Earlier post: "Bob Jones, III, for Mitt Romney: Mormonism"
I read the Book of Mormon, which the Mormons call "another Gospel of Jesus Christ," some 35 years ago. I read it out of curiosity. I had many Mormon friends and was in school with many Mormons. I considered it part of being well-read and well educated—self-educated since there was no way that the Book of Mormon, The Bible, Qur'an, Vedas, or the like, had been offered in what are termed U.S. public schools (secular). I've always considered that a huge error. One can't even begin to understand history and be best educated without learning about the religions of the world. Jesus knew about the competing religions.
Given all the religions of the world being offered to the children, real Christianity would always come out on top. That's why religion is kept out. We won't go into that here now though.
This is a continuation of the subject of Mormonism.
Learning about what goes on inside Mormonism is like pulling teeth. They are that secretive. Negative criticisms have been leveled against them over the decades, and as the general population has changed, the Mormon leadership has become more skilled at denying or re-couching Mormon doctrines, etc.
The place to start is with the Book of Mormon. The easiest way to tell what it is in a nutshell is to just reproduce here what the Mormons have written.
The following comes directly from the official website of the LDS Church:
As part of the Restoration of the gospel, God brought forth the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. By the power of God, Joseph Smith translated this book from an ancient record written on gold plates. The Book of Mormon is "a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness [sic] of the everlasting gospel" (Introduction to the Book of Mormon).
The Book of Mormon is a powerful witness of Jesus Christ. It helps us understand His teachings, including those in the Bible. Examples of Book of Mormon witnesses of Christ include:
Nephi, who saw the birth and death of Christ in a vision (1 Nephi 11:13–15).
The brother of Jared, who saw the Lord because of his great faith (Ether 3:7–16).
The prophet Samuel the Lamanite, who prophesied of Christ's coming and gave the signs of His birth and death (Helaman 13–14).
Christ Himself, who, after His Resurrection, appeared to the people of ancient America and invited them to come forward one by one to see and touch Him until "they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves" (3 Nephi 11:13–17).
In the Bible, Jesus told His Apostles, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). Soon after He was resurrected, the Lord visited these "other sheep"—the inhabitants of ancient America. During this visit to the American continent (recorded in the Book of Mormon), Jesus Christ:
Invited people to feel the wound marks in His hands and feet and side.
Taught His gospel.
Called twelve disciples to teach His gospel.
Healed the sick.
Prayed for the people.
In September 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by a heavenly messenger named Moroni, in the same way that angels often appeared to Church leaders in the New Testament. Moroni informed Joseph that God had a work for him to do and told him that a record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent was buried in a nearby hill. He stated that the record contained the fulness [sic] of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Joseph Smith—History 1:27–34).
In September 1827, Joseph received the record, which was written on thin plates of gold. Joseph translated the book into English by the inspiration of God and called the book the Book of Mormon. It is named after Mormon, an ancient prophet who compiled the sacred record. The book verifies, as another testament of Christ, the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is, then, a second witness that affirms the truth of the Bible. Since its publishing in 1830, the Book of Mormon has blessed the lives of millions of people through its powerful message about Jesus Christ and His gospel.
We made clear in the earlier post (linked to above) on this subject that we say this whole so-called other Gospel of Jesus is false. As time goes by, the falseness of this so-called Gospel will be shown more and more.
Many atheist level the same charge against The Bible and Jesus Christ. Well, The Bible says of itself that it is metaphoric in places. The atheists primarily argue with those calling themselves Fundamentalists or literalists.
Getting back directly to Mormonism, Joseph Smith was ill. The people should have taken pity on him rather than follow him. All those who are now Mormons simply need to throw out everything Mormon to be left with a very good starting place through the strait gate and along the narrow way.
The idea that there has been a great falling away is correct. The idea that the original teaching needs to be and will be restored is also correct. The golden plates of Joseph Smith never were. By introducing his story to people and finding those gullible and naÃ¯ve enough to believe it, Smith had his core with whom he could continue introducing compounding errors. In this way, he had created a vehicle by which he could transport himself, he hoped, to a place where is lusts would be satisfied apart from God, at the direct expense of the tempted and fallen souls he was shepherding as if an angel of light but as a ravening wolf in sheep's clothing. The degree to which he was conscious or subconscious of his own misguided and misguiding direction, God alone knows.
This is a pattern down through history. Mohammed is an example of this pattern. He took some truth and molded his own religion. In that way, one finds partial-truths in Islam and partial value. However, we know from Jesus that those parts that do not bear fruit, God cuts away. This pruning process is to leave only the whole truth that brings forth good fruit. It is why we have extinction. It's why God is the author of evolution. We also know that ultimately, only the wholly good tree will remain. This truth is why for instance the Mormon doctrine of the Eternal Progression sounds inviting. There really is an Eternal Progression. It just isn't ever going to be fully understood from within Mormonism.
