Answering the Latter Day Saints

Is God a man?

  • “First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heaven, is a man like one of you. That is the great secret.  If the veil were rent today and you were to see the great God who holds this world in its orbit and upholds all things by his power, you would see him in the image and very form of a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God. He received instruction from and walked, talked, and conversed with him as one man talks and communes with another.”
  • (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse).

Thus Joseph Smith, but what does the Bible say?: "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19).

"I will not execute the fierceness of My anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim.  For I am God, and not man, The Holy One in your midst; and I will not come with terror." (Hosea 11:9).

Late in time God took on human nature in the incarnation; but in His own nature, God is not a man. The concept of a career path, or progression, from humanity to deity is a very old, and very gnostic, one: "For this cause can a man dare say that man on earth is god subject to death, while god in heaven is man from death immune." (Corpus Hermeticum, Section X, Chapter 25, Kindle location 583).

 King Follett 

But what about Genesis 1:26-27?: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." Does this mean man is created in the physical image of God...or is it the 'inward man' who is in the image?

In the Image

In the Image

God or Man?

The Incarnation

Mrs. God

  • "I had learned to call thee Father,
    Through thy Spirit from on high;
    But until the key of knowledge
    Was restored, I knew not why.
    In the heavens are parents single?
    No; the thought makes reason stare!
    Truth is reason, truth eternal
    Tells me I've a mother there.

  • "When I leave this frail existence,
    When I lay this mortal by,
    Father, Mother, may I meet you
    In your royal courts on high?
    Then, at length, when I've completed
    All you sent me forth to do,
    With your mutual approbation
    Let me come and dwell with you."
  • (Eliza R. Snow, Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother).

God commands us to honor our mother:

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12).

But He seems distinctly unhappy about honoring the "Queen of Heaven":

"'Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, "We are delivered to do all these abominations"? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,' says the LORD....Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.  Do they provoke Me to anger?' says the LORD. 'Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?' Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place — on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground.  And it will burn and not be quenched.'" (Jeremiah 7:8-20).
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: 'You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, "We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!'...Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them." (Jeremiah 44:25-27).

Why is the Bible unaware of the existence of any such party? Even God doesn't know anything about Her: "'Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.'" (Isaiah 44:8). Is He an inattentive husband, grown used to seeing His Wife as part of the wall-paper pattern; or does She not exist?

This author, popular with Mormons, laments that Josiah's religious reform so completely obliterated worship of the "The Lady" that this 'missing' information now must be reconstituted from pagan texts:

"Not only had there been another high priesthood in the first temple, but before the influence of the Deuteronomists the Hebrews had known of more than one divine being. The other nations had other gods, but they also recognized more than one divine being in their own Jerusalem temple. There was God Most High (El Elyon) who had sons, the Firstborn of whom was the LORD (Yahweh) the God of Israel, and the Mother of the LORD was the Lady of the temple." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 1493).

"[M]ore than one?" How many does the Bible count?:

How Many Gods?

"And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth." (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham, 4:1).

The Gods? How many gods are known to the Bible, anyway? Only One:

How Many Gods?

How many Gods?

Only One God Henotheism
What did the pagans believe? Finis Jennings Dake
Witnesses Origen
Who are they?

Who are the "other gods"?

Strange Gods Gods of Wood and Stone
Is a 'fake rose' a rose? Worship Him!
Counterfeit Bills Dark Matter
None Like Thee So-called Gods
God of this World Moses
Elohim Stars
Prince of Tyre Psalm 82
Lower than the Angels Before the gods
Only One God

