A Brief History of Mormonism
Text: Jude 3-21
I. It is not politically correct to speak against another person’s religion.
A. As a result many people don’t know much about the religion of another person - Hosea 4:6
B. But how do we deal with the idea that one church is as good as another if we don’t know why there are different churches.
C. Instead of willful ignorance, we are going to examine today the beliefs of the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints, also known as Mormons because their bible is call the Book of Mormon.
1. Most of the information will be presented from the Mormons’ own documents.
II. Unlike most denominations, the Church of Christ of the Latter Day Saints have supplements to the Bible that, in practice, overrides the teachings in the Bible.
A. Joseph Smith claimed that on September 21, 1823, the angel Moroni told him that some golden plates were buried in Cumorah, New York, a hill in his neighborhood.
1. The plates supposedly told of the contact of native American tribes, under fictitious names, had with Jesus Christ.
2. Further, Smith claimed that the plates were written “Reformed Egyptian.” But we don’t have to worry about the language, Smith claimed to have been miraculous given the ability to translated the plates into English.
3. Several people claimed to have seen the plates, but surprisingly most of them fell away from Mormonism before their deaths.
B. What isn’t often mentioned is that Joseph Smith had a history of being a charlatan
1. He liked to claim he had peep stones or magic talismans that allowed him to find buried treasure.
2. In 1826, he was tried in court because in those days claims of using mystical practices was against the law. He was found guilty, but avoided sentencing by agreeing to leave the area. [Abram W. Benton, "Mormonites,." Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, Vol. II. Utica, N.Y., April 9, 1831. p.120].
3. Martin Harris tells us, "I...was picking my teeth with a pin while sitting on the bars. The pin caught in my teeth and dropped from my fingers into shavings and straw... We could not find it. I then took Joseph on surprise, and said to him--I said, 'Take your stone.' ... He took it and placed it in his hat--the old white hat--and place his face in his hat. I watched him closely to see that he did not look to one side; he reached out his hand beyond me on the right, and moved a little stick and there I saw the pin, which he picked up and gave to me. I know he did not look out of the hat until after he had picked up the pin.” [Tiffany's Monthly, June 1859, p. 163].
4. Martin Harris also tells us that Joseph used the seer stone to find the gold plates. "In this stone he could see many things to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates."[Tiffany's Monthly, June 1859, p. 163].
5. He never fully gave it up; he had a Jupiter talisman on him when he died. (See overhead).
6. Mormons are not concerned by this. They state that it would only be a problem if he was faking it. But since they believe he had the ability to use seer stones, there is no theological difficulties.
C. The Book of Mormon was published in 1830
1. It claims to be a further revelation of Jesus Christ
2. It intermixes biblical facts with unsupported claims. For example it states that two people, Lehi and Nehi dwelt in Jerusalem during the reign of Zedekiah. Zedekiah was a king in Jerusalem, but Lehi and Nehi are imaginary characters.
3. If you ask those young Mormon “elders” who come to your door what evidence do they have that this book is legitimate, they will urge you to "pray fervently and God will convict you of its truth."
a. This, of course, is not how God ever asked people to accept His word - Isaiah 41:21-24
b. Do not believe every spirit - I John 4:1
4. The book does offer the testimony of witnesses, but as we noted earlier, almost all of these men left the Mormon faith before their deaths.
a. (See overhead) This is a copy from the 1830 edition.
b. Note that the misspellings are in the original document. I marked the changes made in the 1980 edition.
c. Compare to the witnesses of the Bible - John 17:12
D. Though the claim is that the Book of Mormon is from God, it has had thousands of changes since its first publication.
1. To cover, the Mormons used to buy old copies and destroy them.
2. But even the Book of Mormon states: “And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
a. Compare to the Bible - Matthew 5:18
3. (See overhead). An example is from Alama 15, page 303: “Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills.”
a. Starting in 1840, later editions, which now refer to this quote as Alama 29:4, dropped the highlighted words.
b. Starting in 1981, the words were put back. Notice that the old English style was drastically changed.
c. Ironic considering what the words say.
