Why the LDS Church is True
(According to an e-mail I received)
While I receive many e-mails for the ministry, one that caught my attention the most came from a Mormon a while back by the name of Shane. In his 15 page defense of the Church, a common theme ran throughout which has prompted this reply. I still use this e-mail as a response to other Mormons who write in with the exact copy & paste reasons the Church is true.
This Mormon took it upon himself to copy and paste a large section from the LDS website to let us know why the Church is true.
As the Christian will see, the reasoning he employs is lacking in spiritual maturity by using their (the LDS) defense. His spiritual condition doesn’t promote ridicule on our part, but once again begs for empathy from those of us who’ve walked the same path. It saddens me he can’t or won’t stop long enough to compile his own reasons for trusting the LDS Church. Instead it’s a copy and paste world in the minds of many Mormons. The way he responded also reminds me of a common response we see with many Mormons.
For instance, when asked where the proof is that someone like Nephi existed they’ll ask what proof there is the apostles existed. Instead of answering the question with definitive answer about Nephi, they attack the Bible.
Walter Martin said “they’ve been trained to attack you to take the attention away from their guilt and this is a result from having one lie after another piled upon their heart that they’ve decided to accept.
Because of the length of this e-mail exchange I’ve cut this into sections. I’ll be posting part 2 tomorrow!
You’ll find Shane’s original e-mail in red with my response in black. For those of us who are sticklers on typos and grammar I must warn you. I have not corrected any spelling, grammar or punctuation on the part of the Mormon. I have changed the format of his text by inserting my answers in order to make the flow of this exchange easier to read, so here we go!
FACTS WHY THE LDS CHURCH IS GODS TRUE CHURCH
1. When Joseph Smith was 8 years old he received a surgery on his leg which saved his leg and his life, and the surgery was performed many years ahead of its time by the only doctor in the country who could perform it! Years later this same procedure was performed on Soldiers fighting in the civil war which had never been done before.
Okay…so how does this prove the Church is true? I’ve had five major surgeries in my lifetime, but that doesn’t prove anything theologically.
2. Joseph Smith was only a boy of the age of 14 years when he received the First Vision. It wasn’t just a coincidence that he found the scripture James 1:5 and was told to ask God what church was the one that God wanted him to be a part of! (James 1:5- If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.)
Using just one verse in the Bible to build a doctrine, (or in this case an entire church), is a hallmark indication of a cult. I don’t see how this one verse proves the God of the Bible called Smith into a grove of trees to pray.
Don’t be fooled my friends! James 2:19 says even the demons know and believe and if you don’t think Satan knows how to misuse the Bible, explain how he quoted Psalm 91 when tempting Jesus to bow down and worship him alone. (Matthew 4:1-11)
There are many examples in the Bible of how Satan can perform miracles in addition to using scripture to twist things around. If he (Satan) would be so bold as to come after Jesus Himself don’t think for a minute he wouldn’t dare mess with you or Joseph Smith for that matter.
Also – which version of his first vision would you be speaking of? There are nine of them.
3. The Book of Mormon was translated not written by Joseph Smith who had no schooling or much understanding of English writing.
Smith may not have had much schooling, but he had access to people who did. Let’s begin with Oliver Cowdery, one of the three original witnesses to the Book of Mormon. From Wikipedia, it says the following about Oliver Cowdery and his Pastor Ethan Smith (no relation to Joseph):
“Smith lived in Poultney, Vermont, the same town as Oliver Cowdery, who later acted as Joseph Smith’s scribe for the Book of Mormon. Ethan Smith also pastored the Congregational church that Cowdery’s family attended from 1821 to 1826 while he was writing View of the Hebrews.”
As we all know, the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 1830.
Perhaps no other book has been denounced so vigorously by those who have never read it as has the Book of Mormon. (Boyd K. Packer of the 12 Apostles)
Might I suggest the Bible?
Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief.
What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.
(Austin Farrer on C. S. Lewis.)
What is it about Farrer that interests you Shane? And why is it members of the LDS Church revere C.S. Lewis so?
What does this quote mean to you personally?
