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(Isaiah 2:3)

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How Mormons View Revelation

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” — 1Thess.5:12

Sources of Mormon Authority

The following information is taken from Understanding the Cults (Handbook of Today's Religions), by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart (San Bernardino, Here's Life Publishers, Inc., 1982, pages 87-89).

Sources of Authority

The Mormon Church has four accepted sacred works: the Bible, the The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. [Mormons refer to these four sources as “the standard works of the church.”] The present prophet’s words are also a source of authority.

The Bible

The Mormon articles of faith read, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God in so far as it is translated correctly …” (Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Article 8). The Book of Mormon claims that a correct translation of the Bible is impossible since the Catholic Church has taken away from the word of God: “… many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord“ (1 Nephi 13:26b,27).

Orson Pratt, an early apostle of the Mormon Church, put it this way, “Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” (Oson Pratt's Works, 1891, p.218)

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is also considered inspired: “We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God” (Articles of Faith, Section Eight). The Book of Mormon is supposedly an account of the original inhabitants of America to whom Christ appeared after His Resurrection.

Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants is a record of 136 revelations revealing some of Mormonism’s distinctive doctrines such as baptism for the dead and celestial marriage.

The Pearl of Great Price

The Pearl of Great Price contains the Book of Moses, which is roughly equivalent to the first six chapters of Genesis, and the Book of Abraham, a translation of an Egyptian Papyrus that later proved to be fraudulent. It also contains an extract from Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible; extracts from the History of Joseph Smith, which is his autobiography; and the Articles of Faith.

The Living Prophets

The living prophet also occupies an important part in present-day Mormonism. Ezra Taft Benson, who at the time of this writing is President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, said in a speech on February 26, 1980, at Brigham Young University, that the living prophet (head of the church) is more vital to us than the standard works. This echoed what was given to the ward teachers (similar to Christian Education adult teachers) in 1945.

Any Latter-day Saint who denounces or opposes, whether actively or otherwise, any plan or doctrine advocated by the prophets, seers, and revelators of the Church is cultivating the spirit of apostasy … Lucifer … wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to do their own thinking …

When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan, it's God's plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give directions, it should mark the end of the controversy (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354).

The Bible Says

The Bible contradicts the Mormon reliance on multiple contradictory revelations. While the Mormon scriptures contradict each other and the Bible, the Bible never contradicts itself and the God of the Bible never contradicts Himself. Hebrews1:1-3 tells us what the source of our knowledge of God comes from:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high … (Hebrews 1:1, NAS)

Any message that purports to be from God must agree with the message already brought by Jesus Christ in fulfillment of the Old Testament (Luke 24:27). Eternal life comes from the works and gift of Jesus Christ, not from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or any other false Mormon prophet (John 20:31). Proverbs 30:5,6 warns those who try to add to God's Word, saying, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar.” [See also Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Psalm 119:89,160; Matt.15:18-19; 24:35; John 17:17; 2Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6-12; Rev. 22:18,19.]


The Importance of Joseph Smith

“If God has not spoken, if the angel of God has not appeared to Joseph Smith, and if these things are not true of which we speak, then the whole thing is an imposture from beginning to end.[1] There is no halfway house, no middle path about the matter; it is either one thing or the other.” — John Taylor, third President of the Mormon Church, JOD, Vol. 21, p. 165.[2]

“Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground.

“If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, … I maintain that Joseph Smith was all that he claimed to be. …

“Attacks have been made from the beginning to the present, and yet every one has failed. The world has been unable to place a finger upon anything that is inconsistent, or out of harmony in the revelations to Joseph Smith, with that which has been revealed before, or predicted by the prophets and the Lord himself.” — Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth President of the Mormon Church, Doctrines of Salvation, 1959,[3] Vol.1, pp. 188-189.

“I want you to tell them, and tell all the great men of the earth, that the Latter-day Saints are to be their redeemers … Believe in God, Believe in Jesus, and believe in Joseph his Prophet, and in Brigham his successor. And I add, ‘If you will believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph was a prophet, and that Brigham was his successor, you shall be saved in the kingdom of God.’” — Joseph Young, JOD, Vol.6, p. 229.

“Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, that he lived and died a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ." — Brigham Young, The History of the Church, Vol.7, p. 287.

“There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth … then this knowledge is of the most vital importance to the entire world. No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” — Doctrines of Salvation, 1959, Vol.1, pp. 189-190.


