Christians who haven’t studied Mormonism believe that it is another form of Christianity. When in fact, it is not. I am going to paste an outline on Mormonism by Stephen Kendrick from a series we did last summer called Hot Topics.
Please read it and decipher and study for yourself.
THE MINDSET OF MORMONISM
Outline by: Stephen Kendrick
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT MORMONS?
1. THEY CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIANS:
a. We have had sharp young men known as Mormon Missionaries visit us with shirts and ties on.
b. They claim to follow Jesus, are from the Church of Jesus Christ, and say they love Jesus with all their heart.
c. They talk about Family Values and say they follow the Bible.
d. They claim they are the church RESTORED by Jesus Christ himself by modern prophets and apostles.
2. THEY HAVE POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS
a. They are known for moving, positive TV Commercials and clean and healthy living.
b. They make beautiful music with their famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and sing familiar hymns.
c. They are rapidly growing in countries all over the world and in all 50 states.
d. They spend millions of dollars every year to look “Christian” and not like a cult.
e. Mormonism was: “Made in the USA”
3. THEY HAVE LARGE INFLUENCE:
a. The LDS church has over 60,000 missionaries constantly witnessing throughout the world.
b. They boast a membership of 7 million worldwide.
c. 4th largest religion in US; LDS assets were a minimum of $30 billion in 1997.
d. Brigham Young University: is known for academic excellence and successful athletics.
e. Steven Covey is a well known Mormon, author of 7 Habits of the Highly Effective People
f. Marriott Hotel Chain is operated by Mormons.
g. Senators: Orin Hatch and Governor Mitt Romney are famous Mormon politicians.
4. THEY TARGET CHRISTIAN CHURCH MEMBERS:
a. Their missionaries will visit evangelical churches and check out their services.
b. Most Mormon converts come from Christian churches.
c. They baptize 300,000 members from Christian denominations every year.
d. People are invited in the Visitors Center on Temple Square in the Mormon church in Salt Lake city.
e. They have statues of Jesus / Familiar Scriptures and you hear comforting Mormon Testimonies.
f. You will see Paintings familiar with NT teachings. They carefully leave out most Mormon Teachings and artwork.
WHAT IS MORMONISM?
1. A religion founded upon the teachings of Joseph Smith (1805-1844)
2. Known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Headquartered in Salt Lake City Utah)
WHERE DID IT COME FROM? – Joseph Smith (From the Mormon Puzzle by NAMB)
1. Mormon History: In the Spring of 1820 Joseph Smith claims he had a vision of Jesus and God. When Joseph Smith was 15 years old, he said that he prayed “Which church should I join?” He claims that God the Father and Jesus appeared to him in a dramatic bright light. He claims that God said to him, “Don’t join any, they are all wrong. All their creeds are an abomination in my sight.” Note: This claim disagrees with Jesus statement in Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” KJV
2. Smith claims that “Jesus” told him that all of Christianity was apostate and that he, Joseph Smith, would be guided to the truth and restore the true church. Smith said he waited patiently for 3 years for his next vision.
3. On September 21, 1823, Smith claimed an angel (a resurrected being) named Moroni, appeared to him telling him the location of certain hidden golden plates. On these plates were supposedly written the text of the Mormon scriptures.
4. In 1827, Smith claimed he was miraculously able to translate the plates into King James English.
5. In 1830, the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published. Smith also claimed that John the Baptist appeared to him and conferred the authority of the Aaronic priesthood on himself and Oliver Calgary. He claimed that Peter, James, and John also appeared to him to restore the Melchizadek Priesthood.
6. In April 6, 1830 – He started the Restored church of Christ – Joseph Smith and 5 others. After experiencing opposition, Joseph and his followers, left N.Y. and moved to Ohio and then Missouri.
7. Finally in 1839, they settled on the banks of the Mississippi river and established the Community of Navoo in Illinois. Here,
Smith in 1840, introduced secret teachings to his church like plural marriages or Polygamy.
8. In June of 1844 a group of disgruntled Mormons set up a newspaper and exposed these secret teachings. Smith reacted violently and ordered the destruction of the press. This got him throne in jail in Carthage Illinois.
