Summary: A glance at Mormonism and comparison to Christianity.
The fastest growing and most successful cult in the history of the United States, and perhaps the world, is the Mormons. Which are officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). They have been increasing at an average rate of 300,000 converts a year (as many as 75% of whom may be former protestants.
There are two major issues that Mormonism and Christianity disagree. What is authoritative revelation (Scripture) and Who (or what) is God?
I. The Beginning
a. Joseph Smith, Jr. (14 years old)
1. Two persons – whom he believed to be the Father and the Son – appearing before him.
2. He asked them which Christian denomination he should join and they told him to join none of them because they were all “wrong and corrupt.”
ii. Second Visit
1. The angel Moroni appeared at his bedside and told him of a book written on golden plates by former inhabitants, which was the fullness of the everlasting gospel.
2. Four years later Smith found the plates and started to translated them.
a. As he translated the plates he would sit behind a curtain with the plates and dictate each line to a scribe outside the curtain.
b. He did this by using a Seer Stone, to translate the plates.
c. This translation became the book of Mormons.
iii. Later revelations
a. Smith continued to receive revelation that guided him in where to go and what to do next, as well as how to establish new and different doctrines.
b. Book of Commandments, 1833
c. Doctrine and Covenants, 1835
d. Both are considered inspired Scripture alongside the Book of Mormons.
1. 1843, the Mormons were not very well liked by non-mormons due to their practices and beliefs.
a. The Nauvoo Expositor in Illinois, published stories exposing the Mormons practice of polygamy.
b. Smith, ordered his followers to destroy the newspaper and wound up in jail in Carthage, Illinois.
2. While in Jail, 200 Mormon followers attached the jail building and Joseph Smith died in the ensuing gunfight.
a. Mormon claim that is died a Christian Martyr, but he actually died fighting, using a six shooter he had smuggled in to him and killed two men.
b. Brigham Young
i. After the death of Joseph Smith, he took over the power of the Mormons
ii. Moved the group from Illinois to the valley of the Great Salt lake in 1847
iii. Government troubles
1. The Mormons continued to have trouble with the US Government over their doctrines, mostly polygamy.
2. Brigham Young being a iron fisted ruler, advocated the death penalty for any White mixing blood with a African American
3. He also taught that Jesus had been conceived through literal sexual relations between God the Father and the Virgin Mary.
c. 20th Century
i. With the 20th century starting the Mormons strived to have a better positive public image in order to gain more converts.
ii. They claimed that Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same.
iii. Many of the million converts in the Mormon church today base their definition of Christian on four standard works of Scripture.
1. Bible (Which the no longer trust)
2. Book of Mormons
3. Doctrine and Covenants
4. The Pearl of Great Price
iv. The Mormons claim the biblical canon never closed and revelation continued with Joseph Smith, as well as other presidents/prophets of the church, right up to today.
v. Mormons will not perform textual studies that consistently confirm the validity of the Bible
1. They only rely on the Book of Mormons, yet they have no manuscripts for it whatsoever.
2. According the Joseph Smith, the golden plates were taken back by the angel Moroni, so the Mormons simply rely on his “word as a prophet.”
II. Mormon Theology
a. Although Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was the most complete book on earth and that it contains the fullness of the gospel, he added 13 key Mormon doctrines in the Doctrine and Covenants, that are not found anywhere in the BOM.
i. Some of these are:
1. Plurality of gods (polytheism)
2. God as an exalted man
3. A human being’s ability to become God
4. Three degrees of heaven
6. Eternal Progression and baptism for the dead.
b. The Doctrine and Covenants also contain a number of prophecies by Smith that did not come true, which make him a false prophet, according to Duet. 18:20-22)
But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.