The “First Vision”

The “first vision” of Joseph Smith, the “Prophet,” as recorded in The Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:1-20:

1Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its progress in the world — I have been induced to write this history, to disabuse the public mind, and put all inquirers after truth in possession of the facts, as they have transpired, in relation both to myself and the Church, so far as I have such facts in my possession.

2In this history I shall present the various events in relation to this Church, in truth and righteousness, as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now the eighth year since the organization of the said Church.

3I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, In the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont …

5Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir amongst the people, some crying, Lo, here!" and others, "Lo, there!" Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. …

7I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia. …

8… In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong….

10In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

11While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.…

13… I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

14So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

15After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desire of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

16But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction — not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being — just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

17It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other — This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

18My 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.

19I 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 those professors were all corrupt; 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.”

20He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home….

This “revelation,” which is accepted by the LDS Church as scripture, was originally published in Times and Seasons (Vol.3, pp.728, 748) in 1842, a full 22 years after the alleged event. Its importance to Mormons has been well expressed by James B. Allen, Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University: “Belief in the vision is one of the fundamentals to which faithful member give assent. Its importance is second only to belief in the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. The story is an essential part of the first lesson given by Mormon missionaries to prospective converts, and its acceptance is necessary before baptism.” — Dialog: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn, 1966, page 29

Apostle John A. Widtsoe adds: “The First Vision of 1829 is of first importance in the history of Joseph Smith. Upon its reality rest the truth and value of his subsequent work. Professed enemies of Joseph Smith and his work, have felt themselves helpless in their efforts to destroy the reality of the First Vision and have said little about it.” — Joseph Smith - Seeker After Truth, page 19

Whether or not the “enemies” of Joseph had said little about it, they should not feel helpless at all “in their efforts to destroy the reality of the First Vision.” Mormon authorities, starting with Joseph Smith himself, have already completely destroyed its credibility themselves, as we are about to see.

Discrepancies in the Vision Accounts

“One of the most significant documents of that period yet discovered was brought to light in 1965 by Paul R. Cheesman, a graduate student at Brigham Young University. This is a handwritten manuscript apparently composed about 1833 and either written or dictated by Joseph Smith. It contains an account of the early experiences of the Mormon prophet and includes the story of the first vision. While the story varies in some details from the version presently accepted, enough is there to indicate tht at least as early as 1833 Joseph Smith contemplated writing and perhaps publishing it. The manuscript has apparently lain in the L.D.S. Church Historian’s office for many years, and yet few if any who saw it realized its profound historical significance.” James B. Allen, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, page 35

The entire document was typed (apparently for the first time) in Appendix D of Cheesman's Master's thesis. Of that document, Cheesman says: “This account was never published or referred to by any of the authorities of the church as far as the writer has been able to determine.… Instead of going back over and revising, Joseph Smith has evidently dictated the story later as we have it in Appendix A.” — Paul R. Cheesman, An Analysis of the Accounts Relating Joseph Smith’s Early Visions, M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1965, page 64

“On at least three occasions prior to 1839 Joseph Smith began writing his history. The earliest of these is a six-page account recorded on three leaves of a ledger book, written between the summer of 1831 and November 1832. An analysis of the handwriting shows that the narrative was penned by Frederick G. Williams, scribe to the Prophet and counselor in the First Presidency. … The 1831-32 history transliterated here contains the earliest known account of Joseph Smith's First Vision.” — Dean C. Jessee [member of the staff at the LDS Church Historian's Office], Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1969, pp. 277-278

“This six-page account is the only history containing the actual handwriting of Joseph Smith, a fact that was not detected when this account was previously analyzed. The pages … contain his account of the First Vision …” — Dean C. Jessee, BYU Studies, Summer 1971, p.462, note 78

“… the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord in the 16th year of my age a pillar of light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy way walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life behold the world lieth in sin at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not my commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindled against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to their ungodliness and to bring to pass that which hath been spoken by the mouths of the prophets and Apostles behold and lo I come quickly as it was witten of me in the cloud clothed in the glory of my Father …”

Later in that document Joseph Smith said that prior to the time he received his First vision, he already knew that all the churches were wrong: “… by Searching the Scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they has apostatised from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament …”

This 1831 statement is in direct contradiction with the “official” 1842 version of the First Vision in which Joseph states: “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.” When the original version was first published in Times and Seasons (Vol.3, p.748), it included Joseph’s statement: “… for at this time it had never entered into my head that all were wrong, …” which has been carefully edited out of the “scripture” version as it appears in the Pearl of Great Price.

