The Plain Truth about the Mormons
By Pastor James L. Melton
The Mormon movement began with "the prophet" Joseph Smith, Jr. in the year 1820. Joe (as he was known) was born to some rather strange parents in 1805. His mother, Lucy, was involved in occult practices and visions, while his father, Joseph, Sr., consumed much time with imaginary treasure digging (including the booty of Captain Kidd).
According to Mormon writings (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith - History 1:1-25), on a day in 1820, Joe was praying in the woods when he received a vision from God the Father and Jesus. It was revealed to Joe that the church was in apostasy and he was the chosen one to launch a new dispensation.
Being unwilling to drop his current occupation of money-digging with his father (while using "peep stones" and "divining rods"), Joe put his "calling" on hold for three years. Then, according to his own account (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith - History 1:29-54), he was paid a bedside visit by the angel Moroni in 1823. Moroni, who professed to be the glorified son of a man named Mormon (who had been dead 1400 years), told Joe about a book of golden plates which contained "the fulness of the everlasting Gospel." This book was said to have been buried at Cumorah Hill, near Palmyra, New York, some 1400 years earlier by the man named Mormon. Four years later (1827), Joe supposedly dug up the golden plates along with a gigantic pair of spectacles which he called "the Urim and Thummim." The spectacles were for translating the hieroglyphics on the plates. With the help of his only legal wife and a friend named Oliver Cowdery, Joe translated the plates and published the Book of Mormon in 1830. Later that same year, Joe, his wife, his brothers (Hyrum and Samuel), and Cowdery established the "Church of Jesus Christ," which is known today as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints."
The Book of Mormon contains many plagiarisms of the King James English (at least 25,000 words). This is strange since the plates were supposed to have been in the ground many centuries before the King James Bible was completed in 1611! The Book of Mormon also contains many errors such as claims of elephants in the Western Hemisphere and advanced metal producing capabilities in America before 400 A.D. (See Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults for a fine study in the errors of the Mormon Bible)
The Mormons, under Smith's command, turned out to be a rough bunch. Joe was a polygamist with at least twenty- seven wives (some say over 60 wives). The whole gang left New York for Ohio, and then moved to Missouri. The Missouri governor ran them out of the state, so they settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, and built the state's largest city. In 1844, Joe and Hyrum were thrown in jail. Then an angry mob stormed the jail and murdered them both. Naturally, this "martyrdom" insured the perpetual reverence of the great "prophet" Joseph Smith.
The "church" then split. The Smith family headed for Independence, Missouri and started what is now the "Recognized Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints." However, the majority of Smith's followers chose Brigham Young as their new captain.
To escape U.S. laws, Young led the Mormons from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City in 1847 (which then belonged to Mexico). For the next thirty years, Young and his "saints" laid the foundation stones of the Mormon cult.
Little known to most Mormons, Young was a rather rough and ruthless character. In 1857, he commanded Bishop John D. Lee to murder a wagon train of over one hundred helpless non-Mormon immigrants. Twenty years later Lee was convicted and executed by the U.S. Government. Young escaped punishment, and his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre has escaped the Mormon history books.
Young spent most of his "ministry" dodging the law to continue the immoral practice of polygamy. At the time of his death in 1877, Young had seventeen wives and fifty-six children.
Today the Mormon church is administrated by its "General Authorities." These authorities consist of the "First Presidency," the "Counsel of Twelve Apostles," the "First Quorum of the Seventy" and its presidency, the "Presiding Bishoprick," and the "Patriarch of the Church."
Male Mormons over twelve years of age are divided into priesthoods. The Aaronic order is the lesser priesthood, and the Melchizedek order is the higher.
The church is divided into thousands of "wards" and "stakes," with over 2000 branches and 180 missions, and over 5,000,000 members.
Mormons are very missionary-minded people, with over 26,000 active missionaries. However, much of this missionary army consists of young men and women in their early twenties who must serve two years in missionary work while supporting themselves.
The Mormon people of today are highly respected in our society, but there is nothing respectable about their doctrines. Some are as follows:
The Deity of Man Promoted
Mormons teach that man can become God, and that God was once a man:
"God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted immortal resurrected man!" (Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 322-23, 517, 643)
"...God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens..." (Journal of Discourses, V6, P3, 1844)
"As man is, God once was: as God is, man may become." (Lorenzo Snow, quoted in Milton R. Hunter, the Gospel Through the Ages, pp. 105-106)
This is plain and simple heresy. Nowhere does the Bible say or imply that God was ever a man, or that man can become God! Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the LORD, I change not..." How could this be true if God was once a man? Genesis 1:1 states that God existed "in the beginning" before man was ever created. John 4:24 states that God is a "spirit," and Jesus tells us in John 1:18 that no man has seen God at any time. Numbers 23:19 says that "God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent." God has always been God, and no one has ever "become" God.
