The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormon Church, has recently launched another series of television commercials intended to enhance their image and aid in their evangelistic outreach. In this material which was originally used in a Bible class, we urge you to look beyond the carefully crafted commercials and “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1).

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8, 9

  1. Brief History.

    1. Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805–1844) founded the Church in 1830 in Palmyra, NY.

    2. Smith saw his First Vision in 1820 in which he was told not to join any of the churches because they were all corrupt. (I will not always insert words such asalleged in reference to the claims of Smith every time I feel they would be justified, but will simply relate the history as he claimed it happened. JRG)

    3. In 1823 Smith was shown some golden plates by the angel Moroni.

    4. In 1827 he began to translate the golden plates and in 1830 published The Book of Mormon.

    5. The church moved to Kirtland, OH in 1831 and built their first temple there in 1836.

    6. In 1837 the Mormons moved to Missouri where they would remain until 1839.

    7. From 1840 until 1847 the Mormons would be headquartered in Nauvoo, IL. By 1840 they claimed 30,000 members.

    8. In 1843 Smith publicly declared that he had received a revelation authorizing plural marriages. In Section 132 of Doctrines and Covenants this revelation regarding multiple spouses is referred to as a “new and everlasting covenant.”

      1. Doctrines and Covenants now has the following in its introduction to Section 132: “it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831.”

      2. In other words, historical records have established that Smith was practicing polygamy long before the revelation. This is despite the word new being used in the revelation.

      3. Section 132 also teaches that marriages that are sealed on earth will continue in heaven.

      4. The everlasting covenant of plural marriages was rescinded in 1890 under pressure from the United States government.

    9. Because of an attack on a newspaper office in Nauvoo, Smith was jailed in 1844 and while awaiting trial was killed in a gun battle when a mob stormed the jail.

    10. In 1846 the Mormons left Illinois and in 1847 founded Salt Lake City in what was then Mexico, but would soon become a US territory.

    11. After a power struggle following the death of the Prophet, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1860 with Joseph Smith III as President and Prophet. (This group changed its name in 2001 to the Community of Christ).

    12. In 1890 LDS President Wilford Woodruff issued a Manifesto instructing Mormons to obey anti-polygamy laws. This cleared the way for Utah’s statehood in 1896.

    13. In 1978 black males were admitted to the priesthood for the first time.

      1. The Book of Abraham (part of the Pearl of Great Price) had stated that those of the lineage of Ham were not qualified for the priesthood.

      2. Historically Mormon leaders affirmed that black skin was the mark put on Cain and was preserved through the flood by Ham’s wife Egyptus (a descendant of Cain). They also taught that to be born black was evidence of being less worthy in one’s pre-existence.

      3. It is commendable that the LDS has changed these racist views, but it should not be forgotten that their previous racism and racist statements came directly from those they deemed “apostles and prophets.”

    14. Today (2009) the LDS numbers about 13,000,000 worldwide, with about 6,000,000 of those in the United States, and is headed by President Thomas Monson.

  2. Basic doctrines of Mormonism.

    1. Continuing revelation is necessary for a Church to properly function.

      1. They believe Joseph Smith, Jr. was the first prophet and was charged with the restoration of the true church.

      2. They believe Smith was succeeded as Prophet by Brigham Young and the line of succession continues until this day with President Monson.

      3. Also insist that “living apostles” are necessary to be a Scriptural church. Eph. 2:19-22

    2. Mormons consider four books as Scripture: the Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

      1. They usually qualify their statements about the Bible with, “as far it is correctly translated.” 1 Nephi 13 refers to “plain and precious” things that have been removed from the Bible.

      2. The “discovery” of The Book of Mormon is vital to the justification of the LDS, but most of the unique Mormon teaching is actually found in Doctrines and Covenants.

    3. God.

      1. The LDS Church teaches that God was once a man who has now been exalted.

      2. God (Elohim) has a body of flesh and is married. In fact, all people existed first as God’s spirit children before receiving a human body.

      3. Jesus Christ (Jehovah) was the firstborn of God. Past Mormon Prophets have stated that Jesus was the Son of God on earth because God was His father in the same way that any other man would become the father of a child.

      4. Brigham Young taught that Adam was God, but his Adam-God teaching is rejected today.

    4. Marriage.

      1. Marriages sealed in the Temple will continue in heaven.

      2. The practice of polygamy has been discontinued here on earth, but if a widower, who was sealed to his first wife, remarries, he has the right to be sealed again and thus practice polygamy in heaven.

    5. Priesthood.

      1. Male members receive two orders of the priesthood, i.e. that of Aaron and Melchizedek.

      2. At 12 one can become a deacon and at 19 he can become an elder. Cf. 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9.

    6. Nature of man.

      1. Enjoyed a pre-existent state with God.

      2. Can one day be a God having rule over his own world/creation.

        1. “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” Lorenzo Snow, 5th President

      3. Important note: LDS leadership has sought to distance itself in the general public’s eye from the doctrine of God having been a man and man becoming a God, but the doctrine is still taught to the “mature” Mormons.