A simple Google search will give the reader enough information about Farrer to see that he was a theologian and a serious contemplator of the Bible, in addition to being good friends with Lewis.
Shane, why are you using Christian arguments when the LDS Church vigorously claims the body of Christ is the “whore of Babylon (1 Nephi 14:10)?
The Logical Argument
1. The Book of Mormon contains a detailed history of previously unknown nations and cultures.
This is not truth. It does not provide a detailed history of who the people were or their culture, where they were, where exactly they “sailed to” or any explicit details of other people groups here in the Americas. The evidence in the Book of Mormon suggests a much generalized account of all these things.
When making a statement like this a map is needed for proof, yet the LDS Church is unable to provide anything of the sort.
2. The Book of Mormon is a long epic volume that contains 522 pages with over 150 words per page and over 300,000 words from start to finish. It contains 239 chapters, and includes 54 chapters dealing with wars, 21 historical chapters, 55 chapters on visions and prophecies, and the visions and prophecies agree meticulously with the Bible. 71 chapters are on doctrine and exhortation, and here too, every statement is consistent with the scriptures.
The Book of Mormon is indeed a “long epic”. Did you know the phrase “and it came to pass” appears 1,384 times in 1,341 verses? With 6,604 verses being in the Book of Mormon that means twenty percent of the Book of Mormon says “And it came to pass”.
However, the number of pages, chapters and verses are not proof of authenticity. This is merely statistical information about the work itself.
Moreover, the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible in numerous places. I’ve only listed a couple for comparison, but when you see the all of the countless discrepancies, the lack of compatibility is devastating. Compare:
Did God Confound All Languages At Babel?
Genesis 11:9; “Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of ALL the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”
Ether 1:35; “And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion upon Jared; therefore he did not confound the language of Jared; and Jared and his brother were not confounded.”
Did Melchizedek Have Family?
Heb. 7:1, 3; “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 3 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.”
Alma 13:18; “But Melchizedek having exercised mighty faith, and received the office of the high priesthood according to the holy order of God, did preach repentance unto his people…and he did reign under his father.”
21 chapters are on the ministry of Jesus Christ, and everything He said and did and every testimony given about Him agrees absolutely with the New Testament.
Fact: The Book of Mormon does not contain everything Jesus did or said. What it does contain are snippets of things He said already found in the Bible or made up stories of what He supposedly said to the “Nephites”. There is no proof.
Fact: You haven’t specifically listed any one person’s testimony from the Book of Mormon about Jesus Christ that “absolutely” agrees with the New Testament.
Fact: The Book of Mormon contradicts LDS as well as biblical theology throughout. For example just take a look at the book of Jacob 2:24, 27 stating God’s dislike for polygamy;
“Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. 27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none.”
Compare this with what it says in D&C 132:39;
“David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife…”
Now compare LDS doctrine with what the Bible says about righteous men like Noah and Job who had only one wife each.
Another contradiction is found in 2 Nephi 25:23 which completely contradicts itself as well as plagiarizes Ephesians 2:8-9.
3. 21 year old farmboys, with minimal education, cannot write detailed books that contain all the above information.
The statement above may or may not be true. My personal opinion after studying the Book of Mormon for almost five decades; I don’t believe it is an independent work of Mr. Smith. It’s obvious he had help from a number of sources other than Satan himself.
I believe evidence shows he copied from the Bible, Shakespeare, and perhaps Solomon Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found”, not to mention Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews”, George Washington, the Apocrypha and the Masonic Lodge. Local maps in the general area of Smith’s home also prove to be a possible source. For example: the Lehigh Valley located in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.
Interestingly enough, even the beloved LDS historian B.H. Roberts, a staunch disciple of Mormonism, believed the Book of Mormon to be a fictitious work. This is what he said about the authorship of the Book of Mormon;
“…There were other Anti-Christs among the Nephites, but they were more military leaders than religious innovators… they are all of one breed and brand; so nearly alike that one mind is the author of them, and that a young and underdeveloped, but piously inclined mind. The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are a product of history, that they came upon the scene separated by long periods of time, and among a race which was the ancestral race of the red man of America.” – Studies of the Book of Mormon, p. 271.
