The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, today numbers more than 2,000,000 members, maintains better than 14,000 missionaries and according to Time magazine has an annual gross income of over 365 million dollars.
The Mormons are zealous, well organized, and sincere in the propagation of their religion which they claim is a Christian faith, in fact the restored Christian faith for our time. True Christianity, the Mormons affirm, had virtually perished from the earth when in 1820 Joseph Smith Jr., their founder and chief prophet, was selected by God to “restore” the historic Christian religion. “Prophet” Smith described his encounter with God in the following terms which clearly reveal the Mormon attitude toward all non-Mormons whom they call “gentiles”:
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right—and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
He again forbade me to join with any of them.1
Mormonism, then, since its inception, has been hostile to all Christian churches, a fact most Mormons carefully avoid discussing.
The Mormon Doctrine of God
The primary concept that separates Mormonism from Christianity is the Mormon teaching about God. Mormon theology is polytheistic, teaching that there are many gods in the universe, presided over by Supreme God (Elohim). Furthermore, every male Mormon may reach “exaltation” and himself become a god. The following quotations from official church publications demonstrate this teaching clearly:
“In the beginning the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people in it.”2
“God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man . . .”3
“The Father has a body of flesh and bone 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 ...”4
“When our father Adam* came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body and brought Eve, one of his celestial wives, with him . . . He is our father and our God and the only God with whom we have to do.”5
Note: Some Mormons have attempted to evade the fact that both Young and Smith taught “the Adam-god doctrine,” as it is known, but numerous volumes by Mormon writers spanning a fifty year period confirm it. Smith himself owned Adam as his God when he wrote that Adam was “Michael, the Father of all, the prince of all the ancient of days.” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 27)
“Gods exist, and we had better strive to prepare to be one with them.”6
“As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”7
“Each of these gods, including Jesus Christ and His Father, being in possession of not merely an organized spirit but a glorious body of flesh and bone.” 8
“Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say this is a strange God anyhow . . . all are to be crammed into one God …”9
“God was once as we are now, and is 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 in all the person, image and very form of a man.”10
“Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in the everlasting burnings (!), and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”11
From the foregoing it is apparent that Mormon polytheism cannot be regarded as Christian monotheism. That the two are mutually exclusive any standard dictionary will quickly confirm.
One cannot be both a polytheist and a Christian; Mormons are polytheists. Mormons would do well to read Genesis 3:5 which reveals that the author of their doctrine of progression to godhood is Satan, who apparently convinced Joseph Smith as he did Eve, Smith having continued the deception through Mormon theology. It was of Satan’s nature that Our Lord spoke when He described him as “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). Mormons should be shown such Biblical evidence of the origin of this doctrine which Smith propagated, as does his church today.
The God Of The Bible
From the pages of Holy Scripture comes the complete refutation of Mormonism. If one is right in every area of doctrine and wrong concerning the Person and Nature of God, he is wrong enough to forfeit eternal life. The Bible then answers the Mormons in terms no one can misunderstand:
Deuteronomy 6:4 . . . “Hear, 0 Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”
Isaiah 44:6, 8 ... “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
“Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
Isaiah 45:5, 22 ... “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me”; “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
I Timothy 2:5 . . . “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
I Corinthians 8:4-6 . . . “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
Galatians 3:20 . . . “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, But God is one.”
It is the position of the Bible that there is only one true God. Men may make gods out of angels, (II Corinthians 11:14) wood, stone, metal or flesh but they are not God by nature, only mere counterfeits of Him who is the Original, or as Christ put it, “Him who alone is God.” (John 5:44 New English Bible)
The Apostle Paul informs us that idols are nothing, that they are “not by nature gods” (Galatians 4:8 Greek) and that sacrifices and worship accorded to them is in actuality the adoration of demons. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6 and 10:19, 20)
Mormonism here treads on perilous ground, for it does not acknowledge that there is only one true God, and Pauline teaching exposes its naked polytheism.
The Nature Of God
Joseph Smith Jr. and his successor Brigham Young conceived of God the Father in material terms and taught as do all Mormons today that “the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s …”
It is important to note that the Bible deliberately contradicts this non-Christian concept and by no less an authority than Jesus Christ. Our Lord gave the final and authoritative definition of the Nature of His Father when He said: “God is Spirit” (John 4:24, New English Bible) and then went on in Luke 24 to declare that “A spirit does not have flesh and bones as ye see me have” (verse 39). The Mormons then are in gross error when they attempt to give God the Father a body of flesh and bones and Christians should be quick to point this out to them.
Far from being the “restored” church of Jesus Christ which the Mormons claim, the Mormon religion is quite obviously one of those “other gospels” of which Scripture speaks and against which we are to stand as witnesses for Christ. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “accept no other gospel” even if it be proclaimed by “an angel from heaven” (Galatians 1:8, 9 Greek). Mormonism claims that very distinction in the person of the “angel” Moroni who allegedly appeared to “prophet” Smith in 1823 and told him where to find the Book of Mormon.
The Apostle Jude reminds the Christian Church that in the New Testament Witness we have “the faith once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3 Greek) and we have had it now for almost two millenniums. There is therefore no need for its “restoration” by the Mormons. Mormonism is no restoration at all, but a systematic perversion of historic Christianity. Let it never be forgotten that the Bible is the oldest revelation of God antedating, as the Mormons admit, their own “sacred” books, The Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants. Since the Mormons agree that God cannot contradict Himself (Titus 1:2; 1 Cor. 14:33), the fact that the Bible contradicts these other books, as we have seen, proves unquestionably their unreliability and error. The gods of Mormonism cannot be equated with the God of the Bible. Between them there is a great gulf fixed called Scripture, which reveals Mormonism to be “another gospel” about which God has warned His Church.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent be-guiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
II Corinthians 11:3, 4, 13-15
Our task then is twofold: to evangelize those who follow “prophet” Smith, for they too are souls for whom Christ died, and secondly to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in [us].” (1 Peter 3:15). This is the challenge of every age, and will continue to be until, as our Lord declared, “I will come again” (John 14:3).
Walter R. Martin
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
The Kings College, Briar Cliff, N. Y.
I. Writings of Joseph Smith 2:1-25.
2. The Journal of Discourses Vol. VI Sermon by Prophet Joseph Smith.
3. Joseph Wiling “The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” p. 845 of The Journal of Discourses, Vol. VI p. 3.
4. Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 130:22.
5. Brigham Young, THE JOURNAL OF DISCOURSES, Vol. 1 p. 50.
6. The Discourses of Brigham Young p. 351.
7. Lorenzo Snow, former President of the MORMON Church, Millennial Star, Vol. 54 also THE GOSPEL THROUGH THE AGES By Milton R. Hunter, pp. 105, 108.
8. KEY TO THE SCIENCE OF THEOLOGY, p. 42 Parley Pratt.
9. Joseph Smith as recorded in E. F. Parry’s JOSEPH SMITH’s TEACHINGS, p. 55 ff. 10.“TIMES AND SEASONS” edition of (August 1, 1844)
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