More on the pattern: Those who currently call themselves Orthodox Jews for instance hear truths in Christianity, but they imagine that Jesus fits the bill of the one whom Moses warned against who would come showing signs to lead the people away from Moses's teachings (his law code). However, we Christians know that that reading by those Orthodox Jews is a selective reading designed by them to allow them to hold onto the false authority they take in doing so. What they really hate is the God-given law calling upon the whole of humanity to give and share all with all.
Some tenets of Mormonism
As with Pauline Christianity, Mormons believe that woman are unfit by virtue of being female of leading spiritually. The Real Liberal Christian Church takes all souls one at a time. Those who have the New Commandment written on their hearts are the good shepherds. They will teach and do as Christlike as God gives them to be and to do.
The Mormons taught that the Adam (in the parable of the Garden of Eden) is God and the archangel Michael. They also say that Jesus is the God (Yahveh) of the Old Testament, making Jesus his own Father.
The Gnostics get all tangled up in this too. The problem comes from not knowing how to be of one spirit without also being confused into sexually incestuous thinking. It is not being able to wrap one's mind around the spirit of one (oneness of being) absent falling into inappropriate, selfish and harmful, sexual lusts of the flesh. The truth sorts all of this out.
As we pointed out in the prior post on this subject, the Mormons have plenty of Freemasonry in their religion. Well, the Freemasons have plenty of Gnosticism allowed in their system.
The Gospel calls Adam the son of God. We are all simultaneously God's children and Adam's seed. The more one knows it, the more it's true. Jesus is one with God and his son. Jesus calls us to be one with God exactly as Jesus is one with God. Is this exactly what Brigham Young had in mind when he repeatedly referred to Adam as God? God alone knows exactly what Young had in his heart and mind. What we can do is look at Young's other words and his fruits.
Brigham Young said, "When our Father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL the Arch-angel, the ANCIENT of DAYS! .... He is our FATHER and our GOD and the only God with whom we have to do." ("Journal of Discourses." 1:50, 1852).
As for the archangel Michael aspect, the Dead Sea Scrolls and their words about Melchizedek points to how Young wasn't the first with this view or interpretation of scripture. We do know though that despite the many similarities of Jesus's teachings with those of the Essenes, the Essenes we're not about public evangelism or about opening the temple to the unclean to become clean. Jesus was. He was very public, one should say radically public. He also called everyone to clean up his or her hypocrisy, which is the real uncleanliness.
Concerning God then, the Mormons have said, "God has a body that looks like yours, though His body is immortal, perfected, and has a glory beyond description." Well, here again, The Bible says we were created in the image of God. Jesus is God and ascended in his regenerated fleshly body. Is this a defense of Mormonism? No. It is to point out that the important thing isn't how much in common one has with the wide path. The important thing is removing the differences between one's path and the perfectly straight path to God. The only good thing in commonly held beliefs is that they serve as a starting place for getting everyone on the one and only wholly common path (the perfect Commons).
Speaking directly to the issue about the nature of God, God is what God does. This is an ancient concept. "I Am that I Am." That's God. Bringing forth righteousness only is being God: The more righteous, the Godlier; perfectly righteous, perfectly God. At that point, it truly becomes redundant. Perfect and God are the same word in that sense (context). That is being there. That is the real. People who don't grasp it won't ever do it. They won't want to. They will fight against it. They murdered Jesus. People who grasp it but reject it didn't really grasp it. Really getting it is to keep it forever. Those who call themselves Christians but complain about this language are selective. They call Jesus the bread and the wine and the branch and the vine. They read that God is I Am that I Am. They read that God is one. They read that Jesus and God are one. They read that the children of God are Gods. They read that Jesus and his disciples are to be one as Jesus and God are one. Then they say right along with the Pharisees that it is Luciferian to say I am the son of God. It is a touchy subject for the Fundamentalists.
However, those Fundamentalists do not define Christianity. They rather pollute it bringing forth barrenness. Where is your feeding of all the lambs and sheep all you who call yourselves Fundamentalists? Why do you stand in the way? Why do you not convert and help us with your all? Where is your love of God? We find no light in your teaching or deeds. It is darkness. It is partial-truth that leads away from God. It is deceptive. Repent.
So, the Mormons believe that God was a mortal man whose flesh, blood, and bone became, was appointed, head God of this world. He achieved this by being obedient. He has a Father over him. He married his daughter, Mary, and begot Jesus. This drives the Fundamentalists crazy.
Jesus was flesh and blood and bone and one with the Father. He came to dethrone Satan. Satan was and remains the usurper of the true heir (heirs) who is truth and righteousness. Satan is the false-god of this world. The spirit of Jesus is the real but unrecognized God of the real world that includes the entirety of existence. As for the host of heaven, God alone knows. To claim more is to claim knowledge that has not been revealed. It was not revealed to Constantine or to any of his bishops or to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, etc., who even all together didn't bring forth.