4. Joseph Smith was a 21 year old farmboy.
Yep, that he was.
5. Therefore, Joseph Smith could NOT have written the Book of Mormon.
I agree to a point, additionally, there is sufficient evidence showing the Book of Mormon to be a fictitious account of his own imagination.
Proof of Miracles
1. Joseph Smith could not translate the Book of Mormon on his own.
2. Divine intervention was necessary to translate the records.
3. Miracles are the effects of Divine intervention.
4. Therefore, because the Book of Mormon is the result of Divine intervention, the Book of Mormon is a miracle.
This is circular reasoning with no proof of anything. Just because you personally say that divine intervention was necessary doesn’t make it so.
Proof of Divine Intervention
1. Miracles are the effects of Divine intervention.
Not always true. The Bible says this in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11;
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”
2. Miracles exist.
True, they do exist.
3. Therefore, Divine intervention exists.
Proof of God
1. Divine intervention exists.
2. Divine intervention is caused by a superior transcendent being.
3. A superior transcendent being is a God.
4. Therefore, God exists.
None of the statements you’ve made here make theological sense. And with all due respect Shane, for those of us who are true believers, there is no other superior, transcendent god but the One and Only True God of the Bible.
The Book of Mormon Proves the Existence of God
That’s an incredible claim. How does it prove God exists? Where in the text does it do this?
God proves to His creation that He exists through things like nature which He alone created and the Law that He wrote on each person’s heart – Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19-20, 2:14-15. Does the Book of Mormon back any of those things up with any clarity?
Can you prove the original text from the Book of Mormon exists? Where is it?
Did you know that atheists and Mormons have something in common?
They both believe that God could not have created immaterial matter. They both believe that immaterial matter has always existed. I find that to be very telling.
1. The Book of Mormon exists, and is authentic.
The Book of Mormon does exist, but is proven NOT authentic; subsequently, the message therein is to be treated as a human work not of God.
There are plagiarisms, poor examples of the English language, incorrect timelines, exaggerations, contradictions, redundancy of phrases (“and it came to pass”) and last but not least, outright lies.
2. The Book of Mormon proves that miracles exist.
3. The Book of Mormon proves that divine intervention exists.
4. Therefore, the existence and authenticity of the Book of Mormon proves the existence of God.
If Joseph Smith’s account of the Book of Mormon is authentic, then so is he. Therefore, Joseph Smith is a prophet, God exists, Jesus is the Christ, The Church is true, and all else that goes along with the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
I know that when I was a Mormon it hurt my heart to see and hear the truth Shane, but every Mormon deserves to know the truth. The Book of Mormon has proven itself to be a fraud, along with its “author” Joseph Smith.
Regarding Joseph Smith being a true prophet may I suggest you read an article on our site about Smith?
The link below will give you 77 descriptions of Joseph Smith. These quotes are examples of what he said about himself and what other LDS leaders have said about him. See for yourself if these statements are biblically sound along with being humble.
As Christians we need to test documents such as the Bible or the Book of Mormon to determine their authenticity and truthfulness of its message.
There is a three part series written by a friend of mine worth checking out on how to test everything called scripture, whether it’s the Bible, Book of Mormon, Quran, etc. Here’s the link to part 1;
4. The Plates, the Translation, and the Witnesses For a brief period in the late 1820s, the Prophet Joseph Smith did indeed possess the gold plates. That is among the most securely established facts in Latter-day Saint history.
This is not truth. The only plates we can prove he had were dinner plates. There isn’t a shred of evidence to prove the brass or golden plates existed.
In addition to Joseph Smith, official witnesses and several unofficial witnesses testified to the existence of the plates and, in some cases, to dramatic supernatural confirmation of their truth. Meticulous research on these witnesses has confirmed their good character and the veracity of their accounts.
Since we can’t see or hold any physical evidence from the Book of Mormon let’s take a look at those witnesses to determine their credibility shall we? A good standard to follow can be found in the Bible as it provides a great example of character witnesses in the twelve apostles!
