The name “Mormon” is not objectionable to most of the Latter Day Saints. Dean B. Cleverly, executive assistant in the Missionary Department of the Latter Day Saints Stake in Bountiful, Utah, responded to a question as to the appropriateness of using the name “Mormon” to designate Latter Day Saints. He wrote,
“The early members of the latter-day Church were nicknamed ‘Mormons,’ because they accepted the Book of Mormon as a companion volume of scripture to the Bible. Originally a term of contempt, the nickname was soon accepted and used rather freely by the Latter-day Saints.” (Ensign, December 1983, page 29).
We certainly mean no disrespect in our use of the term and use it as Cleverly says is an accepted practice among the Mormons. Mormons are some of the finest people on earth, morally speaking. They are industrious and zealous for their cause. Their roots go back to a man named Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith is considered by them as the first prophet, seer, and president of Mormonism. He claimed he received a direct visitation and revelation from Jesus Christ directed to one Sidney Rigson at Hiram, Ohio, December 1, 1831. Here is the “revelation.”
“Wherefore, labor ye in my vineyard. Call upon the inhabitants of the earth and bear record, and prepare the way for the commandments and revelations which are to come. Now, behold this is wisdom; whoso readeth, let him understand and receive also; For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power. Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord. Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you -- there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time. Wherefore, keep my commandments; they are true and faithful. Even so. Amen.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 71, verses 4-11, page 115).
The alleged revelation was not intended for Rigdon alone. The Lord supposedly said, “Now behold this is wisdom; whoso readeth...” This includes all who accept this as a legitimate revelation from Christ. The one who reads is to understand the message, receives even more power. The Mormon today who believes this was a revelation from Christ is not afforded the option of deciding whether the circumstances are right for a public or private attack against those who deny their doctrinal positions. They have no choice, for to them, the Lord has plainly commanded it.
Orson Pratt was one of the original Twelve Apostles of Mormonism and a prolific writer and speaker. He wrote in regard to the Book of Mormon,
“The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved and receive it. Therefore, every soul in all the world is equally interested in ascertaining its truth or falsity.” (A Series of Pamphlets, R. James, Liverpool, 1851, “Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” page 1).
The late Bruce McKonkie, also an Apostle of Mormonism wrote,
“The plain fact is that salvation itself is at stake in this matter. If the Book of Mormon is true -- if it is a volume of holy scripture, if it contains the mind and will and voice of the Lord to all men, if it is a divine witness of the prophetic call of Joseph Smith -- then to accept it and believe its doctrines is to be saved, and to reject it and walk contrary to its teachings is to be damned.
“Let this message be sounded in every ear with an angelic trump; let it roll round the earth in resounding claps of never-ending thunder; let it be whispered in every heart by the still, small voice. Those who believe the Book of Mormon and accept Joseph Smith as a prophet thereby open the door to salvation; those who reject the book outright or who simply fail to learn its message and believe its teachings never so much as begin to travel that course along the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life.” (Ensign, November 1983, page 72).
Separated by over 130 years, two of Mormonism’s most vocal Apostles have unequivocally drawn the line in sharp focus. Either we accept Mormonism, which is based on approval of the claims of Joseph Smith, Jr., and believe the Book of Mormon to be divinely inspired and revealed or we will be lost forever.
The statements of Pratt and McKonkie remove the issue from the optional. It is no longer a matter that you can be right and turn down the claims of Mormonism. You cannot be saved if you reject their message, according to two of the highest officials Mormonism has ever produced.
Generally, the Mormons with whom most of us are familiar are clean shaven, healthy young people who know very little of true Mormonism. This is not said to their discredit. They are energetic and zealous. Most of them simply do not know the basic facts about their own religion. The last thing most of them would ever dream of saying is that you cannot be saved and reject their message. But that is exactly what the highest officials of their religion have repeated over many years.
The prophet himself is on record on this point in very clear language. His explanation of his own condition just prior to receiving the angelic visitations reads like this.
“My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith, 1:8-10).
The “prophet” went on to conclude, “they were all wrong...” (verse 20). Smith was forbidden by an alleged divine personage to join any of the existing churches, thus was to establish the one true church, The Latter Day Saints.
There is nothing wrong with claiming to be uniquely the one true church. The Roman Catholic Church has held this view of themselves for centuries. But to claim it and not be willing to admit or defend it is repulsive. For to claim to have all the true teaching of the Lord essential to the salvation of the world, and then be unwilling to defend it, even in accord with the instructions of the Lord Himself, is weak and unworthy of anything remotely related to Deity.
If the claims of Joseph Smith, Jr., the writings of two of Mormonism’s most prestigious alleged “Apostles,” and the written revelations of Mormonism are all true, then all religious confessions and communities are false, belong to Satan and salvation is only among those who follow the Mormon line.
What evidence is there to verify the Mormon claim?
The first evidence upon which Mormonism must base its claim is the Book of Mormon itself, the other revelations they claim were given to them by God, and that Joseph Smith, Jr. did, in fact, receive the visit from the angel Moroni. This can also be reduced to one simple fact: do you believe Joseph Smith, Jr. or not? If one accepts his testimonies, then there will be nothing to hinder one’s acceptance of the Book of Mormon (as well as all the other revelations) as divine gifts from God Almighty.
Another evidence upon which Mormonism stands is their claim to having restored the church Jesus established. We will examine only the Book of Mormon for now. If the credibility of that book is destroyed, the entire structure of Mormonism crumbles.