In the 1842 version he states, “I was at this time in my fifteenth year,” and specifies the date as “early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty.” Yet in the suppressed 1831 version, written a full 11 years closer to the alleged miraculous event, Joseph wrote in his own hand that he was “in the 16th year of my age …”

While perhaps the Prophet was somewhat confused about the date of the event, at least one of his Apostles is certain enough about the event that he, perhaps unwittingly, calls the Prophet a liar!

“Clearly, knowledge of the first vision was current in the early days of the Church, and was dated as the Prophet says, in 1820, when he was not yet fifteen years old.… Whatever opinion may be held as to what he saw on that occasion, it must have occurred in 1820. Any other view would make liars of these witnesses, or make them connivers in untruth with the Prophet. … All acceptable evidence within and beyond the Church confirms the Prophet’s story that his first vision occurred when he was between fourteen and fifteen years of age in the year of 1820 and before the Book of Mormon revelations occurred.” — Apostle John A. Widtsoe, Gospel Interpretations, pages 119 and 132

In the 1831 version Joseph claims that Jesus appeared to him: “I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world.” In the 1842 version, however, he said that he “saw two Personages …”, and suggested that one of these was God the Father and the other was Jesus Christ: “One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other — This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! …” Is it not reasonable to assume that if both God the Father and Jesus Christ had actually appeared to Joseph, he would have at least mentioned that fact in the original account?

It is also interesting to note that in the original version Joseph makes no mention of being “seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, … who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being …” when he places so much importance on it in the later version.

“Another document of almost equal importance has recently been brought to light by a member of the staff at the Church Historian’s office. It is located in the back of Book A1 of the handwritten manuscript of the The History of the Church (commonly referred to as the ‘Manuscript History’). … It is almost certain that the document in the back of the book comprises the original notes from which the ‘Manuscript History’ was later compiled, and is actually a daily account of Joseph Smith’s activities in 1835, as recorded by a scribe. The importance of the manuscript here lies in the fact that the scribe wrote down what Joseph Smith said to his visitor, and he began not by telling the story of the discovery of the Book of Mormon, but with an account of the first vision. Again, the details of the story vary somewhat from the accepted version, but the manuscript, if authentic, at least demonstrates that by 1835 the story had been told to someone.” — James B. Allen, Associate Professor of History at BYU, Dialog: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, pp.35-36

Dean C. Jessee, of the Church Historian’s Office wrote the following concerning that manuscript:

“Then follows 142 pages of daily, journal-type entries written in the third person singular, commencing with September 22, 1835, and continuing to January 18, 1836. In this journal, under the date of November 9, 1835, an interview with a Jewish minister is recorded in which Joseph Smith again relates the account of his First Vision:

‘I called on the Lord in mighty prayer. A pillar of fire appeared above my head; which presently rested down upon me, and filled me with unspeakable joy. A personage appeared in the midst of this pillar of flame, which was spread all around and yet nothing consumed. Another personage soon appeared like unto the first; he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee. He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I saw many angels in this vision. I was about 14 years old when I received this first communication. …’

“In this account of the First Vision there is absolutely nothing to show that the personages were God and Christ. The statement, ‘He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God,’ would seem to show that the personages were NOT the Father and the son. If Joseph Smith had intended to show that the personage who spoke to him was Jesus, he probably would have said something like this: ‘He testified also unto me that He was the Son of God.’ On the other hand, if he intended to show that the personage who spoke was the Father, he would probably have said something like this: ‘He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ was His son.’

“As if this is not bad enough, Joseph Smith states that there were ‘many angels in this vision.’ Neither of the other versions indicate that there were ‘many angels.’

“James B. Allen remarked: ‘The most unusual statement, however, is Joseph’s declaration that he saw many angels in this vision.’” — “Dialog: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn 1966, page 41

“We now have three different handwritten manuscripts of the First Vision. They were all written by Joseph Smith or his scribes, and yet every one of them is different. The first account [1831-32] says there was only one personage. The second account [1836] says there were many, and the third [1842] says there were two.” — J&S Tanner, Mormonism - Shadow or Reality, 1972, pp.147-148

In 1852 the Deseret News was publishing the “Life of Joseph Smith” as a serial. The following appeared in the issue for May 29: “This afternoon, Erastus Holmes, of Newbury, Ohio, called on me to inquire about the establishment of the church, and to be instructed in doctrine more perfectly. I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old; also the revelations that I received afterwards concerning the Book of Mormon, and a short account of the rise and progress of the church up to this date.” — Deseret News, Vol.2, No.15, May 29, 1852