9. On June 27,1844 – an angry mob stormed the door killing Joseph and his brother. He became a martyr for the Mormon faith.
10. After his death, most Mormons followed Brigham Young, a senior apostle of the church. Young led the 600 people left on a trip West searching for a new home.
11. In July 1847, Young declared the Salt Lake Valley Area in Utah as the Mormon’s new home.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT JOSEPH SMITH?
1. As a young man, Joseph Smith started out as a money digger, soothsayer, and palm reader. He was very creative and involved in magic. Smith was inconsistent in his stories and his claims. He rewrote his revelations and changed his doctrines over time.
2. He liked power. He set up a secret theocratic government and had himself ordained King.
3. From 1831-1844, he said he received 135 direct revelations from God, and dead spirits including Peter, James, John the Baptist. (Doctrine and Covenants) There are at least 6 contradictory versions of this key event.
DID JESUS APPEAR TO SMITH?
Jesus said not to believe those who claim that He has shown up before the second coming. Matt 24:23 ” Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘ There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 “Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 ” For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. NASU
IF AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN REALLY CAME TO SMITH, DOES THAT MAKE THE MESSAGE TRUE?
Galatians 1:6-9 – I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! NASU
HISTORICAL BELIEFS CLAIMED IN BOOK OF MORMON:
1. Smith claimed that the golden tablets he discovered contained the historical record of a tribe of Jewish people known as the NEPHITES, who migrated to America. The book of Mormon claims a group of people known as the Jeradites migrated to the new world following the Tower of Babel.
2. Centuries later, they destroyed themselves in a massive civil war. They say, 2 million died in a single battle on a hill called Cumorah. A Jewish family from Jerusalem migrated to the Americas around 600 BC. The father was Nehi, from his righteous son Nephi came a white skinned people. His rebellious sons Laman and Lemuel fathered the Lamanite nation, who were cursed with a dark skin for their rebelliousness. The 2 nations fought constantly.
3. The Book of Mormon goes on to claim that in AD 34, Jesus Christ, after his death and resurrection visited the Nephites and Lamanites and brought centuries of peace. But eventually they fought again on the Hill Cumorah and the Lamanites slaughtered the Nephites and killed all of them except for one man named Moroni. The Lamanites went on to become the Indians.
4. 1400 years later, Moroni appeared as an angel to young Joseph Smith Jr. and told him where some golden plates were and that it contained the historical record of the Americas. After receiving the plates on the hill Cumorah, Smith claimed to translate the ancient record into English. From this came the Book of Mormon in 1830. They claim this story is a true and accurate History of Ancient America. Mormons say the Bible is a historical account of the Old World and the Book of Mormon is the Historical Account of the New World.
COMPARING THE HISTORICAL RECORDS OF THE BIBLE TO BOOK OF MORMON:
(From The Bible Vs. The Book of Mormon / by Living Hope Ministries / Copyright 2005 / http://www.lhvm.org)
Most of the Bible takes place around the Mediterranean Sea, Israel, and Canaan. The Bible speaks of the Jordan River, Dead Sea, Israel, Assyria, Babylon. All line up with maps and current understanding of the area. Valleys in the Bible are next to the cities that are true to life now. The people left tombs, houses, walls, remains, coins, pottery, wreckage, armor, arrow heads, and other artifacts. No map lines up with the Book of Mormon. The Jeradites, Lamanites, and Nephites supposedly lived for 1000 years and left NO traces of themselves. No maps, tombs, remains, artifacts – nothing. Compare the two.
1. In the Bible: Shiloh, Jericho, Jerusalem, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Ararat, Capur, Nazareth. They are still called the same names today, 3000 years later.
2. The Book of Mormon: Nephi, Sidon, Manti, Zerahemlah, Bountiful (30 major cities). Yet, no evidence of any of them exists outside of the book of Mormon.
1. In the Bible: The biblical world matches Israel. Animals and plants agree as well.
2. In the Book of Mormon: Battles on Horses, Wheat, Barley, Elephants, Ore, Gold Coins, Silver – Metallurgy lasting for 1000 years. Yet, no evidence of any of them. Horses did not arrive to America until hundreds of years later than the book of Mormon claims.
