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Doctrines and Denominations!
“The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.”
The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
A Brief Look at the Origin:
1805 - Joseph Smith Jr. born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont
1820 - At age 14 he claims that while praying in the woods near his home, he saw a vision – thick darkness enclosed him and two personages appeared. Jesus and God the Father. He learned from that vision that all of the churches are in error.
1823 - The angel Moroni allegedly appeared to Joseph Smith and told him of a book written on plates of gold – the Book of Mormon. The angel then revealed to him the location of the plates – Palmyra, New York.
1827- After waiting 4 years he was allowed to have the plates. Along with them were the Urim and Thummim, which he used to translate the “reformed Egyptian” writing on the plates.
A Brief Look at the Origin:
1829 – Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery purportedly received the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist and then baptized one another in the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pennsylvania. About one month later, they are said to have received the “Melchizedek” priesthood from Peter, James and John.
1830 - Five-thousand copies of the Book of Mormon were printed. On April 6th of that year, Joseph and five other men organized the Church of Jesus Christ. Joseph declared himself a “seer, prophet and apostle.”
1831 - Smith moved to Kirkland, Ohio and had around two-thousand converts within a few months. Building of the first Mormon temple was started at Kirtland. Joseph claimed a revelation that Independence, Missouri was the New Jerusalem. A temple site was dedicated.
A Brief History of The LDS.
1840 – Mormon converts from England began arriving in Illinois.
1841 – Doctrine of baptism for the dead is introduced.
1843 – Smith allegedly receives the revelation instructing plural marriage.
1844 - Joseph nominated for president of the United States. He and his Brother Hyrum were jailed in Carthage, Illinois for allegedly destroying an anti-Mormon press called the Nauvoo Expositor. The jail was stormed by a mob and Joseph and Hyrum were killed. It is generally accepted that Joseph was able to shoot and kill two of the attackers with a smuggled pistol. Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon struggled for the leadership. Young was eventually selected in a vote by the membership.
1847 – The majority of Mormons left Nauvoo with Brigham Young as their leader en route to Salt Lake City.
A Brief History of The LDS.
1851 – The Pearl of Great Price was published. Brigham Young appointed as governor of the Utah Territory by President Fillmore.
1860 – The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints set up in Amboy, Illinois with Joseph Smith III as the President and Prophet. LDS Church cited membership of 80,000.
1876 – Brigham Young University founded.
1890 – LDS President published a manifesto instructing Mormons to follow anti-polygamy laws.
1947 – LDS reported membership reached 1 million.
1967 – The Egyptian papyri that were the basis for the Book of Abraham found in the New York Metropolitan Museum. Egyptologists translated these papyri and determine that they bear no resemblance to the information in the Book of Abraham.
1978 – Revelation received allowing black men to serve in the priesthood
1982 – LDS reported membership reached 5 million
1997 – LDS reported membership reached 10 million
Does Mormonism teach that God was once a man on another world and progressed to become God of this world?
Yes, Joseph Smith declared: "God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp.345-346). Another one of their leaders coined the phrase: "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become" (The Gospel Through the Ages, Hunter, p.105-106). Brigham Young preached: "It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being" (Deseret News, Nov. 16, 1859, p. 290).
Does Mormonism teach that good Mormons can become Gods of their own worlds?
Yes, one of their leaders wrote: "…since mortal beings are the spirit children of Heavenly Parents, as pointed out in the last chapter, the ultimate possibility is for some of them to become exalted to Godhood." (The Gospel Through the Ages, Hunter, p.104) Brigham Young declared: "Intelligent beings are organized to become Gods, even the Sons of God, to dwell in the presence of the Gods" (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.245).
