This particular essay is a difficult one to write. Most of family is Mormon and I was born into a multi-generational Mormon home. Beginning with (possibly) my great-great-Grandfather, Mormonism has been the dominant spiritual force in my upbringing and my great-Uncle (my maternal grandmothers brother) was the Mormon apologist, Hugh Nibley. Hugh dedicated his life to defending the validity of the Mormon faith in the face of mounting evidence contrary to the Mormon position. I am proud and elated (although also very sorrowful) to continue in his tradition of truth seeking. However, I stand in opposition to Hugh and the Mormon church.
That is not to say I stand in opposition to the Mormon people. Mormons are some of the most decent people I have ever met in my life. Generally speaking, Mormons are delightful; always willing to help someone in need, abstaining from alcohol and poisonous drugs, dedicated to their good works to the point of sacrificing two years of life to serve a “mission.” Yes, Mormons live actively religious lives and their commitment to their beliefs should be duly noted as an example to us all. Their beliefs however, are inaccurate and for all their good points they have been willingly deceived by their “prophets” and leadership for generations. This essay will explain my journey out of Mormonism and why I will dedicate my life to exposing the deception of the Mormon church.
Mormons are not Christians
Despite their aggressive attempts to portray themselves as a mainstream Christian faith, the Mormon church has very little in common with orthodox Christianity. Unless one re-defines the meaning of the word Christian, Mormons are not even in the same ballpark. The word Christian first appears in the Bible in Acts 11:26. We are told that the disciples were “first called Christians” in Antioch. This was around A.D. 42, about 10 years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In ancient Greek the suffix -ian was used to denote “belonging to the party of” where Herodians were those who belonged to the party of Herod and Caesarians belonged to the party of Caesar and so forth. Those who belonged to Christ were called “Christians” or “Christ-people” (if you will). These people were known separate from the pagans as well as the Jews for their adherence to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
But Mormons do not accept the teachings of Jesus. From the very inception of the Mormon church their founder and “prophet” Joseph Smith claimed that with regards to the protestant and catholic churches of late 19th century America, “all their creeds are an abomination.” In fact, much evidence from the testimony of Mormon leadership attests to their disagreement with the teachings of Jesus. We see this in an article by _______ written in the ____________ the author asserts that
We also see this in a statement made by (then) Mormon prophet Gordon B. Hinckley,
“No I don’t [believe in the traditional Christ]. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the fullness of times.” (LDS Church News, June 20, 1998)
Furthermore, during World War II the Mormon church sought for and received a special dog tag for L.D.S. (Latter Day Saints; another term for Mormons) that would separate themselves. The existing dog tags used to identify the Jewish with a Star of David and the cross to represent Catholic and Protestants would not do. If Mormons were protestants like they proclaim, why would the existing dog tag not be sufficient? Despite their best efforts to convince people that they are Christians, the evidence from their leadership and practice reveals a different truth. The Mormons are actively deceptive in this equivocation and they should be called to account.
Every religion has it’s sacred text. The Hindi have the Upanishads, the Moslems their Qu’ran, the Christians have their Bible,
and the Humanists their Manifestos. The Mormons hold sacred and infallible the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Mormons also hold to some aspects of the Bible but do not believe it to be infallible as their other doctrinal books:
“8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” (http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,106-1-2-1,FF.html)
“Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has expanded our understanding of some passages in the Bible. The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph to restore truths to the Bible text that had been lost or changed since the original words were written. These inspired corrections are called the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. In the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible, selected passages from the Joseph Smith Translation are found on pages 797–813 and in many footnotes.” (http://lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-10-scriptures?lang=eng)
In addition, the Church also refers to the words and writings of the prophets as scripture and should be considered divine:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts four books as scripture: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. These books are called the standard works of the Church. The inspired words of our living prophets are also accepted as scripture.” (http://lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-10-scriptures?lang=eng)
The problem I have with Mormon scripture is it’s claim to divinity. If God is omniscient and omnipotent then His revelation to mankind would contain truths that are prophetic in nature (meaning they accurately describe future events), contain facts that are consistent with reality, and be internally consistent with each other. The Mormon scriptures fail these tests on every account.
Consistent with reality
The Book of Mormon is a record of the people’s who lived on the American continent from 2000 bc to 400 ad. It claims that these peoples had an abundance of gold, horses, weapons made of steel, coins, and building technology and that these people (called the Nephites and Lamanites) were descendants of the Jewish people who came to America in a huge boat. Additionally, they recorded their history in a language called “reformed Egyptian.”
Unbeknown to most LDS, there has never been an archaeological discovery that has corroborated the claims made in the Book of Mormon. In fact, many known discoveries actually contradict the claims of the Book of Mormon such as the existence of a horses in the pre-Columbus continent. Professor Paul E. Minnis, from the University of Oklahoma: Department of Anthropology writes,
“It is safe to say that few, if any, professional archaeologists, except those who are practicing Mormons themselves, view the Book of Mormon as a document with any archaeological value.”
Another example is the lack of weapons, coins, or structural architecture that supports the Mormon doctrine. Linguists, archaeologists, and historians agree that no such language as “reformed Egyptian” has ever been found anywhere outside of the introduction to Joseph Smith’s book.
“While we do have copper, bronze, gold and silver in South American and Mexican sites at a late date (post Book of Mormon), we do not have any signs of the use of iron or of any of the domestic animals that Mormons believe came with these `migrants.’ We do not have wheat and barley in America, either.” (Professor Thomas J. Riley of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
He goes on to add:
“To my personal knowledge, I can not cite any specific archaeological studies that support the Book of Mormon — I know that there is an interest in finding evidence of Christ’s visit to South America during this time period, but to my knowledge no such evidence has ever been recovered…Similarly, I do not believe that present day North American Indians can be traced back as descendants of the Israelites — this in fact contradicts all that presently believed in archaeology about the Asian origins of indigenous American population….I would have to say on both counts that the Book of Mormon is not supported,” (letter dated 15 February 1989).
While LDS apologists and pseudo-intellectual groups (ala F.A.R.M.S and FairLDS.org) make claims to the Maya architecture as distinctly “Mormon,” no inscriptions with Mormon names or prophets can corroborate these claims. There is no resource or data outside the claims of Joseph Smith to suspect that Book of Mormon is anything other than late 19th century literature.