    7. Heaven is comprised of three parts.

      1. The celestial kingdom, the highest and best, is reserved for faithful LDS adherents.

      2. The terrestrial kingdom is for the “good” people who were religiously wrong.

      3. The telestial kingdom is for almost everyone else.

      4. Only the worst of the worst actually spend eternity in torment.

    8. Baptism for the dead.

      1. Elijah is said to have appeared to Smith and revealed this doctrine.

      2. Mormons believe they can be baptized on behalf of the dead and gain the remission of sins for them, if the dead person is willing to accept it.

    9. The Word of Wisdom.

      1. Section 89 of Doctrines and Covenants is commonly known as the Word of Wisdom and restricts Mormons from the use of tobacco, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and colas.

      2. The actual language forbids “hot drinks,” but today that is interpreted to mean drinks with caffeine. Thus coffee and tea are forbidden, whether iced or hot, but hot chocolate is allowed even though it is both hot and contains some caffeine.

      3. The Word of Wisdom also exhorts that meat be eaten sparingly, but the LDS puts little, if any, emphasis on this today.

  3. The Book of Mormon.

    1. This book, now subtitled Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is alleged to be the history of two groups of immigrants to the Americas.

      1. The first group, the Jaredites, emigrated from the Old World at the time of the Tower of Babel and built up a great civilization before destroying themselves ca. 600 B.C.

      2. The second and more important group left Jerusalem ca. 600 B.C. From the tribe of Manasseh they eventually split into two groups. The Nephites, the righteous branch, were eventually destroyed by their kinsmen the Lamanites (cursed with dark skin because of their wickedness).

        1. American Indians are said to be Lamanites; i.e. they are of Jewish ethnicity and cursed with darker skin because of the wickedness of their ancestors.

      3. A third group left Jerusalem ca. 588 B.C. and eventually joined up with the Nephites.

      4. Jesus made a post-resurrection appearance to the inhabitants of the Americas.

      5. The golden plates from which Smith translated the Book of Mormon were hidden by Moroni, son of Mormon, the last of the Nephites who perished ca. A.D. 421.

    2. Almost the entire Book of Mormon is factually and historically inaccurate.

      1. It portrays the pre-Columbian New World as a place of elephants, horses, cattle, swine, wheat, barley, silk, steel and other things for which no archaeological evidence exists.

    3. The stories of the barges in Ether 2 and the headless man in Ether 15 who raises up on his hands and struggles for breath are obviously fictional.

    4. It condemns polygamy. Jacob 1:15; 2:23, 24

    5. A book supposedly written in “Reformed Egyptian” (a language no linguist has ever found preserved in history) contains numerous quotations from the KJV of the Bible.

      1. In 3 Nephi 20:23-26 a quotation from Moses is made, but Smith, rather than to go to Deut. 18 for the original reference, quoted from Peter’s words in Acts 3:22-26.

      2. This presents a problem for, as the story goes, the Nephites had left Jerusalem 600 years before Peter added his own comments to the quotation from Deut. 18.

  4. “We need no more Bible.”

    “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3

    1. Roman Catholicism and Mormonism share a similar foundation in that both are built upon a belief that the Bible is inadequate and the Church must be guided by continuing revelation.

      1. “The Bible does not contain all the teachings of the Christian religion, nor does it formulate all the duties of its members.”The Faith of Millions (a Roman Catholic publication), pp. 153, 154

      2. “Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written” (2 Nephi 29:6, 10).

      3. “…but if we had no Bible, we would still have all the needed direction and information through the revelations of the Lord to his servants the prophets in these latter days.” A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (written by a Mormon apostle), p. 40

    2. Misapplied Scripture.

      1. The LDS contend that Ezek. 37:15–17 is a prophecy of The Book of Mormon. The two sticks are explained as those on which a scroll would be wound, with the stick of Judah representing the Bible and the stick of Ephraim The Book of Mormon.

      2. Does Ezek. 37:15-28 ever mention two scrolls?

      3. Rather than two scrolls being joined as one, the Lord was speaking of a time when the two _____________ would again be one.

    3. The Scriptures are complete.

      1. In John 16:12, 13, what did Jesus promise the Holy Spirit would do for the apostles?

      2. What should our attitude be toward any preaching a different gospel from that preached by the apostles and prophets in the first century? Gal. 1:6–9

      3. The inspired Scriptures could make the man of God ________________ and thoroughly equipped for ______________ good work. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17

      4. We are to contend for the faith __________________ delivered. Jude 3

    4. The gift of prophecy was never intended to be permanent. 1 Cor. 13:8-13.

      1. The various gifts present in the first century, including prophecy, would end when the perfect (complete, margin NKJV) had come, while faith, hope, and love would continue.

      2. The perfect refers to the completion of the Spirit’s revelation of truth, not the return of Christ.

        1. The complete is explained by the part. 1 Cor. 13:9 defines the partial as the incomplete knowledge of prophecy and divine teaching that would soon be complete. Cf. John 16:12, 13 where Jesus had promised all truth to the apostles.