Most Mormons hold the following basic belief\'s regarding God:
He is not the only God
God has a physical body
He was once a man, but has progressed to Godhood
He did not create the universe from nothing, but rather from eternally existent matter
“If we should take a million worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more gods than particles of matter in those worlds.” --Orson Pratt (Apostle), Journal of Discourses, Vol.2, p.345
Pslams 82 – The use of elohim, translated gods in this passage is taken to be proof that there are in fact other gods. Jesus\' application of this passage to those whom He is addressing then means that men can become gods as well. Whatever conclusions may be drawn from this passage, they will have to be reconciled with the clear teaching of Isa. 44:6-8. From the context and Jesus\' application (John 10:34) it should be clear that elohim here is referring to Israel\'s judges. Notice that they are being exhorted to judge righteously among the people. Note also that these judges (gods) will die just like other men. The expression \'god\' here seems to be used accommodatively as in Exodus 4:16 “...you shall be to him as God.”
Genesis 11:7 – Use of the plural \'us\' is understood by Mormons to be proof of multiple Gods. Even though we may explain that just as at the creation, Jehovah, the Word and the Spirit of God are acting together here, Mormons still see this as proof of their doctrine, since they believe that these Three are separate Gods. But Deuteronomy 6:4 and other passages exclude this as a possibility. Jehovah, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose, righteousness and in deity.
Matthew 3:16-17 – Since all three of members of the Godhead are present in different capacities, Mormons use this passage to show that there are actually three distinct Gods. Again, the scripture could not be more clear, although it may be hard for man to grasp, and though each person of the Godhead is distinct, there is only one God.
Acts 7:55-56 – Essentially the same arguments are used here as in the above two passages.
I Corinthians 8:5 – This passage states, “...there are many gods...” Surely this proves their doctrine to be true? But notice verse 4 - “...there is no other God but one.” Mormons like to counter by using the expression in verse 6, “...for us there is one God...” to show that although there are many gods, we only have one god with whom we have to do. Again the context shows that the \'many gods\' of verse 5 are the idols (see verse 7) worshiped by those who are spiritually ignorant. So then, this passage also teaches that there is only one God who can in any true sense of the word, can claim to be such.
Isaiah 43:10 – States that there have been and will be no other Gods brought into existence. This passages is not implying that there could be the potential of such, but rather that this is simply beyond possibility. Of course this deals a serious blow to the Mormon idea that man may become a God. We will deal with this subject a bit more later.
God Was Once A Man
“It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another and that He was once a man like us; yea that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did...” Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345
Hosea 11:9 Is not a man
Malachi 3:6 Does not change
Psalms 90:2 He has always been God
The Apostasy’s Effect on the Bible
In the LDS Articles of Faith we find that Mormons believe “the Bible in so far as it is correctly translated.” While on the surface this seems reasonable, this is not actually what most Mormons believe regarding the veracity of the Bible. The Book of Mormon states their stand more correctly, “Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book...” I Nephi 13:28
“Satan guided his servant in taking many plain and precious things, and many covenants of the Lord from the Bible, so that men would stumble and fall and lose their souls.” Bruce McConkie (Apostle), The Millennial Messiah, p.160-161
“Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of translation, and who, in his right mind, could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide. Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original. Orson Pratt (Apostle), The Bible and Insufficient Guide, p.47
Apostasy Required “The Restoration” by Joseph Smith
“Nothing less than the complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” B.H. Roberts (Seventy), History of the Church, volume 1, p.40
“Therefore, in order that there might be a “restitution of all things, which God had spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (see Acts 3:21), it was necessary that these two priesthoods be restored again to men upon this earth.” LeGrand Richards (Apostle), A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, p. 82
Inconsistencies in the Mormon Version of the Apostasy
John and the Three Nephites
“I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desire of me. Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; III Nephi 28:6-7
Per the verses above and the Doctrine and Covenants section 7, Mormons maintain that John and three Nephite men never died and remain on the earth until this day. What have they been doing?
“And these men that have never tasted death – the three Nephites and the Apostle John -are busy working to bring to pass righteousness and carry out the purposes of God.” Franklin Dewey Richard (Apostle), Collected Discourses, vol.3
So how could there have been a complete apostasy if these four men have been faithfully attending to the work of the Lord and bringing to pass righteousness?