A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6:137-138 tells us the original 3 witnesses never held or saw the plates or transcripts in person. The witnesses were comprised of Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, in addition to Joseph Smith.
Instead, a heavenly messenger revealed the plates to them through a revelation and/or vision while praying out in the woods near Mr. Whitmer’s home.
In fact the four gentlemen had been praying for awhile and still hadn’t received any word from God while asking Him to show them the plates. After some time had passed Martin Harris decided he was the reason God had not revealed anything to them so he got up to pray in a different area.
After another period of time had elapsed, the group of three reports to have received a vision of the plates. Afterwards Joseph got up and went over to Harris to see if God had appeared to him as well.
Harris replied he hadn’t and begged Joseph to pray God would reveal these things to him as well so Joseph acquiesced and they both received a vision of the engravings.
Interestingly enough Comprehensive HC 6:88-89 admits that Joseph Smith is actually a psychic. Their words, not mine! This tidbit of information should seriously be taken into account when determining the reliability of their accounts.
Most of the witnesses (the 11 who are listed in the front of the Book of Mormon) are related to each other. Example; Oliver Cowdery was married to the sister of the Whitmer brothers. In the legal world this is unacceptable. Every state has different rules in Notary Laws but none of them are allowed to notarize papers for blood relatives. Additionally, there is no date stamped on the witness’s page which invalidates their testimony.
Why were 8 more witnesses added to the front page of the Book of Mormon when 2 Nephi 27:12 clearly states only three men would witness the plates?
The first 3 witnesses actually left the Church and were excommunicated. While two did come back to the Church their mental stability must be taken into account.
For instance, the very superstitious Martin Harris belonged to more than thirteen denominations throughout his life. The Cambellites in Pennsylvania being one of them. Before he became a Mormon he belonged to at least five denominations and after his excommunication from the LDS Church he joined another eight. (“Martin Harris: Mormonism’s Early Convert,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (Winter 1986):30-34.)
David Whitmer left the Church denying his testimony to the very end of his life even though he had rejoined the Church. Additionally, he also said this in his book “An Address to All Believers in Christ, pgs 27-28;
“If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to “separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, should it be done unto them.”
Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated from the Church on Friday, April 12, 1838 by a church court along with the Whitmers (his brothers-in-law), Hiram Page and William Phelps. (Far West Records for the LDS Church for April 3, 1838)
Brigham Young said this about the witnesses;
“Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates and conversed with the angels of God, were afterwards left to doubt and to disbelieve that they had ever seen an angel. One of the Quorum of twelve—a young man full of faith and good works, prayed, and the vision of his mind was opened, and the angel of God came and laid the plates before him, and he saw and handled them, and saw the angel, and conversed with him as he would with one of his friends; but after all this, he was left to doubt, and plunged into apostacy, [sic] and has continue to contend against this work. There are hundreds in a similar condition.” – Journal of Discourses 7:164
Young’s claims here are in direct opposition to what History of the Church claims. Why is that?
Then there are the two different accounts from Joseph Smith when an angel visited him in the middle of the night;
1 – “The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi. That God had a work for me to do, and that my name should be had for good and evil…” – Times and Seasons, Vol. 3 (November 1841 – October 1842:pg. 753.
2 – “Moroni’s Message. When first I looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil…” – History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1:11-12.
So exactly who visited Smith that night? Was it Nephi or Moroni?
Additional testimonies from others in the Church at the time of the writing of the Book of Mormon:
“I did not see them [the plates] uncovered, but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in a tow frock and judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds…. Father and my brother Samuel saw them as I did while in the frock. So did Hyrum and others of the family.’ When the interviewer asked if he didn’t want to remove the cloth and see the bare plates, William replied, ‘No, for father had just asked if he might not be permitted to do so, and Joseph, putting his hand on them said; ‘No, I am instructed not to show them to any one. If I do, I will transgress and lose them again.’ Besides, we did not care to have him break the commandment and suffer as he did before.” – William Smith, Joseph’s brother, Zion’s Ensign, January 13, 1894, p. 6.