Deity of Jesus Christ Denied
The Deity of Jesus Christ is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, yet the Mormons deny this truth. Exalting man to "god status" is apparently alright, but Jesus Christ is not acknowledged as the eternal Son of God in the Mormon church. The Mormon jesus was a preexisting spirit who was exalted, just as Mormon followers hope to be exalted someday.
God is a Trinity (I Jn. 5:7), and the second Member of that Trinity is the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says that "the Word was God," and John 1:14 tells us that "the Word was made flesh." Jesus Christ is the Word incarnate, and John 1:1 tells us that the Word was God; so Jesus Christ is God.
Jesus allowed Thomas to address Him as "My Lord and my God" in John 20:28. In Isaiah 9:6, He is called "The mighty God" and "The everlasting Father," and we read in Micah 5:2 that Jesus is "from everlasting."
Our Lord allowed people to worship him in John 10:38 and in Matthew 14:33, and since He is "God with us" (Mat. 1:23) He also has power to forgive sins (Mk. 2:5). Jesus Christ is clearly Deity, yet this doctrine is denied by the Mormons.
The Bible declares, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20) However, the Mormon Church claims that other writings, such as the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's writings are also authoritative. In fact, Joseph Smith taught his people to doubt the accuracy of the Bible: "...it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 10)
Mormon Writings Support Polygamy
"...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 he is justified; he cannot commit adultery...And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery." (Doctrines and Covenants, 132:61, 62)
Jesus Christ held a slightly different view (Mark 10:6- 9). There is no way a man can be "one flesh" with more than one woman. A man and his wife are supposed to picture Christ and his church (Ephesians 5:23-32), but this symbolism is shattered by the Mormon heresy of Polygamy.
True Church Theory
The Mormon book, The Pearl of Great Price, claims that all other Christian groups are "corrupt" and are an "abomination" in God's sight (Joseph Smith, 2:19). Such claims as this are based on the unscriptural assumption that the Lord Jesus Christ has a specific religious organization on the earth today, complete with a name, a membership, and a leadership, which makes up His "true church." This doctrine is found nowhere in God's word. Everyone who has received Christ as their Saviour is a member of His church, which is a spiritual body of born-again believers (Ephesians 4:4; 5:23-32; Colossians 1:18-24; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 19:7; 5:9-10; 21:9).
Other False Teachings
The Mormons deny the Trinity and the existence of a literal burning Hell, yet they promote polytheism (many gods), baptism for the dead, and the notion that Jesus and Satan were originally spirit brothers! Friend, make no mistake about it--Mormonism is a dangerous cult. In the eyes of man, the Mormons seem very respectable, but the light of God's word reveals the true wolves behind the sheep clothing. Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Mat. 7:15) Don't look at their nice families, their clean-cut hair, and their friendly "missionaries." LOOK AT THEIR DOCTRINES! (1st Timothy 4:1)
There is no way to cover all of the Mormon heresies in a tract this size. For further reading, we recommend our publication, The Bible Believer's Handbook of Heresies, which sheds light on many of the heresies being taught today in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Salvation through Works
Mormons believe that one's salvation is based on such good works as baptism, good deeds, missionary work, and following Mormon teachings. In The Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, justification by faith in Jesus Christ is called a "pernicious doctrine" twice and he states that it has been "an influence for evil." (pp. 107, 480) Bruce McConkie once stated at Brigham Young University that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is "improper and perilous" (Church News, March 20, 1982, p. 5)
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "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." Romans 4:5 says that salvation comes to those who do not work for salvation, but believe on Jesus Christ instead!
Jesus Christ came into this world to lay down His sinless life for YOU--to pay for your sins because you couldn't. Jesus is your only hope for salvation. Only by receiving Him as your Saviour can you enter the gates of Heaven. There is no other way. "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) "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
The Lord Jesus Christ has come and PAID for your sins by shedding His own Blood on Calvary. By receiving Him as your Saviour, you can be WASHED from all your sins in His precious Blood (Revelation 1:5; Colossians 1:14; Acts 20:28; 1st Peter 1:18-19). Notice these important words from Romans 5:8-9: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Jesus PAID your way to Heaven! Your church cannot save you! Only by receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour can you escape the damnation of Hell. Are you willing to forsake YOUR righteousness and receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your ONLY HOPE for Salvation? Romans 10:13 says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Why not pray right now and ask the Lord to come into your heart and cleanse you from all sin? He will save you just as He promised.
Copyright © 1998 James L. Melton
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