by Ed Stevens
"Beloved, believe not every spirit,
but try the spirits
whether they are of God..."
— I John 4:1.
During the nineteenth century several new religious movements arose which today have millions of followers. They are Theosophy, Spiritualism, Christian (?) Science, Russellism — now so-called "Jehovah's Witnesses" of the Watchtower Society, Seventh Day Adventism, Pentecostalism, and Mormonism — designated as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". The last four mentioned all claim to have a latter day testimony received from heaven in visions and revelations, and that rejectors thereof will be destroyed. If their testimony were of God all should be in perfect harmony, but it is the opposite. Then where and how did this testimony arise?
The Bible tells us, "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, and that "The Spirit speaketh expressly that some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (I Cor. 14:33; I Tim. 4:1, 2).
"He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God", we read in John 3:34.
FOUNDATIONS BEAR EXAMINATION
The acid test of stability and truth is in the foundation. Let us see how Mormonism was founded and under what circumstances. It began in the visions of a fifteen year old boy named Joseph Smith. (Seventh Day Adventism had its real start with the visions of a seventeen year old girl, later known as Mrs. E. G. White, whose writings her followers accept as inspired of God.) The true Word of God came not by children, but: "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Pet. 1:21). Mormons accept the Book of Mormon, produced by Joseph Smith, to be also the word of God. Let us examine this man's background.
Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge reveals that March 20, 1826 Joseph Smith was found guilty in a court trial as being "a disorderly person and an imposter", upon the sworn testimony of five witnesses. The main complaint was that Smith failed them in contracts to find hidden treasures, etc., by his boasted ability in looking through a certain "magic stone" which he possessed.
In his book, "Heresies Exposed", W. C. Irvine states that Smith's mother told fortunes and his father sold blessings. Also, that the late president of Michigan College, E. B. Fairfield, in 1850 had talked with three men intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith, who testified that he was "notorious for his vulgar speech, his life of unspeakable lewdness, and his being a notorious liar".
Isaac Hale so detested this suitor of his daughter, Emma, that Smith must needs elope with her to marry her, Jan. 18, 1827.
To such an one then, an "angel" called Moroni, was supposed to have come from heaven when he was but fifteen years old. According to Smith, Moroni showed him where to find a buried book of gold plates giving an account of the former inhabitants of North America and containing "the fullness of the everlasting gospel" as delivered to these inhabitants by Christ. With the plates were to be found two stones, "Urim and Thumim", as magic spectacles through which translation of the hieroglyphics on the plates were to be made. Smith further affirmed that having found the buried plates, the angel forbade digging them up to translate until four years later September 22, 1827, meanwhile appearing to Smith nine times, informing him of great judgments coming upon the earth and in what manner the Lord's kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. Smith supposedly possessed the plates two years and eight months. When translation was completed he conveniently claimed the angel called for them and carried them away (from "Introduction" to the Book of Mormon).
WEIGHING THE EVIDENCE
It has been charged that Smith used a certain unprinted manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding of Conneaut, Ohio, to produce the Book of Mormon. This manuscript is now located in the library of Oberlin College and it is affirmed there that there is not enough resemblance to sustain the charge. However, Spaulding evidently wrote another manuscript in which he used biblical phraseology. Through his reading from it to his friends he came to be known by the young folks as, "And-it-came-to-pass-Spaulding". It is believed that this manuscript was found in the printing office of Patterson and Lamdin of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Sidney Rigdon through whom it came into the possession of Joseph Smith who made it the basis of the Book of Mormon.
This is corroborated by Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia, Vol. III, P. 1578 (published 1883), concerning the Book of Mormon, as follows:
"The usual belief is that most of it was written by one, Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian clergyman. He had been accustomed to maintain that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the tribes of Israel; and in a time of ill health he wrote a kind of romance supporting his view. This he called the "Manuscript Found" and tried to publish. In his work was much repetition of phrases common in Scripture such as, 'and it came to pass', and also the use of the names Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Lamanites, etc. There is substantial evidence of the above named facts. It is supposed that this manuscript fell into the hands of Joseph Smith, and that he, and perhaps Sidney Rigdon and others introduced into it and appended, in a style savoring strongly of revivalism, the large portion found in the Book of Mormon touching the Lord Jesus Christ's descent in America soon after His ascension from Judea, and His organization of another apostolate and establishment of another church".