Emma Smith said that she never saw the plates. She merely picked them up and moved them around with a piece of cloth that covered them at all times. You can read her account in her own words from Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” The Saints’ Herald, Oct. 1, 1879, 290.
Now can you just imagine any of the apostles doing anything like the incidents mentioned above? How credible would their testimonies be? The NT wouldn’t have made it out of the first century!
What is more, although the Prophet’s critics found his claim of angelic visits and gold plates ridiculous, we now know that the writing of religious texts on metal plates (sometimes on gold), was an authentic ancient practice. Indeed, the ancient practice now is known to have occurred at precisely the era and place from which Book of Mormon peoples came. In fact, with the Copper Scroll and other materials from the Dead Sea, we have an almost exact parallel: like the ancient Nephite plates, these materials were sealed up in a hillside just prior to military disaster, to preserve them for a future time.
So where are they? The Church cannot produce even one whole or partial plate for proof. There is a ton of evidence proving the Bible to be an accurate historical document.
As you mentioned, we have seen copper plates and papyri giving further historical proof of the Bible, so where is anything at all providing historical proof for the Book of Mormon?
The Book of Mormon claims to have been written in “reformed Egyptian”
(Morm. 9:32). Most who have studied the subject conclude that this signifies writing the Hebrew language in modified Egyptian characters.
And if the Bible isn’t enough evidence to prove the LDS Church is wrong, here’s what BYU Professor Dee F. Green had to say about the Book of Mormon and archaeology;
“The first myth we need to eliminate is that the Book of Mormon archaeology exists…If one is to study the Book of Mormon archaeology, then one must have a corpus of data with which to deal with. We do not…no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful (nor any location for that matter) were and are…a concentration on geography would be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty handed.”
Dialogue, op. cit. Summer 1969, pp. 77-78. Mormon Archaeologist Professor Dee. F. Green.
In recent years, we have learned that several ancient documents were written in precisely that fashion.
Give even one credible name of any archaeologist or linguist who can or will verify this claim publicly that is not LDS. Use objective, not subjective proof. Where is the proof that anyone outside of Mormonism will say plates were made by people in South America and that these are the plates the Nephites wrote upon.
Sadly, the only time you will hear the phrase “Reformed Egyptian” is when a Mormon is involved.
You will see in the Bible where God actually addresses the problem of mixing languages. God demanded total devotion from His Chosen people, the Israelites and His prophet Nehemiah was there to remind them that they were acting in disobedience to God. Even after the Babylonian takeover they still didn’t “get it” and their behavior of intermarriage between them and other tribes was proof. They ridiculed Nehemiah even after he led them back into Jerusalem in 445 BC. They continued to go after other gods… They spoke half in the mother’s tongues and half in the tongue of the people around them and God was neither impressed nor amused. In Nehemiah 13:24-26 it says;
“And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. 25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.”
The title page of the Book of Mormon declares that it was to come forth “by the gift and power of God.” Recent evidence and scholarship indicates that this is exactly what would have had to happen.
Again Shane – exactly what evidence are you talking about?
Name one piece of evidence. Where was it found and where is it now? What is it? Who found it? When was it found and when was it written, carved or built? And finally, how does the evidence prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon?
In addition, the evidence indicates that the translation and dictation of the book were accomplished in roughly 63 working days-a torrid pace that, with neither rewrites nor corrections, produced nearly 8.5 pages (of our current English edition) daily.
On the contrary there have been roughly 4,000 changes made to the Book of Mormon since its inception and these are not merely punctuation changes, but grammatical.
1 Corinthians 14:33;
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
In addition to all that are you aware the title page for the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon said this;
“Joseph Smith, Jr. The author and proprietor of this work.”
The 1837, 1888, 1920, 1964 and 1978 editions said this on the title page:
“Joseph Smith, Jr. the translator of this work.”
A really cool thing I learned when I left the Church is about the job of a biblical scribe before printing presses and the like. There are three links below describing the meticulous methods scribes went through. Take the time to check them out! Think about this;
If the Jews were so meticulous about keeping the scrolls intact, then why did they abruptly stop using the same techniques in their new homeland when they came over here with Lehi?