1. Bible: We have 5500 manuscripts / Dead Sea Scrolls
2. Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith Claims the people in wrote things down. No Manuscripts and no golden plates.
1. Bible speaks of Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic. All exists and are used today.
2. Book of Mormon claims it came from Reformed Egyptian – No one has heard of it.
1. Bible: Copper, Silver coins. All are being found constantly by archeologists today.
2. Mormon: Nephite Metallic Coinage. Where are they?
6. BATTLES: :
1. Bible speaks of many wars. Jesus’ claimed Temple would fall. – All are evident today.
2. Book of Mormon: 2 Million people dying in huge battles. But we find No Swords, No Spears, No chariots, No Arrow Heads, No mass graves. Where are they?
1. Bible talks about the Temple Mount – still exists today.
2. Book of Mormon claims Nehi rebuilt a Temple Like Solomon. Where is it? Not only that, but a major problem arises since Jews were not aloud to build another temple outside of Jerusalem.
8. JESUS’ PRESENCE:
1. BIBLE: Christian and Non Christian Text talk about Jesus living in Israel. Jews and non-Jews talk about Jesus living in Israel. The secular writer, Josephus, who lived in 1st century wrote about Jesus as well.
2. Book of Mormon claims Jesus was in America. There is no evidence of Christianity in America until the Europeans came. The Indians had no evidence of practice of Christianity or knowledge of it. Why?
9. RESEARCH AND REPUTATION:
1. Thomas Stuart Ferguson and BYU spent millions of dollars looking for evidence. Never found any.
2. Smithsonian Institute:
a. Books of the Bible are often used as a guide to archaeological research.
b. They never use Book of Mormon. None of the cities, artifacts, claims can be found.
DID JOSEPH SMITH MAKE UP THESE PLACES AND CLAIMS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON?
Joseph Smith’s mother wrote of him: “Joseph as a boy would give the most amusing recitals imaginable as he would describe the ancient inhabitants of the country, their dress, mode of travel, and the animals on which they rode. Their buildings, their cities, their mode of warfare, and also their religious worship he would do with as much ease as if he had spent his whole life with them.” (From The Truth about Mormonism by Hugh Pyle, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Page 57)
1. GRAMMAR: Book of Mormon claims “Every letter and every word” – Joseph Smith claimed was from God to Joseph Smith. Yet, the Book of Mormon had bad grammar and bad English except when he would quote the KJV Bible. Ultimately the Mormon church had to make some 4,000 changes in grammar, punctuation, and word structure to clean it up. Yet, his grammar was perfect when he copied verbatim from the KJV Bible.
2. EYE WITNESSES: Smith claimed to have 3 witnesses to see the golden plates. One said, he saw them through the eyes of faith. The other two said they saw them wrapped up or covered. Another Mormon document claims that 8 witnesses saw Smith’s plates. The stories have been changed over time.
IS MORMONISM CHRISTIAN OR A CULT? WHAT IS THEIR THEOLOGY?
(Adapted From Mormonism: Christian or Cult by Ed Decker: http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/christianorcult.htm)
1. Mormon theology claims God is a physical being rather than spiritual. Since gods are localized and physical, once they attain the state of godhood, they become sexually active begetting spirit children with their celestial wives. These spirit children then have an opportunity to inhabit a physical body on a physical earth in order to attain their godhood and continue the process. These claims are not backed up by the Bible, Jesus’ teaching, or the Apostle’s teachings.
2. In Mormonism, there are many gods. (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp308,474)
a. The Bible Says: There was, is, and always will be ONE God. (Isaiah 43:10-11;44:6-8, 45:5-6, 18-22; Deut. 6:4, 32:39, James 2:19, 1 Timothy 2:5)
b. Isaiah 43:10-13 – “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. 11 “I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me.
c. Isaiah 44:6 – “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
d. ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. NASU
e. 1 Tim 2:4-6 – For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Nasu.
3. In Mormonism, God was once a man. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp 305)
The Bible: God has always been God from all eternity to all eternity and never a man.