4. (See overhead). Doctrines and Covenants is a collection of prophecies made by Joseph Smith.
a. Notice that this one claims that God revokes commands.
b. But poor Ezra. The commandment was revoked, but if he still has to obey it after he repents.
c. God doesn’t change - Malachi 3:6
d. God’s judgments endures forever - Psalm 119:160
III. Other Problems
A. Mormonism is scientifically inaccurate
1. Brigham Young prophesied of men on the moon and sun [Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 271] (see overhead).
2. According to Oliver Huntington, Joseph Smith even taught that there were men on the moon. He states that they are very tall, about six feet, dress in Quaker-style clothing and live to be about 1000 years old. (Journal of Oliver B. Huntington Vol. 2, pg. 166).
3. Compare to the accuracy of the Bible
a. The earth hangs on nothing - Job 26:7
b. The earth is round - Isaiah 40:22
1. The end of the book of Jacob says, “Brethren, adieu.” (Jacob 7:27).
a. Supposedly this takes place somewhere between 544 and 421 B.C.
b. French among the American Indians at that date!
C. False Prophecies
1. Joseph Smith prophesied several times that the world would end in 1890, after he reaches the age of 85. He didn’t live nearly that long. Smith died in 1844. (See overhead)
a. But Smith did expect to see the end of the world. On January 23, 1833, Smith said, "I asked of him a father's blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the Priest's office until Christ comes." [History of the Church, Vol. I, p. 323].
b. Compare to Matthew 24:36
2. Bingham Young stated that the Civil War would not free the slaves.
a. Mormons try to side step this by saying the slaves weren’t freed until after the Civil War ended!
3. Then there was the plan to build a temple and city in Jackson County, Missouri. (See overhead)
a. It never happened.
b. Notice that it was to happen in that generation.
c. Notice what this next one says.
4. This next one (see overhead) is interesting because David Patten didn’t make the mission. He died in October of that year. He didn’t live to “next spring.”
IV. Lies about the Revelation
A. Parley Pratt, a Mormon apostle claimed there were no revisions (see overhead)
B. In 1961, Jerald and Sandra Tanner offered to microfilm the Mormon’s historical documents. They were given Wilford Woodruff’s original copy of Book of Commandments, which was later renamed to Doctrine and Covenants. They were only able to copy 41 pages before someone realized that they did not want this book copied, for obvious reasons. Here are two of the pages from The Case Against Mormonism (see overhead).
C. It is obvious that this book wasn’t inspired and that Parley Pratt was lying - II Timothy 3:13-17
D. What Paul was concerned about has happened - II Corinthians 11:1-4
V. The Character of Joseph Smith
A. (See overhead). This was from a speech Joseph Smith gave.
1. Compare to Paul’s attitude - II Corinthians 4:1-7
2. Paul warned of men like Smith - II Timothy 3:1-5
B. (See overhead of the photocopy of the Journal of Discourses) Notice in this one is the claim that Joseph Smith controls who enters heaven.
C. Jesus stated that we can recognize false prophets by what they do - Matthew 7:15-20
1. Joseph Smith’s brother, Hyrum, thought they could convince Joseph’s wife to accept plural marriages. (See overhead)
2. Now women, if your brother-in-law came to you with such an idea, what do you think would happen?
3. Yes, a tongue lashing! (See overhead)
4. The official stance was that the church was against polygamy (see overhead)
5. But like others before him and since, Joseph Smith didn’t feel bound by the same rules.
6. Predictably, the women in Mormonism put up a fuss. Brigham Young finally issued an ultimatum. (See overhead).
7. This explains some of the Mormons ridiculous and blasphemous teachings (see overhead)
8. By the way, I mentioned Parley Pratt, the Mormon apostle earlier. He was in the paper not long ago because his descendants were looking for his grave. He was buried in Arkansas after the estranged husband of the woman he took as his 12th wife killed him - Proverbs 6:32-35
E. Bank Fraud
1. Smith wanted to set up a bank, but the state refused him a charter.
2. So Smith called it an anti-bank and started issuing bank notes (see overhead)
3. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were tried for violating the banking laws, found guilty, and fined $1000 each.