Further, there is no evidence at all that Joseph Smith did any scholarly research, or even that he read very much, before the Book of Mormon appeared.
That much is painfully obvious.
Have you ever read the book of Jeremiah? There is an important lesson to be learned in Jeremiah 36:20-32. King Jehoiakim had decided he didn’t like God’s written word so he went about trying to destroy it.
I believe it was Matthew Henry who said “Those who hate it always seem to do things like this in life” …they either try to destroy or discredit God’s very words.
The king tried to cut it up and burn it thinking that would take care of God, but he was sorely mistaken.
Now some 2,400 years later we have the story of Joseph Smith tricking people into trusting “…the Bible as far as it is translated correctly”…Yet God is still sovereign as there are 168,000 Bibles distributed each day in the United States alone.
If you want further proof of how other LDS leaders have tried to degrade the Bible check this out;
Answers to Gospel Questions 2:161, written by the tenth president of the LDS Church;
“No Bible student today believes that the Bible has come down to us in its perfect and original appearance in the manuscripts. Scribes left out words and phrases, just as we do at times in typing, missing one whole line and thus changing the meaning. Moreover, the scribes added or interpreted according to their own opinions at times. These things are quite generally understood. Therefore we find errors and contradictions in the Bible.” – Joseph Fielding Smith
If the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the Gospel as it says in D&C 27:5 & 135:3, then why doesn’t it teach the following LDS teachings? Keep in mind these are only a handful of examples.
Man may become a god – Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs. 136-137; Gospel Through the Ages, pgs.105-106.
Mormon godhead is three separate gods. – HC 6:474, June 16, 1844.
Eternal progression. – Distinct Doctrines and Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price, pg. 76; Gospel Through the Ages, pgs.114-115.
Salvation after death. – Are Mormons Christians? pg. 19; D&C 128:15.
God was once a man. – HC 6:305.
In fact, he may not even have owned a Bible at the time of translation.
Actually there is proof to the contrary. A revelation Smith received at Harmony in Feb. 1829 tells us he indeed had a Bible. This revelation can be found in D&C 4 where Smith used many phrases and partial sentences taken from the KJV Bible. A good reference for this example can be found at Mormon Central –
When you get there, scroll down to #5.
As a brief side note here, you should spend a good amount of time on this guy’s website if you like to study Mormon history. Michael Marquardt is a very well spoken and trust-worthy historian.
Joseph Smith had spent the bulk of his time as a youth cutting trees, burning brush, clearing rocks, and plowing. He had received at most a few months of formal schooling. His mother later recalled that, even into his late teens, “he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any of the rest of our children.”
And why would you believe the works of the Book of Mormon are true now that you’ve been given the truth about the process of Biblical copying by the scribes?
Smith’s mother also stated that he had a wild imagination. From the website of the LDS Institute it says;
“During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them. (History of Joseph Smith, 83).”
An interesting clue is found in History of Joseph Smith by his mother. Right after she said the things she did above, it says this;
“On the twenty-second of September, 1824, Joseph again visited the place where he found the plates the year previous; and supposing at this time that the only thing required, in order to possess them until the time for their translation, was to be able to keep the commandments of God…” History of Joseph Smith by his mother, pg. 83.
Question: How did he know the specifics of these people in the Book of Mormon if he hadn’t received the plates yet?
Remember Smith met Oliver Cowdery in April 1829 and that’s when they began the “translation”.
His wife Emma reports that, in the late 1820s, Joseph “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon. … The larger part of this labor [of translation] was done [in] my presence and where I could see and know what was being done. … During no part of it did Joseph Smith have any [manuscripts] or book of any kind from which to read or dictate except the metalic [sic] plates which I knew he had.” “If,” she said, “he had had anything of the kind he could not have concealed it from me.”
And, she added, writing to her son: “I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.”
In Emma Smith’s final interview, conducted by her own son, it also says that Joseph was never with another woman and did not practice polygamy!!! Hello! My point to bringing up this part of the interview should be obvious. Her entire “testimony” needs to be disregarded. If she couldn’t tell the truth about polygamy then how in the world can we accept anything else she said?