(Psalm 41:13, 90:2, 102:25-27; Romans 1:22-23)
3. Mormonism teaches that each god is evolving. God was once a man, having been created by another god. But by self-perfection , this man finally evolved into absolute godhood.
These claims disagree with scripture:
a. Ps 41:13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. NASU
b. Ps 90:2 – Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. NASU
c. Hebrews 13:8 – 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. NASU
d. Rom 1:20-23 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. NASU
4. In Mormonism, God the Father is limited and has a body of flesh and bones. (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22)
Mormonism claims the universe is filled with a vast number of intelligences that sustain and honor Elohim as God. If he ever does anything wrong, these intelligences will withdraw their support and he will not be God anymore and his power would disintegrate. He is limited by space. He cannot be in more than one place at one time.
However, in the Bible: God is infinite, is a spirit (without flesh and bones), and has no limitations. (2 Chronicles 6:18; Psalm 139:4-8; Jeremiah 23:24, Luke 24:39)
a. Psalm 139- Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
b. Jeremiah 23:24 – Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD. NASU
c. John 4 – God is Spirit / Luke 24:39 – A Spirit does not have flesh and bones.
5. In Mormonism, Man can become Gods. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, pg 306)
The Bible: It is Satan’s lie that man can become a god.
(Genesis 3: 1-5, Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:1-10)
6. Other Beliefs of Mormonism:
a. Jesus is a saved being. Because Jesus was only one more spirit offspring of the male and female gods, He too had to earn His salvation which He worked out on earth. After His resurrection, He gained all power in Heaven. By obedience and devotion to the truth, He attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked Him as a God. He is not unique, but is like other men.
b. Mormons do not refer to Christ as a “greater” being than other spirit children of the male and female earth gods. As a spirit child he has the exact nature as other and this is one reason why Mormons refer to Him as their “elder brother”.
c. Mormons accept the birth of Jesus Christ through sexual intercourse between God (Elohim) and Mary. Since God is a procreating personage of flesh and bone, the Holy Spirit was not the father of Jesus.
d. Mormons have also taught that Jesus Christ was a polygamist having several wives.
e. In summary Jesus is viewed as a sexually created spirit brother of Satan, a possible polygamist, and one of many gods who earned salvation, immortality and godhood.
f. Mormonism teaches God has many wives who are eternally pregnant.
g. Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers. Satan tried to become Savior be was outvoted.
(What does John 3:16 say?) Only begotten Son of God. Satan was a created angel. Jesus was Creator of all things and
in Him all the fullness of God dwells.)
h. Mormons deny the virgin birth. Elohim has relations with Mary to impregnate her.
i. Mormons teach Jesus was married. He was the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana of Galilee. (Marriage in a LDS temple is mandatory to progress to become a god in Mormonism).
j. Mormonism teaches that book of Mormon, not the Bible is the final authority. (Ask them to show you where the errors exist. Most of the doctrines added by Mormonism are not in the book of Mormon either – though they said it contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel.)
k. Mormonism teaches all churches are false except for the Mormon church. (Pearl of Great Price, 2:19) “They claim it is the only true and living church in the whole world. – Doctrines and Covenants)
l. Mormonism teaches that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. – Contrary to Matthew and Luke.
m. Mormonism teaches that truth comes from one’s own heart – a burning in the bosom. (Pro. 24:26, Jer. 17:9) They will say, “I just know in my heart that this is true.” Yet, Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful, who can know it? Proverbs 28:26 – He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: KJV
UNDERSTANDING MORMON VOCABULARY: (Adapted from John Ankerberg’s, Facts on Mormonism pgs.10-11)
Mormons use Christian vocabulary, but have changed the meanings of the words. Below is a list of their definitions of commonly used Christian words:
1. Christianity: sectarianism; a false and damnable apostate religion.
2. God: “Elohim” one of innumerable self-progressing bodily deities, formerly a man, a finite limited creature.
3. Jesus Christ: a self-progressing deity, the brother of Satan, (Jehovah of the Old Testament) and the first spirit child of Elohim and his wife.