This statement, because it contradicted the teaching that the Father and the Son appeared to him in the First Vision of 1820, Mormon Church Historians have deliberately changed the wording in recent editions of the The History of the Church to eliminate reference to angels:

DESERET NEWS, May 29, 1852

“… I received my first vision, which was when I was about fourteen years old; …"

HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, Vol.2, p.312

“I received the first visitation of angels, which was when I was about fourteen years old; …"

“Not to labor the point, it is perfectly correct usage to refer to any heavenly visitor as an angel. So when Joseph Smith, reviewing the past in ‘a brief relation’ to a stranger, passes over the first vision as his ‘first vision of angels’ he is being both correct and evasive. Remember that this was some years before he was finally ‘induced’ to come out with a public statement about the first vision;…” — Dr. Hugh Nibley, Improvement Era, November 1961, p.868

Now that we are able to examine the journal found in the Manuscript History, Book A1, we not only find that the words ‘first visitation of Angels’ are correct, but we also find that the entire statement was originally written in the third person singular. Below is a comparison of this reference as it appears in the manuscript with the way that it reads today in the The History of the Church.

MANUSCRIPT HISTORY

He [Smith] commenced and gave him a brief relation of his experience while in his youthful days, say from the age of six years up to the time he received the first visitation of Angels which was when he was about 14 years old.” (Joseph Smith's Manuscript History, Book A1, Nov.14, 1835)

HISTORY OF CHURCH

I gave him a brief relation of my experience while in my juvenile years, say from six years old up to the time I received my first vision, which was when I was about 14 years old. …” (History of the Church, Vol.2, p.312)

“That this reference was originally written in the third person singular and contained the word “angels” is confirmed by Dean. C. Jessee of the Church Historian's Office: ‘… Erastus Holmes … was given “a brief relation of his experience while in his youthful days, say from the age of six up to the time when he received the first visitation of Angels which was when he was about 14 years old….’ (Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1969, page 286)” — J&S Tanner, op. cit., p.150

A Plagiarized Vision?

The similarities between the following accounts and the First Vision account are noteworthy, as are the dates of these accounts. Note that the date of each precedes the 1831 date of the first version of the First Vision.

“… I went into the woods … after a stick of timber; after taking it on my shoulder … as I walked along on a large log … my foot slipped … the timber fell one end on the log and the other on the snow, and held me,… While in this situation, a light appeared from heaven,… My mind seemed to rise in that light to the throne of God and the Lamb,… The Lamb once slain appeared to my understanding, and while viewing him, I felt such love to him as I never felt to any thing earthly…. It is not possible for me to tell how long I remained in that situation,…” — The Life, Conversion, Preaching, Travels, and Sufferings of Elias Smith, Portsmouth, NH, 1816, pp.58-59

Concerning a “revival in the state of New York”: “Enthusiasm flourishes,… This man was regenerated when asleep, by a vision of the night. That man heard a voice in the woods, saying, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ A third saw his Saviour descending to the tops of the trees at noon day.” — Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, March 1, 1824, Vol.1, p.148-149

“The noted revival preacher Charles G. Finney, like Joseph Smith, went out ‘into the woods’ to pray. That night he came into a room and though there was no fire and no light, in the room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.' (Charles G. Finney, pp.15-21) This vision occurred in the early 1820's, and since Finney was so popular in New York, Joseph Smith probably knew his story. Gilbert Seldes stated: `The story of his conversion spread and the grove in which he had communed with the Holy Spirit was frequented by other anxious souls who imitated him in prayer with equally successful results.' (The Stammering Century, page 104) We present other information concerning this matter in our Case, vol.1, pp.108-109.

“In a book published in 1830, Stephen H. Bradley told that he thought he ‘saw the Savior' when he was fourteen years old. William James cites this book in The Varieties of Religious Experience, pp.157-158)

“Asa Wild claimed to have a revelation which is very similar to the story Joseph Smith published. It was published in the Wayne Sentinel (the paper to which the family of Joseph Smith apparently subscribed) on Oct.22, 1823: ‘It seemed as if my mind … was struck motionless, as well as into nothing, before the awful and glorious majesty of the Great Jehovah. He then spake … He also told me, that every denomination of professing christians had become extremely corrupt;… He told me further, that he had rasied up, and was now raising up, that class of persons signified by the Angel mentioned by the Revelator, xiv.6,7, which flew in the midst of heaven; having the everlasting gospel to preach:… Furthermore he said that all the different denominations of professing christians, constituted the New Testament Babylon;… Much more the Lord revealed, but forbids my relating it in this way.’ (Wayne Sentinel, Oct.22, 1823)