To Mormons, anything spoken or written by Joseph Smith, Jr. has the same weight as anything spoken or written by the true biblical prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. Anything spoken or written by any of their Twelve Apostles carries the same authority today as what was spoken or written by the Apostles of Christ in the first century.
A true prophet is a speaker for God and a genuine Apostle is a spokesman for Christ. When Moses expressed his lack of confidence in his ability to speak for God, God promised to be with his mouth (Exo. 4:10-11). Aaron, his brother, became his prophet (Exo. 7:1-2). Mormons claim their “quorum of the twelve” occupy the place they opine the apostles vacated and that the present president occupies the same place as Joseph Smith, Jr.
Mormonism is based on alleged continued revelation from Heaven to mankind and claims to be the only way there is for mankind to enjoy salvation. Those who reject it, according to the direct statements of Mormon leaders, are lost and will never enjoy salvation.
The single best way to show the error of Mormonism is to show the basic flaw in the Book of Mormon itself. If the book is flawed, the religion drawn from it cannot be true. It is not necessary, as Mormon “missionarys” ask you, to read the book and then ask God to reveal to you directly whether it is true or not. The book cannot be true. The following will prove that beyond any reasonable doubt.
The Book of Mormon proposes to reveal God’s dealings with the Americas. It relates a story of expeditions from the middle east to the Americas, the last of which occurred somewhere between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D. It further purports to restore certain truths that were taken out of the Bible (1 Nephi 13:26- 28).
The Book of Mormon lays the responsibility for these removals of truth on the doorstep of the “abominable church,” which very likely was the Catholic Church. The story is of the family of a prophet named Lehi. They sailed across the Atlantic Ocean by divine help and guidance and landed safely in the Americas. The precise location is a matter of study still among Mormons.
The Book of Mormon starts by relating what Lehi did before the journey to the Americas. While still in the wilderness of Judea, Lehi was instructed to kill a man named Zoram and take brass plates containing the law of Moses from him. Lehi discovered that the plates contained not only the books of the Law, but also a record of the Jews from the beginning to the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah. (1 Nehpi 5:11-12).
Lehi found something even more interesting. He found prophecies from some of the prophets and especially prophecies of Jeremiah. But even more interesting to him personally, he found a genealogy of his fathers and discovered that “he was a descendant of Joseph; yea even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord.” (verse 14). Please keep this clearly before you for a few minutes.
Still near Jerusalem, Lehi and some Ishmaelites gave thanks and offered sacrifices unto the Lord their God, “and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him” (1 Nephi 7:22). During their sojourn in the wilderness two sons, Joseph and Jacob, were born (1 Nephi 18:7). The ship was finally sea-worthy and underway. The little band ultimately reached “the promised land.” Immediately upon arrival, Nephi wrote down an accurate record of his family lineage, with very careful attention paid to his father’s genealogy (1 Nephi 19:1-2).
Family disputes and differences caused a split between Nephi and his brother Laman. Nehpi and his tribe kept the Law of Moses with them and built a temple of worship. They also kept certain other records. Nephi seems to have spent considerable time recording various conversations and events. His collection of metal plates was probably quite sizable at the time of the family split. He claims that he and his family “did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the Law of Moses” (2 Nephi 5:10). Please keep this clearly in your mind.
The most egregious and obvious blunder in the entire Mormon plot is displayed in the next item. After making grandiose claims to keeping the Law of Moses in all things, Nephi reports:
“I, Nephi, did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people” (II Nephi 5:26).
Now, to those things we have clearly in mind -- Lehi was a descendant of Joseph, not Levi. All of his sons, including Joseph and Jacob, were also not descendants of Levi. They had a complete copy of the Law of Moses with them. That law specifically stated,
“And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death” (Num. 23:10).
The priesthood coming from Aaron had to be of the tribe of Levi (Exo. 4:14). Nephi broke the commandments at least three ways. First he installed men into the priesthood who were not sons of Aaron. Second he did not slay them after they came nigh to do the priest’s work. Third, he lied about his careful observation of the law of Moses.
Hebrews 7:13-14 affirms that Jesus could not have been what Nephi made Joseph and Jacob do. Jesus could not have been a priest under the Law because he came from Judah, “of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.” What is said of Juda is true of Joseph.
The Book of Mormon represents God Almighty as instituting, approving, and blessing a new priesthood in the descendants of Joseph, not Levi. Even though the Law of Moses specified that anyone other than a Levite or a son of Aaron should approach the office of priest would die, the Book of Mormon represents God as blessing one of another tribe who became a priest.
If Nehpi told the truth, when he claimed to have an accurate copy of the Law of Moses and that he kept it meticulously, he sinned when he installed non-Levites as priests. There is no reasonable answer any Mormon can give to this dilemma.
Other doctrinal errors of Mormonism include their concept of God. They do not believe in just one God – they have a multiplicity of gods. And, they believe their gods are all in a state of eternal progression.
The doctrine of genealogies, temple marriages, and a host of other views can all be answered. There are not only contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, there are many contradictions between the Book of Mormon, and another book they called inspired, Doctrine and Covenants With Pearl of Great Price. This refutation of their position is sufficient.
If you have any question at all about this topic, or if you would like extra study materials on it, contact us. Questions about this article are welcome. Email: Valley Church
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