4. The Holy Ghost: a man with a spiritual body of matter.
5. The Trinity: three gods, not one (tri-theistic), the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are separate gods.
6. The Gospel: Mormon theology teaching a salvation by works from Joseph Smith.
7. Born Again: Water baptism into Mormonism.
8. Atonement: God’s provision for people to earn their salvation by “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith, 3)]
9. True Salvation / Redemption: Exaltation to Godhood in the highest part of the celestial kingdom based upon individual good works and personal merit. Exaltation includes ruling a new world and sexual procreation in order to produce spirit children who will eventually embody and inhabit your new world. Each having the opportunity to be exalted.
10. Heaven: 3 “kingdoms of heaven” including the lower telestial, the middle Terrestrial, and the upper Celestial. The lowest kingdom of glory is called the “telestial” kingdom. It is the place of the wicked where most of humanity will reside. These are excluded from the presence of God and Christ. The kingdom above this is the “terrestrial” kingdom of glory. This is where lukewarm Mormons, good non-Mormons, and those who accept Mormonism after death go. The highest kingdom is the “celestial” kingdom. This is gained by complete obedience to the Mormon gospel law. This kingdom has three parts but only in the highest of these three is where salvation in its fullest sense is found. Salvation in its truest sense if attaining absolute godhood and eternal sexual increase.
11. Hell: a place like purgatory; primarily for apostate Mormons, possibly eternal for a very few.
12. Virgin Birth: The birth of Jesus through the physical sex act between God and Mary. Hence, not really a virgin birth.
13. Man: a pre-existent spirit with the potential to earn Godhood by obedience to Mormon dictates.
14. The Scriptures: the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly.” (Articles of Faith, 8). They also believe all the sermons of Brigham Young had the authority of scripture.
15. The Bible: The erring and often unreliable inspired record, properly interpreted only by Mormons and only in light of Mormon Theology.
Note: After 2000 years of agreement in the church concerning the meanings of these words, Joseph Smith comes along and changes all the definitions.
1. You would never come to Mormon conclusions by reading the Bible alone.
2. Mormons use much of our same vocabulary, but have developed completely different definitions.
3. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible.
4. Mormon Theology is contrary to the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Apostles.
5. Mormon Salvation is a works salvation that is contrary to the Gospel of grace. (Romans 1, Ephesians 2:8-9)
6. There is no historical, literary, or archaeological evidence that the Nephites or Lamanites ever existed.
7. Mormonism qualifies as a cult based upon the four common attributes of cults:
Mormonism adds to the Scriptures.
Mormonism takes away from the deity of Christ as the only begotten Son of God.
Mormonism multiplies works for salvation.
Mormonism divides loyalties from God and puts them on their church and their leaders.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES FOR FUTURE STUDY:
1. The Mormon Puzzle: Understanding Mormons (Video) by North American Mission Board. 1-866-407-NAMB
2. The Truth About Mormonism, By Hugh Pyle/ Sword of the Lord Publishers. Murfreesboro, TN. 1987
3. The Bible Vs. The Book of Mormon, (DVD) Living Hope Ministries. Copyright 2005 http://www.lhvm.org
4. The Facts on the Mormon Church, by John Ankerberg and John Weldon. Harvest House. Orgeon. 1991
5. Mormonism: Christian or Cult, Article by Ed Decker: http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/christianorcult.htm
6. The Marks of a Cult: A Biblical Analysis, (DVD) by The Apologetics Group. 2005. http://www.apologeticsgroup.com
7. Study: The Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter R. Martin. Bethany House Publishers. 1965. 1977
8. Articles on Mormonism http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=articles.mormon / http://www.watchmanfellowship.com
9. DNA Vs. The Book of Mormon, (DVD) Living Hope Ministries. Copyright 2003 http://www.lhvm.org
10. Letters to a Mormon Elder, by James R. White. Bethany House Publishers. Copyright 1993
11. A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell / Compiled by Bill Wilson. Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1993
12. What Ever Mormon Should Know, by Edmond C. Gruss. Accent Books. Denver. Colorado 1975
13. Know the Marks of Cults by Dave Breese. Victor Books. Wheaten, Illinois. 1986