“It is plain to see, then, that the story Joseph Smith told in the early 1830's is not much different than the visions related by others. It was only when he added the part about the Father appearing with the Son that the story began to sound unique.” — J&S Tanner. op. cit., p.150


Christianity

“The Mormon Church sends missionaries throughout the world with the message that God has spoken from heaven and restored the true Church of Christ to the earth. These missionaries are instructed to teach that the Mormon Church is the only true church and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. They are supposed to teach the contact that his church is false and that the Mormon Church is the only true church. Conclusion number nine, which the contact is supposed to reach, is: ‘There was a complete apostasy and my church is false.’ (A Uniform System For Teaching Investigators, published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, page 9)

“… More than fifty pages of the introduction to the The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is devoted to proving that all churches except the Mormon Church are in apostasy. The following is found on page xl: ‘Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.‘” — Gerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? Modern Microfilm Company, Salt Lake City, 1972, page 3 [their emphasis].

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might which to 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 those professors were all corrupt.” PGP, Joseph Smith2:18,19.

“Is it any wonder then, that we say of the priests [in Mormon terminology ‘priests’ includes all Christian pastors, leaders, and teachers] of modern days, that they are of their father the Devil. … we shall see all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions [read ‘Christian denominations’] of the day, with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the Devil and his angels.” — Joseph Smith [ed.], Elders' Journal, Vol.1, No.4, pp.59-60).

“Q. Who founded the Roman Catholic Church?

”A. The Devil, through the medium of Apostates, who subverted the whole order of God …

”Q. Did the great Protestant Reformers restore the Church of Christ to the earth?

“A. No: …

“Q. But did not any of the Protestant Reformers have authority to Baptize and Confirm?

“A. Not any of them: …

“Q. But did not the first Protestant Reformers receive their ordination and authority from the Catholics?

“A. Yes: and in this manner they received all the authority that their m other church was in possession of; and the mother having derived her authority from the Devil, could only impart that which his Satanic majesty was pleased to bestow upon her. …” — Apostle Orson Pratt [ed.], The Seer, p. 205.

“The gates of hell have prevailed and will continue to prevail over the Catholic Mother of Harlots, and over all her Protestant Daughters; … the apostate Catholic church, with all her popes and bishops, together with all her harlot daughters shall be hurled down to hell: …” — Orson Pratt, Pamphlets by Orson Pratt, p. 122.

Brigham Young, second President of the Mormon Church and successor to Joseph Smith, made the following comments as recorded in the Journal of Discourses:

“The Christian world, I discovered, was like the captain and crew of a vessel on the ocean without a compass, and tossed to and fro withersover [sic.] the wind listed to blow them. When the light came to me, I saw that all the so-called Christian world was groveling in darkness.” — Vol. 5, p. 73.

“We may very properly say that the sectarian world do not know anything correctly, so far as pertains to salvation … They are more ignorant then children.” — Vol 5, p. 229.

“Brother [John] Taylor has just said that the religions [read ‘denominations‘] of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” — Vol. 6, p. 176.

“The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to their knowledge of the salvation of God.” — Vol.8, p.171.

”Our Elders may tell the priests [pastors] that there are fifty-one chapters in Genesis, but few of them, if any, will know that there are only fifty. With regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.” — Vol. 8, p. 199.

“Every intelligent person under the heavens that does not, when informed, acknowledge that Joseph Smith, jun., is a Prophet of God, is in darkness, and is opposed to us and to Jesus and his kingdom on the earth. — Vol. 8, p. 223

John Taylor, successor to Brigham Young and third President of the Mormon Church (who claimed that all Christian denominations were hatched in hell, above), is quoted in the Journal of Discourses as follows:

“What! are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” — Ibid., Vol.6, p.25.

“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense. … the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.” — Ibid., Vol. 6, p.167.

“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing; … Why, so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.” — Ibid., Vol.13, p. 225.

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 1. Unless otherwise specified, all emphasis is mine. [RETURN]

 2. The following abbreviations are use for the primary Mormon writings: BOM = The Book of Mormon; D&C = Doctrine and Covenants; PGP = The Pearl of Great Price; JOD = Journal of Discourses; History = History of the Church. [RETURN]

 3. Because of the constantly-changing nature of Mormon doctrine, dates of specific editions have been provided where appropriate. [RETURN]

 

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Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!