Only One God

Worship One One Jehovah One God

Travelling down a road paved with good intentions, the unlettered prophet resolved to acquire a real education in the Hebrew language. He hired tutors, including Joshua Seixas: "He [Joseph Smith] enlarged the School of the Prophets to include classes in Greek and Hebrew, hiring as instructor a Jewish rabbi, Joshua Seixas, originally from Andover Academy." (Fawn M. Brodie, 'No Man Knows My History,' p. 169). Mormon convert Alexander Neibaur added his input: "In the fall of 1843 had the honor of instructing the Prophet Joseph Smith until he went to Carthage, in German and Hebrew. . ." (Alexander Neibaur, 'A Family History'). These instructors taught their student that the Hebrew 'elohim' ['God'] is plural in form. That there is thus a plurality of gods was a conclusion already drawn by interpreters whose inversion of the grammar of Genesis 1:1 Joseph also adopted:

"Elohim ('God') is thus not the subject but the object of the sentence. This daring interpretation is common to almost all 13th century kabbalists." (Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 110.).

Joseph's understanding of Genesis 1:1 runs as follows: "The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods." (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse). A later eclectic pagan influenced by the Kabbalah, Madame Blavatsky, is headed in the same direction: "Now the secret reading of the first verse of Genesis being: 'In Rash (B'rash) or head, developed gods, the Heavens and the Earth.'. . .Numerically Jehovah, Adam, Noah, are one in the Kabbalah: at best, then, it is Deity descending on to Ararat (later on Sinai), to incarnate in man his image, through the natural process, henceforth. . ." (Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine, SD p. 444, Kindle location 39217). Thus fate brought Joseph's wandering life to intersection with some of the worst tendencies in Jewish theology, which he however took as 'inside information:'

"The motif of the golem as it appears in medieval legends originates in the talmudic legend (Sanh. 65b). . .These legends are brought as evidence that 'If the righteous wished, they could create a world.'" (Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 351).

What had been up to that time a recognizably Christian movement ceased to be such. The striking features of Joseph Smith's late teaching come from burst onto the Christian scene like a bolt from the blue, but in reality they have a history. The reader of late works like the King Follett Discourse perceives, we're not in Kansas anymore:

"In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. . .These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a 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; and I will show it from the Bible." (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse).

Ye are Gods

"As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become." (Lorenzo Snow).

Does Psalm 82 confirm that believers are gods-in-the-making? Why does Jesus quote this passage?

Ye are Gods
"I said, Ye are gods."
Legal Defense A Fortieri
Polytheism Weak Link
Elohim Family Portrait
God's Hands Mighty Ones
Theoi Church Fathers
Magistrates Zeus and Hera

I am the Same

The Book of Mormon agrees with the Bible that God does not change: "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. . ." (2 Nephi 27:23, 2 Nephi 29:9, 1 Nephi 10:18). The Bible teaches the same: "For I am the LORD, I change not. . ." (Malachi 3:6, 3 Nephi 24:6):

  • “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:18).

  • "By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them; And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them; And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship."
  • (Doctrine and Covenants, 20:17-19)

But Joseph would later forget what he taught in the Book of Mormon, teaching instead, "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see." (King Follett Discourse). Bible-believers have not forgotten:

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." (Psalm 90:2).

One could not describe a more radical change than what is here imputed to God: a metamorphosis from creaturely status to God. What had changed in the interim: did God, or Joseph Smith?

Who is Jehovah?

The Book of Mormon teaches that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, was crucified:

  • “And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel...And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 19:10-13).

  • "And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me."
  • (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 6:9).

  • "Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ–for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him–for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God."
  • (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:2).

The Book of Mormon is emphatic in identifying Jesus Christ as the God of Israel:

  • "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."
  • (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:14).

  • "For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay. . ."
  • (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:5)

The Book of Mormon teaches that it was Jesus Christ who covenanted with His people Israel:

  • “And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he perceived that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would concerning the law of Moses. . .Behold, I am he that gave the law, and I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfill the law; therefore it hath an end.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:2-5).

That is to say, the Book of Mormon wants it understood that the Eternal Father covenanted with the house of Israel:

  • “And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:31).

Though subsequent Mormon apologists would stretch themselves into pretzel shape trying to squeeze Joseph's later tritheism into these passages, at the time he wrote the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith taught that Jesus Christ is both "the Father and the Son":

  • "Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people.  Behold I am Jesus Christ.  I am the Father and the Son.  In me shall all mankind have life...and they shall become my sons and my daughters.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Ether 3:14).