Mormon blood physically changes to Jewish. (Mormon Doctrine. 23). Well, here is the semantical confusion of bloodline versus spiritline. Who are the real Jews? Who is being true to the real faith? What is truth? Jesus is the truth, and all those who believe him and do what he asked have the true faith. They are true to the real message behind all the law and the prophets. Is this Supersessionism? Yes. Does it mean everyone calling himself a Jew but who rejects Jesus is cut off? Yes. Does it mean that those thusly cut off cannot repent and turn back to God by accepting his son? No.
Where does the adoption doctrine start and stop in terms of spirit versus flesh? It doesn't. The spirit is over all flesh. As John the Baptist said, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." (Matthew 3:9). John is great. We love John. We don't teach the adoption doctrine of Paul in the Real Liberal Christian Church. We don't teach the grafting doctrine of Paul. We believe that those doctrines fall woefully short of doing justice to the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit systemically to restore the root of God in each soul regardless of that soul's mundane genealogy. We teach that all humans are the full, natural children of God if they will believe it and act accordingly. To clarify, God doesn't adopt back his children as if they were not from him originally.
The Mormons preach to and baptize the dead. One cannot discuss this without explaining context (semantics). The dead are who? The dead are those who don't and didn't accept Jesus. It is fruitless to baptize them with water from the here and now. To suggest otherwise is to diminish the emphasis of making the correct choices here and now.
Everyone will be judged at the second resurrection called the Great Judgment. Each soul's works will be measured against the standard that soul knew. As for what happens to souls thereafter, those who committed sins in relative ignorance will receive proportional consequences (less severe). Will there be an end to those consequences? Will those souls still have an opportunity to repent and atone by doing the good deeds (as the act of the Good Samaritan was good) consistently and be released from the hell of evil consequences? What is justice?
Jesus was a relativist and absolutist at the same time depending upon the context in which he was speaking. If this is too much for the minds of the Fundamentalists, it is due to the hardness of their hearts. The softhearted get it. They got it when Jesus walked the earth.
Mormon Racist Foundation
The Mormon founder was a racial segregationist. Joseph Smith said, "Had I anything to do with the Negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization." (Joseph Fielding Smith, ed., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. p. 270; History of the Church. 5:218).
Brigham Young said, "You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind... the Lord put a mark upon him, which was the flat nose and black skin." ("Journal of Discourses." 7:290). "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race. If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be. ("Journal of Discourses." 10:110).
Trinity non-starter issue
Joseph Smith said, "I will preach on the plurality of Gods. ... I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.... Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. 370).
This debate is Constantine's. Jesus and God are one. Jesus is the Son. God is the Father. The Holy Spirit comes from the Father. We are each to be in that one also. People sat around arguing about this while the deeds went undone and still go undone. We call on souls to come together away from the apostasy to do the deeds. We call on souls to bring forth the fruit. Devise the Christian Commons and bring it into fruition, just the way Jesus said, to feed the lambs and sheep of his fold. It will be the shining light—example. Christians are to be the epitome (Christlike).
The lake of fire
The Mormons don't subscribe to the "lake of fire" mentioned in the Revelation of John. John says that the Beast, the false prophet, the devil, death and hell, and everyone not found written in the book of life was [will be] cast into the lake of fire. The Mormons say rather that hell ends and that the devil and his angels and the sons of perdition will be thrown out into "outer darkness" forever. (Mormon Doctrine. 349-50, 746).
Jesus referred to "outer darkness" in his parables. Is it to be understood metaphorically? It is to be understood as the consequence of unrighteousness. The lake of fire is to be understood that way also. Both are pain and suffering visited upon those who made life in the here and now a more hellish place rather than doing the will of our Father and God.
King James Version Only
The Mormons hold to the King James Version Only Movement. We've dealt with this before. The King James Version contains spurious insertions and was written in a way very subtly to lean within toward the temporal monarchy of the King of England and in its introduction to lean very heavily toward the concept of the divine right of kings.
There is a divine right of kings. It just so happens though that king James wasn't the king. Jesus is. Jesus though, didn't overthrow any kings via violence. Real kings come to power when the people wake up to pacifism and all the rest of the teachings of Christ, including communism, sexual harmlessness, feeding the lambs and sheep, and all the other things we've pointed out on this site, all things Jesus said to do.
Scriptures tampered with
The Mormons also believe that the scriptures have been tampered with. They believe that theirs is the only real Christian church. They say their President is a living prophet. This is far from unique. The Roman Catholics say theirs is the only path and that their Pope is infallible in matters of faith.
They hold that holy scripture includes words of men of God moved by the Holy Spirit and the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and The Bible (KJV).
The word of God is always sacred. When it is written, it is always sacred writing. The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price are not holy. They are false. They aren't the words of truth from God. They are of the other.