The information you’ve provided in the section above is excerpts from the same interview – “Last Testimony of Sister Emma”, The Saints Herald, Vol. 26, No. 19, October 1, 1879, pg. 289. You can read the entire interview here.
5. Natives in Mesoamerica
No one in the 1800′s knew the culture of the natives who lived in Mesoamerica (Where most church leaders believe the Book of Mormon took place). So how could a man so unlearned describe so perfectly the peoples communities and how their buildings and their outside walls were constructed, without Joseph Smith being inspired? Even if he did have help from others in his community to write such a great book, it would be impossible for even them to have known such things!!! No one had traveled that far in those days to have seen it!!! (Google Mesoamerica and compare the descriptions of the cities with the writings in the Book of Mormon.)
I’ve done exactly that and so from various sites on Google let’s first let’s look at your last claim…
As early as 1519 an explorer by the name of Hernan Cortez conquered Mexico and then in 1532 Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas. By 1530 the Conquistadors were building churches. I know you must have learned about this in your secondary school years.
This alone is proof that your claims are false.
Secondly, I would invite you to read about the cultures and artifact claims in the Book of Mormon in an article on our site here.
And by the way, the idea Mesoamerica was unexplored is one of the main precepts from View of the Hebrews in Ethan Smith’s work which was first published in 1823. It held to a popular nineteenth century belief that Indians must have been one of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Sound familiar?
And last but not least…if the people in the Book of Mormon were in Mesoamerica does this mean they were the people performing human sacrifices (sometimes virgins) in their “holy” temples?
The Mormons like to lay claim to the Mayan, Incan and Aztecan archaeological sites so which one of these temples were Moroni or Nephi a part of?
Were the civilizations from the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica or in upstate New York where the plates were supposedly found? Why the discrepancy?
While I made the promise I wouldn’t change anything in the text of the e-mail from the Mormon I have to tell everyone that I have made changes to the rest of this e-mail. The original text contained pictures that I have cut. In fact a good portion of the remainder of this note from Shane has been copied and pasted from the official website of the Mormon Church @ www.lds.org
6. The Apostasy
When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy. One example is the Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church.
Where is your proof no one was following the Lord and being obedient to Him? Don’t keep giving copy and paste answers from the LDS Church. What have you personally read and/or studied to back your claim?
We as a ministry are concerned for you personally Shane. We know and understand how much you must love the Church, but we are concerned that you’ve been lied to and have not researched the information you’ve been given.
After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances.
This has to be one of the biggest lies ever told. FYI – there were only two ordinances Jesus told the believers to perform in the New Testament church; baptism and communion.
Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.
So Shane, could you tell me what you think about Matthew 16:18?
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Why would Jesus go to all the trouble of warning His disciples there would indeed be some people (aka wolves) who act as sheep so beware of them, yet also comfort His disciples by assuring them the very gates of hell wouldn’t prevail?
One of my all time favorite scriptures is found in John 7:38;
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Why would someone need an “administration” for something as beautiful as that? Just think of the healing waters of Jesus that nourishes our souls! I don’t need a sacrament meeting for that Shane, nor do I need some manmade priesthood quorum to “lay hands” on my head to ensure the Holy Spirit will come to me if I’m holy enough.
In the spring of ’93 I sat in a small church when I confessed my sins and asked Jesus to live in my heart and to be God of my life. There was no priesthood quorum waiting to lay hands on me. The only thing between the altar and me was my pride.
During the Great Apostasy, people were without divine direction from living prophets.
Hebrews 13:5-6; “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Parts of the holy scriptures were corrupted or lost, and no one had the authority to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost or perform other priesthood ordinances.
Actually there were many great prophets and prophetesses even after Jesus was resurrected.
Exactly who corrupted the Holy Scriptures, when did this happen, what parts were corrupted and/or lost, and where did this take place?
The idea God “needed” prophets to be a mouthpiece for Him is false. Job 38:5-6;
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;”
God has always carried on without the help of mankind and will always continue to do so. What makes you think God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and all its inhabitants, needs anything? God is self sufficient.
