here. ‘All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.’ (John 5:28-29.) Is it not just as reasonable to suppose that the conditions in which we now live have been determined by the kind of lives we lived in the pre-existent world of spirits? That the apostles understood this principle is indicated by their question to the Master when the man who was blind from his birth was healed of his blindness, ‘Master, who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?’ (John 9:2.) Now perhaps you will have a partial answer to some of your questions as to why, if God is a just Father, that some of his children are born of an enlightened race and in a time when the Gospel is upon the earth, while others are born of a heathen parentage in a benighted, backward country; and still others are born to parents who have the mark of a black skin with which the seed of Cain were cursed and whose descendants were to be denied the rights of the priesthood of God” (Harold B. Lee, Decisions for Successful Living, pp.164-165).
“Why is it in this Church we do not grant the priesthood to the Negroes? It is alleged that the Prophet Joseph said--and I have no reason to dispute it--that it is because of some act committed by them before they came into this life. It is alleged that they were neutral, standing neither for Christ nor the devil. But, I am convinced it is because of some things they did before they came into this life that they have been denied the privilege. The races of today are very largely reaping the consequences of a previous life” (Sermons and Missionary Service of [Apostle] Melvin J. Ballard, p.248).
“The reason that spirits are born into Negro bodies is because those spirits rejected the priesthood of God in the Pre-existence. This is the reason why you have Negroes on the earth. …All of this is according to a well worked-out plan, that these millions and billions of spirits awaiting birth in the pre-existence would be born through a channel or race of people. Consequently, the cursed were to be born through Ham. . . . This is why you have colored people, why you have dark people and why you have white people” (Alvin R. Dyer (at the time was an Assistant to the Twelve, later to be 1st Presidency under McKay), “For What Purpose?” March 18, 1961. From Typed Manuscript at LDS Archives).
“The Negro race have been forbidden the priesthood, and the higher temple blessings, presumably because of their not having been valiant while in the spirit. It does not pay to be anything but valiant” (Apostle George F. Richards, Conference Reports, October 1947, p.57).
“We cannot escape the conclusion that because of performance in the pre-existence some of us are born as Chinese, some as Japanese, some as Indians, some as Negroes, some as Americans, some as Latter-day Saints. These are rewards and punishments, fully in harmony with His established policy in dealing with sinners and saints, rewarding all according to their deeds” (Mark E. Petersen, “Race Problems – as they affect the church,” August 27, 1954, p.11).
The First Presidency (George Albert Smith, David O. McCay, and J. Reuben Clark, Jr.) wrote the following in a letter addressed to Mormon Professor, Lowry Nelson, (Agricultural College of Utah in Logan) on July 17, 1947.
"FROM THE DAYS OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH EVEN UNTIL NOW, IT HAS BEEN THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, NEVER QUESTIONED BY ANY OF THE CHURCH LEADERS, THAT THE NEGROES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO THE FULL BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL.
Furthermore, your ideas, as we understand them, appear to contemplate the intermarriage of the Negro and White races, a concept which has heretofore been most repugnant to most normal-minded people from the ancient patriarchs till now. God's rule for Israel, His Chosen People, has been endogamous [meaning 'marriage within a specific tribe or similar social unit']. Modern Israel has been similarly directed. We are not unmindful of the fact that there is a growing tendency, particularly among some educators, as it manifests itself in this are, toward the breaking down of race barriers in the matter of intermarriage between Whites and Blacks, but it does not have the sanction of the Church and is contrary to Church doctrine.
George Albert Smith
J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
David O. McKay"
However the current politically correct climate has necessitated yet another change in Mormon doctrine. The LDS Church now states--"The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form. For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding."
8. Mormons teach that they are the only true church
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely indispensable to our salvation. No supposed personal relationship with Jesus, no commitment to the gospel, no high level of Christian conduct in society can compensate for what is to be found in the Church" (Robert Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1997], 140).
According to their own Scriptures and Prophets, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C] 1:30 and 115:4); all other churches (Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists are specifically mentioned in Joseph Smith, History 1:9, Pearl of Great Price) are "wrong," "all their creeds were an abomination," and "those professors were all corrupt" (Joseph Smith, History 1:19). Those of creedal or traditional Christianity have adopted "pagan beliefs" and are part of "false Christianity" (Gospel Principles, 100 [1979 edition]). One either belongs to "the church of the Lamb of God" or to "the church of the devil" (1 Nephi 14:10) . Joseph Smith taught that everybody but faithful Mormons will be damned (History of the Church 3:28).
When Joseph Smith was asked--"Will all be damned but Mormons?" He replied, "Yes." (The Teachings Of The Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 119) He said that God told him: "I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personnage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight, that those professors were all corrupt." (Joseph Smith, History 1:19)
"When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was groveling in darkness...The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73 and 8:171)
"The only persons among all nations, kindreds, tongues and people who have authority from Jesus Christ to administer any Gospel ordinance are those called and authorized among the Latter-Day saints." (Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 255)
Consider this quote from Mormon Apostle (1972-1985) Bruce McConkie--"In the true gospel sense, any opinion or doctrine in opposition to the revealed word of the Lord as recorded in the standard works of the Church and as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an heresy. The issue is not how many people believe a teaching; it is whether the doctrine is true or false. (2 Pet. 2:1.) The whole Christian world, in the days of the Prophet, believed falsely that God was a mystical spirit essence that filled the immensity of space and was everywhere and nowhere in particular present--all of which proved only that they were all heretics, that the apostasy was universal. Heresy is false doctrine...There is no salvation in a false doctrine." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 352)
But the Bible teaches that the one true Church is the universal Body of Christ in heaven and on earth made up of all those true believers irregardless of specific denomination or local church body. Unity in this body does not demand complete uniformity in its various manifestations. The Church's unity is in Christ, who is the vine. People in various denominations who are committed to the Vine are the branches; no one particular manifestation of the Church is the vine (Matthew 16:18; John 15:5; Acts 15:35-41; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 12:13ff.; and Ephesians 4:1-13).