November 26, 2012

Counterfeit Religions XI: Mormonism

Mormonism also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) formed in the 19th Century. Where most Mormons would make claims to be a part of the Christian tradition, most Christians that would truly understand their Bibles would have no issue stating the contrary. One of the primary reasons I and other Christians would deny them the designation of Christian is their denial of the Trinity or God being three persons in One Being. Although Mormons have many Christian-like behaviors, their overt denial of the Trinity and rather radical views of the Holy Spirit and the afterlife put Mormons well outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy and plants them firmly in the realm of the cults.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19

“…and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22

Joseph Smith founded the Latter Day Saints movement in the 1820’s. According to Mormon tradition, while living in upstate New York, Smith found several gold plates that contained writings by the prophet Mormon that he had been directed to by an angel. Smith also claimed that God granted him the ability to translate and interpret the plates, which he called the Book of Mormon, named after the ancient prophet Mormon who had compiled them.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints uses this collection of writings (The Book or Mormon) in addition to their translation of the Old and New Testaments called the New World Translation (NWT). Mormons consider the Book of Mormon to be the direct word of God. This of course flies directly in the face of real Christian Scripture which tells Christians in the Book of Revelation:

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. Revelation 22:18-19

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

In Kirtland, Ohio, Joseph Smith started a church where people were converted to Mormonism and he began to establish the community of believers in what was believed to be a new Zion. Smith believed that God called him to establish the new Promised Land. Smith commissioned the building of a Mormon temple to symbolize the new community bond. It is at this point persecutions of Mormons began in earnest when non-Mormons in the area began to disapprove of the expansion. Things got so bad that these Latter Day Saints needed to move to Nauvoo, Illinois. Again they tried to build another temple in Illinois. It is at this point Smith announced his candidacy for president of the United States in 1844.  Also in 1844, Smith and the LDS community severely angered non-Mormons by destroying a printing press after it was used to publish articles critical of Smith's power and practice of polygamy. During the resultant turmoil, Smith was imprisoned and later murdered when a mob stormed the jailhouse.

Somewhere right around this time frame Smith established a church overseeing body of what appears to have been elders called the Quorum. The Quorum consisted of twelve apostles, one of whom was Brigham Young. Brigham Young immediately faced opposition from the non-Mormon community and believed it was important to avoid conflict due to what had just transpired with Smith so once again the Mormons relocated the community, this time they settled in Utah which is where they have been based from since. In Utah the Mormons via Young established what amounted to a theocracy, holding authority in both the church and government.

Over time, the Mormon community began to experience resistance from both internal and external sources over their unbiblical practice of polygamy and other questionable practices. In 1890, the federal government seized all of the church's assets. It is at this point Joseph F. Smith went before the United States Congress and publicly opposed the practice of plural marriage, and ever since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially rejects the practice of plural marriage. Whether or not they actually adhere to this declaration is another story.


…and this is where it gets really strained and hard to believe. Mormons see themselves as Protestant Christians. The problem is that there are Mormon beliefs that clearly differ from true biblical Christian orthodoxy and doctrine. Their most glaring theological error is denial of the Trinity. Mormons believed that the early Christian Church was corrupt, so they reject both the Nicene Creed. Most Protestant Christians believe that corruption later in the history of the church was possible but the least corrupt era during the church was the early nascent church or the time of the Church Fathers. It wasn’t until the combination of Church and State and the Romanizing of the Church that we see real Protestant Christians start to diverge from the true Catholic (worldwide) church. Because the Mormons distrust and rejected things like the Nicene Creed they would therefore reject things like the concept of the Trinity which is clearly stated in the Nicene Creed by delineating the three persons within the Trinity. There are some branches of the LDS church that believes that each form possesses its own divinity in a form of modalism. Some Mormons believe that the Father was once in physical form and had sexual relations with Mary to conceive Jesus.

Mormons (and possibly loony readers of the Da Vinci Code) are unique in their belief that Jesus was married, they also believe that Jesus came to the Americas after he was crucified, buried, and resurrected. How He could do this (possibly twice) after He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and the Bible explicitly tells us that He died once for all (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10, Hebrews 7:27, 9:28)…is a little shady and frankly…preposterous. It is also claimed in the Book of Mormon that the people of the Americas lived in perfect peace for more than 200 years after Jesus appeared to them.

Mormons also believe that all souls have always existed; thus, they are not created. This is another heresy unique to the Mormons. If our souls have always existed that would make people’s souls eternal not just immortal. This is only possible for an eternal God…not people. But of course this is where the Mormon beliefs diverge from weird to outright nutty. If they are eternal or have always existed then the possibility of people becoming gods (little “g”) comes in view. And wouldn’t you know it…that’s exactly what Mormons believe! Strange as it may seem, they believe that God evolved from human form and they also believe that all Mormons can evolve into gods (lower case "g", and plural). Real Christians see this for the absurdity that it is. A true Christian understands that it is only through Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the Cross that we are even deemed righteous in the eyes of God let alone divine. We are human and will always be a created being. God is wholly other and is not created.

Mormons claim that a prophet by the name of Mormon and a Prophet/Warrior name Moroni collected the stories in ancient times and carved them into seven golden plates, which would later be “discovered” by Joseph Smith. The would be found by Smith at the direction of the Angel Moroni (yes, the same guy after he dies). The Book of Mormon tells of the account of the ancient people (Native Americans) of the Americas up through an account of Jesus's visit to North and South America. The book of Mormon begins with the story of a man named Lehi, who was told by God to build a boat, take his family, and sail to the Americas. Lehi obeyed, so his family prospered.

Strangely, what I believe we see in Mormonism is an early American version of Star Trek’s Borg and the hive mentality too. Although Mormons do not believe in icons like a cross being allowed in church because they believe it is a form of idolatry and idol worship, they do have symbols within their religion that are prominent. One of which is the seagull and the other is a beehive. The beehive is significant not only because Mormons carried bees with them as they relocated to Utah but also because the beehive symbolizes industriousness and obedience. Oddly enough…just like the Borg in Star Trek. It is a collective worker mentality. Mormons strive to work together, as does a hive of bees, with the result being a supposed unified or familial moral harmony (or should I say uniformity to nearly a ritualistic and blind degree?).

On the issue of polygamy it should be stated that Joseph Smith and early adherents clearly advocated plural marriages. He believed it would quickly expand the numbers of Mormon believers. Another unbiblical practice of the Mormons was/is the baptism of the dead which supposedly gives deceased people like family members a chance to gain entry into heaven or the kingdom of God.

Another little known but sad and racist fact about Mormons is that they shunned people of darker skin for many years. Mormons believed that dark skin was a physical representation of the legacy or “mark of Cain”. Since Cain killed Abel, Mormons believed he was cursed by God. Therefore, dark-skinned people carried this association and were avoided by many Mormons. It was not until 1978 that African-Americans were permitted to become part of the priesthood of believers. Lovely.

There are other things that could be said about Mormons and their flawed belief system like the fact that pagan symbols akin to Freemasonry abound in their faith (pentagrams, all-seeing eye, etc.),  but this threads the needle too close to conspiracy theories for my liking. What I have provided here speaks volumes in itself. From the outside they seem Christian-like but as soon as closer scrutiny is placed on them they fall woefully short of Scripture.

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