Dallas Burdette

September 2, 1999

 

 

 

Background

 

            Today, there are over 6 million adherents of Mormonism.[1]  Joseph Smith (1805-44) founded this cult[2] in 1830.[3]   The Mormons are divided into two major groups: (1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, and (2) The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with headquarters in Independence, Missouri.  This group recognizes four books as authoritative within their ranks: (1) The Book of Mormons, (2) The Doctrine and Covenants, (3) The Pearl of Great Price, and (4) The King James Bible.

 

                In 1820,[4] Smith claimed that he received a vision in which both God the Father and God the Son appeared to him.  Again, in 1823 the angel Moroni appeared to him and told him about a number of gold plates,[5] which he later uncovered and translated. This religion was incubated in the mind of Smith himself.  His imagination and mystical leanings originated with his father, Joseph Smith, Sr. 

 

Walter Martin,[6] an authority on cults, writes that Smith’s father was a mystic and spent a great deal of time looking for buried treasures, especially Captain Kidd’s legendary hoard.[7]  Smith says that he finally uncovered the plates in 1827[8] in the hill Cumorah[9] near Palmyra.  With the plates were huge spectacles called the “Urim and Thummim.”  From 1827 to 1830, he translated these plates and in 1830 he published the Book of Mormon.[10] 

 

Teachings of Mormonism

 

            Ron Carlson and Ed Decker point out: “The major heresy of Mormonism is summed up in its central theological axiom, the doctrine of the law of eternal progression.”[11]  This “law of eternal progression” is a denial of the teachings of the Bible.  The Mormons believe that  “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.”[12]  In other words, God was once a man and man will become God.

 

The Mormon Jesus

 

            The Mormons do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible.  According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus is the elder brother of Satan.[13]   Jesus is also our elder brother who points to the way, but is not the Way.[14]  The Mormons deny the teachings of the virgin birth as recorded by Luke.  In fact, Brigham Young states: “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness.  He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.”[15]  Again, Young writes: “. . . Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.”[16]  Another startling revelation from Young is his concept of God: “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 is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”[17]

 

The Mormon God

 

            The Mormons teach that God has a body of flesh and bone as tangible as man’s.[18]  This teaching is in contradiction to Holy Scripture.  For example, John records the only saying that reveals the nature of God: God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”[19]  Again, after the resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples and said, Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”[20]  Jesus emphatically states that “spirit” does not have “flesh and bones” as advocated by Mormons.

 

            Two months before Joseph Smith was killed in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844, he delivered a sermon before a crowd of 18,000 people.  This sermon was recorded by five Mormon scribes and published in their official publication Times and Seasons, volume 5, page 613.[21]  Carlson and Decker cite a section of this sermon to illustrate the polytheistic concept of Smith:

 

God was once as we are now, an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. I say if you were to see him today you would see him like a man in form like yourselves and all the person and image of man.  I am going to tell you how god came to be God.  We have imagined that God was God from all eternity.  I will refute that idea and take away the veil.  God was once a man like us and dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ did, and you have got to learn to be as gods yourselves the same as all gods before you.  Namely by going from one small degree to another, from a small capacity to a greater one.[22]

 

            Carlson and Decker also cite The Church News, an official weekly news publication of the LDS Church.  On September 9, 1989, this publication wrote about the nature of God as understood by the Mormons:

 

The prophet Joseph Smith also made significant contribution to the world’s limited understanding of the godhead.  Perhaps one doctrine that most distinguishes Latter-day Saints from other denominations is the conviction that all worthy men and women can become gods and goddesses.[23]

 

 

BOOKS AND AUDIO TAPES AND VIDEO TAPES

 

Boa, Kenneth.  Cults, World Religions and Occult.  USA: Victor Books. 1977.  “Mormonism,” 85-95.

 

Carson, Ron and Ed Decker.  Fast Facts on False Teachings.  Eugene: Harvest House. 1994. “Mormonism: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” 163-180.

 

Jeremiah Films.  The God Makers

 

Jeremiah Films.  The God Makers II

 

Martin, Walter.  The Kingdom of the Cults.  Minneapolis: Bethany House. 1965.  “Mormonism – The Latter-Day Saints,” 166-226.

 

--------.  The Maze of Mormonism.  Costa Mesa: One Way Library.  1973.  Audio tape

 

--------.  The Key to Mormon Theology: Romance of the Gods.”  Costa Mesa: One Way Library.  1975.  Audio tape.

 

--------.  The Priesthood: Who Has the Authority.  Costa Mesa: One Way Library. 1975.  Audio tape.

 

Mather, George and Larry A. Nichols.  Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan.  1993.  “Mormonism; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” 186-199.

 

 



[1] Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions and the Occult (USA: Victor Books, 1990), 85.

[2] See Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1985), 11, where Martin says: “. . . a cult might also be defined as a group of people gathered about a specific person or person’s mis-interpretation of the Bible.  For Example, Jehovah’s Witnesses are, for the most part, followers of the interpretations of Charles T. Russell and J. F. Rutherford.  The Christian Scientist of today is a disciple of Mary Baker Eddy and her interpretations of Scripture.  The Mormons, by their own admission, adhere to those interpretations found in the writings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.  It would be possible to go on citing many others, such as the Unity School of Christianity, which follows the theology of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.”  Again, Dr. Braden states: “A cult, as I define it, is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture,” Ibid.

[3] George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols, “Mormonism; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints History,” in Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions and the Occult (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 186.

[4] See Joseph Smith, “Writings of Joseph Smith,” 2:14, in The Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973), 48.

[5] Ibid., 2:33-34, 51

[6] Brigham Young was the great grandfather of Walter Martin.

[7] Martin, Kingdom, 169.

[8] Smith, 2:59, The Pearl of Great Price, 54.

[9] For a photograph of the Hill Cumorah, see Wilford C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work: Book of Mormon 1830 FirstEdition, vol. 1 (USA: Wilford C. Wood, 1958).

[10] For a more detailed account of the founding of Mormonism, see “Mormonism,” in Kenneth Boa, World Religions, 85-95.

[11] Ron Carlson and Ed Decker, Fast Facts on False Teachings (Eugene: Harvest House, 1994), 165,

[12] Ibid.

[13] The God Makers (Jeremiah Films, Inc., 1982) and God Makers II (Jeremiah Films, Inc., 1992), videotapes.  These two films portray the sinister doctrines of Mormonism in graphic details with documentation.  See also Ed Decker & Dave Hunt, The God Makers: A Shocking Expose of what the Mormon Church Really Believes (Eugene: Harvest House, 1984).

[14]Carlson and Decker, Fast Facts, 168.

[15] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. I, pp. 50 and 51, quoted in Martin, Kingdom , 212.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] See Joseph Smith, Doctrine and Covenants: 132:22 (Salt Lake City: The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973), where he says: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.  Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”

[19] John 4:24, The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982

[20] Luke 24:38-39, Ibid.

[21] I am indebted to Carlson and Decker, Fast Facts, 170, for this information.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., 171.