Also – The best witness to truth after Jesus’ resurrection was the “down payment” to His people who is the Holy Spirit who would reside inside of each believer.
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”
The Holy Spirit may indeed come to reside inside someone through the laying on of hands, but there are many instances where the HS will also come to reside inside the believer without this happening.
All Christians have become a holy priesthood unto God. The veil in the temple was rent in two, therefore securing our direct access to God. This happened at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross Shane. (Heb. 10:19-22 & Eph. 2:14-16).
This never went away just because there were a few in the crowd that didn’t truly believe!
Christ is the only mediator between God and the believer (1 Tim. 2:5).
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
The key word here is many. If a full and total apostasy were truth these verses would say all, but they do not. They say “many”.
Jesus’ priesthood is after the order of the Melchezidek which is the foundation of the doctrine of Christ and God appointed Him directly. (Heb. 5:6) Hebrews 7:24 says that this priesthood is unchangeable, meaning He doesn’t “pass it on”.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”
5. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Were you aware this chapter is one of four that is part of a poetic prophecy to the Hebrews? (Chapters 24-27) These are the warnings to the Israelites of the upcoming calamities and dispersion of the people by the Assyrian Empire.
11. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
Chapter 8 of Amos is the narrative section of the visions of Amos. Amos was a plain fig farmer when God called on him to warn Israel of their sins. It was during this time that Israel was at a low point in their devotion to God.
The nation was doing well monetarily and Assyria’s attention was on Damascus not Israel, so they (Israel) didn’t worry about their neighbors.
God however, sent Amos to warn the Israelites of their impending doom based solely on their sinful lifestyles. They refused to heed the word of the Lord and fell into the trap of worshipping the false gods Jeroboam had trucked in to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Long story short, this specific prophecy is not a future prophetic call into the AD timeframe; rather it is a call to repentance concerning the immediate future of Israel.
4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
28. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
I find it interesting how people will arbitrarily pick a scripture out of the text to suit the needs of their current position. Using the last two passages of scripture alongside the previous OT passages are case in point.
While there are passages in the OT which point to a future event which has yet to take place, the two you’ve used were meant for the immediate future of the upcoming Assyrian takeover of the Northern Kingdom of Israel which took place circa 700 BC.
With the NT passages, Jesus and Paul were indeed warning the believers there would be trouble and would in fact be those who trick the people.
We can use fulfilled prophecies of the Bible as personal reminders of what God demands for His children, but we must remember to put things into context.
I have a question for you Shane. Have you ever read anything about the history of the Christian church? There is an excellent website that gives detailed accounts of every decade since the time of its birth. Here’s the link:
7. The Restoration of Gods true church
Early spring, 1820. Seeking the true Church of Jesus Christ, 14-year-old Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York. In answer to his humble prayer, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited him and told him that he must not join any of the churches on the earth at that time. In the Church we refer to this experience as Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
Have you ever thought it strange the God of the Bible would tell someone (meaning Smith) that every single person on the face of the earth had been wrong for more than 1,800 years? What are the odds of that happening?
God must not be very powerful if He can’t keep his people together huh?
There are so many “subjects” in Mormonism which are biblically wrong it seems it won’t ever end. It kinda reminds me of baseball statistics…they just keep going and going and going…with every game, team and player there is a statistic involved somehow. Shockingly with Smith there is always something unbiblical about his behavior.
With that being said, I have to yell from the housetops on this particular issue to warn my people, the members of the LDS Church.
The story of Smith going to a “grove of trees to pray” should stand as a clear indication there is something wrong here! The following list provided here is just a sampling of how God feels about praying in a grove of trees.
BTW – a grove of trees is typically synonymous with the idol worship of Asherah whom the Canaanites believed was a fertility goddess, the mother of Baal.
Exodus 34:13; “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves.”
Deuteronomy 12:2; “Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree.”
Deuteronomy 16:21; “Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.”
1 Kings 16:33; “And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”
Also see 2 Kings 17:16, 21:3; Jeremiah 17:2…
More to come!