VI. The Death of Joseph Smith
A. In Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith set himself up as mayor of the town. The majority of the city council were made of Mormons. Joseph Smith was also attempting to run for President of the United States.
B. A group of ex-Mormons, lead by William Law, started an anti-Mormon paper called the Nauvoo Expositor. Law had been offended when Smith tried to seduce his wife into a plural marriage arrangement. Law apparently confronted his wife and she confirmed that Smith had “revealed” to her that half her love was for her husband and half for Smith.
1. The paper only managed to print one edition.
C. The Mormon dominated city council declared the paper a “public nuisance” and ordered it destroyed. This set up a cry of violation of freedom of the press.
D. Warrants were issued against Smith by the governor of Illinois, but Smith used a writ of Habeas Corpus to invalidate them in the Nauvoo court.
E. Because of the large outcry against him and the real possibility of war, Smith declared martial law and called out the Nauvoo Legion, a militia of about 5,000 men.
F. The Illinois governor offered safe passage to Smith for a trial at Carthange before a non-Mormon jury. Smith reluctantly agreed – not that he had much choice.
G. At the preliminary hearing, the city council members were released on bail, but Joseph and Hyrum Smith were charged with treason and held without bail.
H. Two days later a mob of 200 men stormed the jail. Cyrus Wheelock had snuck a pistol in to Joseph Smith earlier that day. When the mob attacked, Hyrum was shot in the face and died.
I. "I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were WOUNDED by these discharges, TWO of whom, I am informed DIED." [History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 103].
J. The Mormons would like to compare Joseph Smith’s death with Jesus, but there is no comparison - John 10:17-18
1. When a mob came to arrest Jesus, he gave no resistence and forbad attacking back - John 18:3-12
VII. Smith died to protect his life and possibly to avenge his brother’s death. Jesus laid down his life so that you and I might live.
A. Who would you rather follow? The egotistical polygamist or the sinless Son of God?
B. Who Joseph Smith was and what he stood for is well documented even by the group he founded. Yet, there are a lot of people who prefer this to the truth - II Timothy 4:3-4
C. Don’t be one of them.
Based on a study by Jerry Blount
Jupiter Talisman Found on Joseph Smith After His Death
The following is from Wikipedia:
An 1830 statement titled "Testimony of Three Witnesses"—one statement signed by three men rather than three separate statements—was published at the end of the first edition of the Book of Mormon:
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seeen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvellous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
The testimony of the Eight Witnesses was first published at the end of the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon and has been printed in nearly every edition since, although most subsequent editions have moved the statement to the front of the book, made minor grammatical corrections, and altered the phrase "Author and Proprietor" to read "translator."
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the Author and Proprietor of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Alma 15, page 303 (1830 Edition)
“Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills.”
Alma 29:4 (1980 Edition)
Alma 29:4 (1981 Edition)
Doctrines and Covenants 56:2 (a-c)
Now marked as Doctrines and Covenants 56:3-6
"Behold, I the Lord commandeth, and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time; and after that I have commanded and the commandment is broken, wherefore I the Lord command and revoke, as it seemeth me good, and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord; wherefore I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey speedily to the land of Missouri; and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him: for, behold, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Selah J. Griffin and Newel Knight, in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson; and their rebellions."
Doctrines and Covenants 56:3
Now marked as Doctrines and Covenants 56:7-11
"And again, verily I say unto you, that my servant Ezra Thayre must repent of his pride, and of his selfishness, and obey the former commandment which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives; and if he will do this, as there shall be no divisions made upon the land, he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missouri; otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid, and shall leave the place, and shall be cut off out of my church, saith the Lord of hosts; and though the heaven and the earth pass away, these words shall not pass away, but shall be fulfilled."
Prophecy of Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 271
“We are called ignorant; so we are: but what of it? Are not
all ignorant? I rather think so. Who can tell us of the
inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening,
called the moon? When we view its face we may see what
is termed "the man in the moon," and what some
philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But
these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and
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 fellows. So it is with 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.”