The above quotation supports our believing that plagiarism and blasphemous deception was perpetrated by this young fortune finder, Joseph Smith, as he supposedly dictated, from behind curtains, a translation of the inscriptions on gold plates to two writers by turns, Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery.
As to the Book of Mormon being a true history of the American Indian, M. C. Sterling, chief of the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, had this to say:
"There is no correspondence whatever between archeological sites and cultures as revealed by scientific investigations and as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
The interpretations of archeological and ethnographic data, moreover, are quite unlike the American prehistory which the Book of Mormon describes."
We can certainly prove by examining the Book of Mormon itself that it is not of God. While it contains whole pages word for word copied from the Bible and scattered Bible truth differently written, it flatly denies two particular basic truths taught in God's Word, which Word Smith must perforce profess to believe in order to deceive the hearts of the simple (see Romans 16:17, 18 ) .
1. The Book of Mormon denies the completeness of the Bible and that addition thereto is condemned in no uncertain terms.
Significantly, all claiming to receive revelations subsequent to that of the apostle John in about A.D. 90, have brought forth false doctrine in contradiction to and denial of Bible truth. Also, they make much ado about many mistranslations in the Bible. Actually, there are few mistranslations and these can be located and corrected by the Bible itself, simply by comparing Scripture with Scripture.
As for this dispensation of the Church which is Christ's body, when God is "taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name" (Acts 15:14), we are completely instructed as to faith and worship by the one "apostle to the Gentiles", the apostle Paul, "a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity", or truth (Rom. 11:13; 15:16; I Tim. 2:7). He wrote by inspiration that it was given him to fill full, or "fulfill the Word of God" for the Church (Col. 1:24, 25). His statement in II Tim. 3:16, 17 covers the entire Bible:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
When faced with adding to God's Word and the curse concerning this as found in Rev. 22: 18, 19, Mormons blithely point to Deut. 4:2, saying, It is written way back there: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you", and Look, they say, how much was added since that time. This is stupidly crooked, for Moses, speaking to Israel, referred only to "statutes and judgments" given to Israel (v. 5). They are forbidden to add to them; but they added "traditions of men" (Matt. 15: 1-5).
Proverbs 30:6 covers the entire Bible in the words, "Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee and thou be found a liar".
Surely then, whatever is claimed as additional revelation will give evidence as being not of God, making void His Word, the Bible. So it is with the spurious Book of Mormon wherein we find the following ridicule and false assertion, denying the Bible's completion:
"Thou fool, that shall say, A Bible, we have got a Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save as it were by the Jews? 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 (II Nephi 29:6, 10). Verse four shows the speaker to be "the Lord God"! What a blasphemous falsehood!
Mormon teaching cunningly makes the above "Nephi" reference correspond to Ezekiel 37:16-19 where writings on "two sticks" are spoken of. These sticks were merely an object lesson for Israel that divided Israel would in the millennium become "one nation in the land... neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all" (v. 20-28). Believe it or not, the Mormons hold that one of these sticks represents the Bible and the other foretold the appearance of the Book of Mormon!
2. The Book of Mormon denies the true way of salvation.
It falsely teaches salvation by works, that for remission of sins and receiving the Holy Spirit one must first be water-baptized. We quote:
"By following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongues of angels... with new tongues... unless a man shall endure to the end... he cannot be saved. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism in water... then are ye in this straight and narrow path which leads to eternal life" (II Nephi 3:13-18).
"The fulfilling of the commandments bringeth remission of sins". (Moroni 8:25).
FOOLISH DISCREPANCIES DISCLOSE FRAUD
According to Smith's Book of Mormon, some descendents of Joseph, the son of Jacob, left Jerusalem 600 B.C. to settle in America. They recorded their activities on gold plates—in what language? Hebrew, their native language? No! In "Reformed Egyptian"! Ridiculous!
No man ever becomes an angel, but Moroni, "the last of the prophets" became one! He buried the gold plates and 400 years later appeared to Joseph Smith near the same spot as an angel!
Again, during 600 years these migrated Jews became "a great nation" in America, but about 400 years after Christ had brought them "the everlasting gospel" and "established His church", these Jews were nearly annihilated in battles, becoming a mere remnant which Mormons hold are the American Indians. Strange that the gospel had no power and strange that Indian legend and tradition holds no trace whatever of migration from Jerusalem and Christ's visit, or the gospel!
BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
The Mormon practice of the living getting water baptized for the dead to save them came not from the Book of Mormon. They use I Cor. 15:29 to partly support it but it actually originated with their fallacious claim that in 1836 the prophecy of Malachi 4:5, 6 was fulfilled in that Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and "conferred authority to baptize for the dead", thus "turning the hearts of the children to the fathers"—the dead fathers (History of the Church Vol. VI, P. 183, 184; "The Plan of Salvation", by Elder John Morgan, P. 20, 21).
To prove this "vision" to be also a farce or "giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons" we need but quote God's truth found in Psalm 49:8-10 and I Tim. 2:5
"None can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him that he should still live forever and not see corruption. For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth forever", i.e., the belief that humans can do anything to save humans.
"There is one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus."
OTHER FALSE DOCTRINES IN MORMON LITERATURE
Quote: "Some preachers say that faith is all that is necessary to salvation. This is incorrect. Salvation is obtainable upon four conditions: faith, repentance, water baptism, and laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit of God. Then, according to their faithfulness and diligence in keeping the commands of God, the various manifestations of the Spirit are poured out upon men, such as the gift of speaking in foreign tongues, of interpretation of tongues, prophecy, dreams, visions, the gift of healing and working of miracles, discernment of spirits, etc. Baptism is a part of the law of God . . . the remission of individual sins shall be available to no man till he has been baptized. No man is entitled to a pardon for his sins until he obeys that ordinance" ("Scrapbook of Mormon Literature", by Ben. E. Rich, pp. 42, 43, 46. Found also in "Doctrines and Covenants", by Joseph Smith).
"Christ's atonement was not sufficient for personal sins, from which men can be redeemed only by obedience to Mormon ceremonies" (Compendium).
"All are damned who do not avail themselves of these ceremonies" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, p. 339).
"Redemption from personal sins can only be obtained through obedience to the requirements of the gospel and a life of good works" (Principles of the Gospel, p. 19).
Concerning God, Brigham Young taught: "Adam is our God, the only God with whom we have to do. When our Father came into the garden of Eden He came with a celestial body and brought Eve, one of His wives with Him. Jesus Christ was the son of Adam-God and Mary. Jesus was not begotten of the Holy Spirit" (Journal of Discourses Vol. I, p. 50).
"The Holy Spirit is the most refined and subtle of substances, like electricity, etc." (Key, p. 39).
God's Word plainly teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person and is received immediately upon believing in Christ as one's Savior (John 7:39; 16:13; Gal. 3:3; Eph. 1:13, 14; 4:30). Also, that speaking in tongues was only a sign for unbelieving Israel during the Acts period, ceasing thereafter when Israel was set aside (Isa. 28:11, 12; I Cor. 14:22; 13:8; Rom. 11:19-21).
Throughout God's entire Word we find salvation comes only by grace (unearned favor) through faith in Christ, without works—Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; 4:1-5; Gal. 2:16, 21; John 1:12; 3:16, 36, 5:24; I Cor. 15:1-5.
Hear Paul's warning: "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed"!
Water baptism being a works of the flesh, has no place in salvation. The thief on the cross was saved without it, for Christ said to him, "Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise". So reads the Greek text of Luke 23:43. "Paradise" in the Bible designates always a place of beauty and bliss, never Hades, as many teach. See Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8, 9; II Cor. 12:4.
PRE-EXISTENCE OF HUMAN SPIRITS TAUGHT
Mormons believe in the pre-existence of human spirits in heaven where they were born of many Gods, each having his own wife, or wives. "As soon as each God has begotten many millions of male and female spirits and His heavenly inheritance becomes too small to accommodate comfortably His great family, He in connection with His sons organizes a new world after a similar order to the one which we now inhabit, where He sends both male and female spirits to inhabit tabernacles of flesh and bones" (Apostle Orson Pratt).
How utterly foreign this is to the Bible! Our God tells us that man originated, spirit, soul and body in God's forming' man "of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul". "And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living" (Gen. 2:7; 3:20). "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second Man is the Lord from heaven" (I Cor. 15:47).
The Lord Jesus said, "I am from above; ye are of this world" (John 8:23).