      3. Consider W.E. Vine’s comments on tongues:

        There is no good evidence for the continuance of this gift after apostolic times nor indeed in the later times of the apostles themselves; this provides confirmation of the fulfillment in this way of 1 Cor. 13:8, that this gift would cease in the churches, just as would ‘prophecies’ and ‘knowledge’ in the sense of knowledge received by immediate supernatural power (cf. 14:6). The completion of the Holy Scriptures has provided the churches with all that is necessary for individual and collective guidance, instruction, and edification.

        Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 636
  5. Joseph Smith, Jr. was not a prophet.

    1. His character.

      1. In 1826, six years after he allegedly had his First Vision and three years after being shown the golden plates, he was convicted of disorderly conduct. In 1971 the original court document was found in which Smith was called “the glass looker.”

        1. He had a “peep stone” with which he claimed he could locate buried treasure.

      2. When he received the “new” revelation regarding polygamy (Section 132 ofDoctrines and Covenants) he was already practicing polygamy.

    2. What is the test of a true prophet? Deut. 18:21, 22

    3. In 1832 Smith prophesied that the temple would be built in Independence, MO within that generation, but it never happened. D & C, S. 84:1–5

    4. Mormons like to offer his Civil War prophecy (D & C, S. 87) of 1832 as proof of his prophetic gift, but a careful reading of the complete section shows the very opposite.

      1. Emphasis is placed on his naming South Carolina as the beginning point of the rebellion, but the month before his prophecy South Carolina had passed the Nullification Act leading many to expect war.

      2. Smith spoke “concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass,” but it was actually 18 more years before the first shots were fired at Ft. Sumter.

      3. He also prophesied that the Civil War would spill over to all nations; Great Britain would be involved in the fighting; slaves would rise against masters; the remnants (Indians) would fight; and the full end of the nations would come quickly.

  6. God.

    “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6

    1. Mormon teachings on God.

      1. A flesh and bones body. D & C 130:22

      2. An exalted man: “Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing….He became God—an exalted being—through obedience to the same eternal Gospel truths that we are given opportunity today to obey.” The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 104, Milton R. Hunter

    2. The Biblical revelation of God.

      1. How is God described in John 4:23, 24? Cf. Luke 24:39.

      2. While the Bible does sometimes speak of “body parts” as it relates God to us, with what “parts of His body” did God promise to protect His people in Psalm 91:4?

      3. When Moses asked His name, God responded, “You shall say to the children of Israel, ‘_______ _________ has sent me to you.’” Ex. 3:14, 15

      4. The Lord made the claim that there was no ____________ formed before Him and there would be none after Him.” Isa. 43:10

      5. “I am the ___________ and I am the ____________; besides Me there is no God.” Isa. 44:6

  7. Polygamy.

    1. See the previous section on the history of the Mormon church for more on multiple marriages.

    2. Though Mormons are now told to obey the law of the land and avoid polygamy, a man may plan for multiple wives in heaven. (See the section of Basic Doctrines).

    3. God’s plan from the beginning was that the “___________ shall become ________ flesh.” Matt. 19:4, 5

    4. How many wives is an elder (bishop) allowed? 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9

    5. The objection is raised that righteous men of old had multiple wives.

      1. D & C, Sec. 132:34 says that Abraham took Hagar at God’s command. According to Gen. 16:1-3, whose idea was this?

      2. Matt. 19:8 and Mark 10:3-5 may help us understand why David and other good men of old were not condemned for multiple wives.

    6. Interestingly enough, The Book of Mormon contains a strong denunciation of polygamy in Jacob 1:15; 2:23, 24, 27; 3:5 and includes the following:

      “…for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” Jacob 2:23, 24

    7. What was the response of Jesus when asked, “Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be?” Matt. 22:23-33

  8. The Word of Wisdom. D & C, Sec. 89

    1. Mormons sometimes point to this “revelation” as proof of Joseph’s Smith’s divine guidance.

    2. A careful examination of history shows that the Temperance Movement was already strong in some places, and while tobacco was not yet linked to cancer, it was condemned in many quarters.

    3. For most people, avoiding alcohol and tobacco will lead to an increased lifespan, but Joseph Smith was not the first to learn that.

      1. The Brigham Young University Studies, Winter 1959, pp. 39-40 references an article from the Philadelphia ‘Journal of Health’ that was quoted in the June, 1830 Millennial Harbinger. The article strongly condemned the use of alcohol, tobacco, the eating intemperately of meats…”

    4. There is abundant historical evidence that both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young often violated the Word of Wisdom. See Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? or

    5. The Word of Wisdom counseled that flesh should “be used sparingly.” In fact, “they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” Mormons today put no emphasis on this part of the Word of Wisdom.

    6. Strong drink is wrong (Prov. 20:1; 23:29–35; 1 Pet. 4:1–4), and the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19, 20) should be treated with respect, but Smith was no prophet.

  9. Praying about The Book of Mormon.

    1. Missionary elders often seek to persuade people to heed the words of Moroni 10:3–5 and in prayer ask God if the Book of Mormon is the word of God. They may even reference James 1:5.

    2. What did the people of Berea do when presented with new teaching? Acts 17:10, 11

    3. What warning do we find in Prov. 14:12 and 16:25?

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8, 9