Journal of Oliver Huntington, Vol. II, p. 166:
"The INHABITANTS OF THE MOON are more of a uniform size than those of the earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the quaker style and are quite general in style, or fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by Joseph the seer, and he could see whatever he asked the father in the name of Jesus to see."
End of the World?
"... and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh--even fifty-six years should wind up the scene" (History of the Church, vol 2 pg 182)
"Were I going to prophesy, I would say the end (of the world) would not come in 1844, 5, or 6, or in forty years. There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, `My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.' I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I shall go where He is. I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written -- the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old. Then read the 14th chapter of Revelation, 6th and 7th verses -- `And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.' And Hosea, 6th chapter, After two days, etc., -- 2,520 years; which brings it to 1890." (History of the Church vol 5 pp.336-337).
End of Slavery by the Civil War?
"Will the present struggle free the slave? No; ... they cannot do that,..." (Bingham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol 10 pg 250).
A Temple in Jackson County, Missouri (Independence)
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832. HC 1: 286-295. During the month of September, elders had begun to return from their missions in the eastern states and to make reports of their labors. It was while they were together in this season of joy that the following communication was received. The Prophet designates it a revelation on priesthood.
1 A REVELATION. of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 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 Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 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.
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
From Doctrine and Covenants Section 114
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, April 17, 1838. 1-2, Church positions held by those who are not faithful shall be given to others.
1 VERILY thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world.
2 For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishopric. Amen.
Parley Pratt in History of the Church, Vol. I p. 173 in footnote
"'Each sentence,' says he, 'was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each, sufficiently long for it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand. This was the manner in which all his written revelations were dictated and written. There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back, in order to keep the run of the subject; neither did any of these communications undergo revisions, interlinings or corrections. As he dictated them so they stood, so far as I have witnessed."
History of the Church, pg 408
Address of the Prophet - His Testimony Against the Dissenters at Nauvoo.
(Sunday, May 26, 1844)
"In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil-all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! For I will come out on the top at last. 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. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. 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. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl! When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go."
"On the morning of the 12th of July, 1843; Joseph and Hyrum Smith came into the office... They were talking on the subject of plural marriage. Hyrum said to Joseph, 'If you will write the revelation on celestial marriage, I will take it and read it to Emma, and I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace.' Joseph smiled and remarked, 'you do not know Emma as well as I do.'” (History of the Church, Joseph Smith, Volume 5, Introduction)
When he returned he reported, 'He had never received a more severe talking to in his life.'
Smith's response was, 'I told you, you did not know Emma as well as I did.'
"Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached
with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare
that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and
one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death,
when either is at liberty to marry again." [Doctrine and Covenants
p.104] This was removed from the 1876 edition.
"We had been there about a year when the principle of plural marriage was made known to us, and I was married to Joseph Smith on the 4th of March 1843, Elder Heber C. Kimball performing the ceremony. My sister Eliza was also married to Joseph a few days later. This was done without the knowledge of Emma Smith. Two months afterward she consented to give her husband two wives, providing he would give her the privilege of choosing them. She accordingly chose my sister Eliza and myself, and to save family trouble brother Joseph thought it best to have another ceremony performed. Accordingly on the 11th of May, 1843, we were sealed to Joseph Smith a second time, in Emma's presence!" [Historical Record, p. 240]
"I wish my own women to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as others, and I want those who are here to tell their sisters, yes, all the women of this community, and then write it back to the States, and do as you please with it. I am going to give you from this time to the 6th day of October next, for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going to set every woman at liberty and say to them, Now go your way, my women with the rest, go your way. And my wives have go to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting around me. ...
"Prepare yourselves for two weeks from tomorrow; and I will tell you now, that if you will tarry with your husbands, after I have set you free, you must bow down to it, and submit yourselves to the celestial law. You may go where you please, after two weeks from tomorrow; but, remember, that I will not hear any more of this whining."
[Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4. Brigham Young sermon, pg. 55 ff (Also published in the Deseret News)].
"When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he
came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of
his wives with him." [Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, Vol. 1, page 50].
"I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children.” [Journal of Discourses, Orson Hyde Mormon Apostle, Vol. 2, page 210].