ORIGIN OF THE MORMON "CHURCH"
Christ said of His Church, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Mormon teaching is that "All had gone out of the way", so God chose Joseph Smith to "reorganize" and "establish His church and prepare the way for the Redeemer's second coming" (Rays of Light, C. W. Penrose, p. 4).
Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia gives an account of how the Mormon church was organized:
"On 15, 1829, by command of an angelic messenger calling himself John the Baptist, Smith baptized Cowdery, and then Cowdery baptized Smith. And, in process of time, it is claimed, Smith received the Melchizedek priesthood at the hands of the apostles Peter. James and John. Some of the prophet's family and some of a family named Whitmer, in Fayette, N. Y., became converts; and on April 6, 1830, in Whitmer's house, the Mormon church began its history. That day it was organized with a membership of six."
We defer nauseating readers with more elaboration on Mormon weird beliefs and ways, such as their "Presidents" being 'the mouthpiece of God on earth", continuously eligible to "revelations"; the "Aaronic" and "Melchisedek" autocratic priesthood originally conferred by "angelic visitors"; "the twelve" and "the seventy" officials; the secret oaths and mysteries, with degrees of "exaltation" for the initiated; the superstitious marriage rites with absurd "endowments"; and last of all their credulous belief that when the Mormon temple at Salt Lake City is finished (invisibly) then Christ will return to set up His kingdom!
SMITH'S LUSTFUL END
In the Book of Mormon polygamy is forbidden. In earlier "revelations" of Joseph Smith it was distinctly reprobated; but it was sanctioned in a "revelation" Smith claimed to have received at Nauvoo, Ill., July 12, 1843. His death in jail by bullets from a mob can be directly attributed to this false "revelation" permitting polygamy, which suited the lusts of Smith and his cronies. We rightly say false revelation because nowhere in the Bible is it stated that God "justified" any man in having plurality of wives and concubines! We quote from "History of the Mormon Church", Vol. V. pp. 501,504, 506 as follows:
"Verily thus saith the Lord unto my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I the Lord justified my servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines; behold, I am the Lord thy God and will answer thee as touching this matter . . . . God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law . . . Abraham received concubines and they bare him children and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him and he abode in the law… If a man marry ten virgins he cannot commit adultery" (italics ours).
Imagine twisting God's truth about Abraham, who was justified by believing God, "and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness" (Rom 4:1-3)! God gave no such "command" to Abraham to take Hagar to wife. Sarah suggested it.
That God ever "justified" polygamy is an unmitigated lie. Solomon was denounced for having many wives "which turned away his heart". The Lord Jesus, as recorded in Matt. 5-8, taught that "in the beginning it was not so", that a man should have another wife; but that God had said a man "shall cleave to his wife", not wives, and that the two, not more, "shall be one flesh". Likewise the apostle Paul always spoke of the married state of man as being "a husband of one wife" (I Tim 3:2; Tit. 1:6).
Up to the time of his death we see Smith was still an immoral charlatan and deceiver!
From "Desert Saints", by Nels Anderson, p. 38, we learn that in the Mormon town of Nauvoo some insurgent Mormons wanted to expose Smith and his aides, so they bought a printing press and got out the first and only copy of the "Nauvoo Expositor". In it they charged these men with polygamy; that "whoredoms and all manner of abominations are practiced under the cloak of religion. Lo, the wolf is in the fold, arrayed in sheep's clothing". Smith was pictured among other things as an egotist, a dictator, a cheat and a perjurer. Smith asserted his dictatorship and destroyed the press and its copies. For destroying property Smith was arrested and jailed in Carthage, where he and his brother, Hyrum were shot by a mob.
"He that is of God heareth God's Words" and will not be deceived by Satan's servants, made cunning in mimicking and deceitfully handling God's Word to gain religious power over souls as well as lustful gain (see John 8:47; Eph. 4:15; II Cor. 4:2). Please read also the entire chapter of II Cor. 11. Our Lord says to all who believe on Him, "If ye continue in my Word then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"! (John 8:31, 32 ) .
The solemn warning of II Thes. 2:10-12 applies to all time, that to all who "love not the truth" (refuse to love the truth) will be sent "strong delusion that they should believe a lie"!
Reader, we pray you, Beware! Don't give place to wrath when strong delusions are exposed as such; but give place to Him who said, "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
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