Everything you Need to know about Mormons:
History and Beliefs
Ding Dong. It’s my doorbell! I run down my stairs, throw open the front door, and come face to face with two Mormon Missionaries! Two blond haired men dressed in Khaki pants with white button down shirts stood before me. With big smiles on their young faces, they greeted me enthusiastically. Naturally, I invited them in. From there ensued a friendly dialogue that would last almost 3 years with numerous missionaries coming and going.
Needless to say, I learned a lot about their religion. I had the opportunity to pepper them with all my questions and concerns, and they were always polite. Now, I don’t like when my religion is misrepresented, and so it is not my intention to misrepresent them here. But, this post was inspired by Glenn Beck who was a Catholic and converted to Mormonism. In my last blog, I tore apart the many blunders he made regarding the Catholic Church, which you can read here.
I should say at the outset that I have the utmost respect for Mormon missionaries (and I tell them so), and while I respect who they are and what they do, the truth is that their religion was founded on extremely shaky grounds and possess some pretty wild beliefs! So, let’s set sail to the land of Mormon!
Short history of Mormonism:
The story of the Mormon religion is, ummm, interesting. How did it start, you ask? Well, I will tell you. It all began with a 14-year-old boy, named Joseph Smith (considered a prophet) in 1879, New York. Young Joseph claimed to have had visions from God the Father, Jesus, and others. God told him all religions in the world were corrupt and evil, and a new one was needed. Can you guess which one that was?
Besides being a kid of only 14-years-old, Joseph Smith just isn’t credible. Why? Because he spent time in jail for fraud. More problematic though is that Smith claimed to have an angel appear to him. The angel supposedly revealed the lost teachings of Jesus on two golden tablets. Smith claims to have translated these tablets into the Book of Mormon. The problem with all of this is that only he could read the plates, and only he saw them. No one else ever saw the tablets (except with “the eyes of faith” or “under a cloth”). Sooo, no one actually saw the plates except Smith (hmmm), and the entire religion was started on the word of someone who went to prison for fraud. From the outside looking in, that’s pretty hard to swallow, just to be honest. Now, when Smith died, it’s claimed that the angel took the plates back up to heaven.
Mormons mostly depend on the Book of Mormon (B.O.M) for their beliefs, which is said to be the account of a civilization living in the Americas from 600 BC to 400 AD. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to these people. Unfortunately, archeologists have not found evidence of this, and the most prestigious historical societies in the world also have not found claims of the B.O.M. to be true.
Interesting Mormon Beliefs:
While the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church do share some common beliefs, the differences are much greater, including the belief in millions of gods, polygamy, black people being cursed by God, the possibility to become a god and own your own planet, etc.
- Mormons claim to believe in the Trinity, but in their religion, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three different gods who are one in purpose (Articles of Faith, pg. 38).
- Mormons believe in countless gods, though they themselves claim to only worship one of those gods, the god of our planet (King Follet’s Discourse).
- God did not create the universe; rather, he was a man like us who obeyed another god on another planet. That god was also a man who in turn worshiped another god and so on, etc. (Teachings of Joseph Smith, pg. 345).
- Thus, the God of this planet, who was once a man like us, followed the laws faithfully and became the god he is today. By following the laws of their religion faithfully, Mormons also aspire to one day become gods and to own their own planet (The Seer, pg 1). With the help of their spirit wives, they will populate their own planets and rule over them. This is why Mormonism teaches the necessity of marriage for everyone, even Jesus. (Yes, you read that correctly – Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 11, pg. 141).
- There are 3 different levels of heaven – Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial (highest level). God lives in the Celestial kingdom, and all Mormons strive to get there (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 338). By attaining the highest heaven they can become gods.
- Mormons baptize themselves on earth for the dead who were never baptized.(Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 11, pg. 141).
- God the Father has a body of flesh and bones as does the Son (Doctrines and Covenants, 130:22).
- Christ and Satan are brothers. They were conceived by the union of God the father and his spirit wife.
- Mormons believe in pre-existence – a life before earth, a spirit realm, where souls exist before they are born. Then, they are given bodies and sent to earth.
- Satan rejected God’s plan for salvation in the spirit realm. He rebelled while Jesus remained faithful. Thus, Jesus Christ materialized and was born on earth first. He came to earth to save people from their sin (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 163).
- Because Satan was unfaithful in the spirit realm, he was cast to earth cursed. When Cain killed his brother Abel, he participated in the rebellion of the devil and was cursed with black skin (dark skin) for his evil deed. This doctrine was taught by early Mormon prophets who declared that all “negro” and dark skinned persons were cursed by God and proceed from the lineage of Cain. Their dark skin is a visible sign of their evil rebellion (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, pg. 95). The B.O.M. still teaches this doctrine today in 2 Nephi 5:21-23. It also states in this passage however, that if they convert, they will become white and blond. True story!
- Historically, blacks were not allowed into the Mormon priesthood until 1978 when there was a “new revelation” allowing it.
- New revelations can occur any time, which is one reason why the doctrines of Mormonism continue to change. Some critics argue that God contradicts Himself, like with the doctrine of polygamy, for example.
- Polygamy (having more than one wife) was a practiced doctrine of the Mormon religion. Mormon prophets declared that it was an eternal doctrine, a practice that was obligatory to attain the highest heaven (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses. vol. 11, pg. 268-269).
- Today, there are over 40 Mormon sects all claiming to be the correct one. Even though polygamy is not officially taught anymore by the majority of Mormons, some still teach and practice it proclaiming that it was the original and eternal teaching of God. According to some Mormon prophets, (Orson Hyde and Orson Pratt, to name a couple), Jesus was a polygamist.
- Mormons cannot drink alcohol, coffee, tea, or anything with caffeine (Word of Wisdom).
- The apostasy: Mormons teach that the Church Jesus started became corrupt and lost all “priesthood authority.” Consequently, God needed to restore this dead religion with the birth of a brand new one, the Mormon Church – “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” One wonders why God would wait over 1800 years to resurrect His church, but that’s beside the point.
- Mormonism teaches that John the Apostle (one of Jesus’ original 12 Apostles) is still alive on earth today. It is said that John will live until the end of the world. This is a tough “Catch 22” for Mormons. Never mind the fact that not a single person, reporter, or journalist has seen John the Apostle in over 2000 years (though he is traveling around preaching and performing miracles), a more important point is that if John is still around, he is someone who holds the priesthood authority of Jesus. You know what that means. There is still one person who holds God’s priesthood authority on earth, and consequently, there was never any full apostasy and no need for a new church to be started.
Mormons will ask you to read the B.O.M. and to pray about it. You are supposed to feel a “burning in your bosom” as a sign from the Holy Spirit that the B.O.M. is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. Mormons base all their faith in a subjective feeling despite all of the completely odd doctrines. Most of their peculiar doctrines are not found in the B.O.M. but are the product of later revelations. Furthermore, Mormons will not tell you these odd doctrines until you join their church.
Mormons today are proclaiming a “New Gospel.” Their B.O.M. claims this. However, listen to what the Bible warned about new gospels many centuries earlier; “If we, or an angel from heaven, preach to you any other gospel than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9).
I think that’s pretty straight forward. Now, Mormons are some of the nicest people you will meet, and they do a lot of good. I mean that. However, their religion is full of teachings that are not found in the Bible or taught by Jesus. I invite them to take a second look and consider coming back to the one Church of Jesus Christ that has existed unbroken for more than 2000 years. Like the many Mormons before them, they will not be sorry.