  • ". . .saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh. . .For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world."
  • (Book of Mormon, Ether 4:8-12).

Though he would later veer in quite a different direction, at the time he wrote the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was a modalist:

 Modalism in the 
Book of Mormon

The modalism of this early work would give way in time to polytheism. Joseph Smith veered from one extreme to the other without stopping to check in at the way-station of orthodoxy, which teaches that there is only one God, and that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. How can a player run from left field to far right field without crossing through center field?

The closest approach Joseph made to orthodox trinitarianism was in his 'Lectures on Faith,' which were originally part of the Doctrine and Covenants but have since been removed. In this work he describes Father and Son as two "personages." He still clings to an incarnational sonship: ". . .and is called the Son because of the flesh. . ." He does not count the Holy Spirit as a "personage." It does seem, though, that he is trying to incorporate the helpful advice he was undoubtedly given by trinitarians, a helpful people, after the Book of Mormon. Though he has by this point abandoned modalism, he continues to concede that "these three are one:" ". . .these three are one; or, in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things; by whom all things were created and made that were created and made, and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one. . ." He defines the oneness of God in terms of the Holy Spirit, not mere agreement: ". . .possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit. . ." This treatment was no longer felt to be satisfactory after he and the Mormons following him took up mockery of the Trinity.

The God of the Old Testament is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are many valid New Testament proofs that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God. . .just as there are that God the Father is Jehovah God, and that the Holy Spirit is Jehovah God. It is true that most of the Old Testament theophanies were appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ, but it is not helpful to make the sweeping and exclusive identification of the God of the Old Testament with the Son only as Mormon theology still holds: "Christ is Jehovah; they are one and the same Person." (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, p. 392). The Gnostics of old ejected 'God the Father' from the Old Testament, portraying Him as a strange god newly entered onto the scene in the New Testament. Contemporary Latter-Day Saints, though they have abandoned Joseph Smith's early modalism, follow him in identifying the God of Israel with Jesus Christ, the Son. Identifying the God of the Old Testament with one person of the trinity is a distinctly unpromising route to go down, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6); He is ever what He was and what He will be. Unlike the Gnostics Mormons find the Father in the Old Testament, but in unaccustomed places; Brigham Young found Him in Adam at the Garden of Eden!

But it is just as easy to prove the God of the Old Testament is the Father as it is to prove He is the Son -- a manifest proof the God of the Old Testament is triune!:

The Father is Jehovah God.

One Father God the Father God of Abraham
Only True God Doubtless Our Father
The Vineyard My Father's House High Priest
Father of the Messiah Israel the Firstborn Jeremiah
Touch me Not Rock Potter and Clay
His Offspring One God and One Lord Father of Lights
Father of Mercies Suffering Servant Abba, Father
Born Again Exclusive Club The Synagogue
The Talmud

For that matter the Book of Mormon itself concedes the Father is Jehovah God, for instance, here quoting "the Father" as "the Lord of Hosts:"

  • “And it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto them. And it came to pass after they were written he expounded them. And these are the words which he did tell unto them, saying: Thus said the Father unto Malachi -- Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 24:1).

The Book of Mormon here identifies the "Lord of Hosts" of Malachi 3:1, Jehovah Sabaoth, as "the Father." What a tangled skein Joseph, in his wanderings from modalism to tritheism, left for his followers to unravel!

O Little Town of...Jerusalem?

  • “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Alma 7:10).

Mormons point out that this is approximately true, more or less.

False Prophecy

  • “The relation in which Smith stands to the church, is that of a Prophet, Seer, Revealer, and Translator; and when he speaks by the Spirit, or says he knows a thing by the communication of the Spirit, it is received as coming directly from the mouth of the Lord. When he says he knows a thing to be so, thus it must stand without controversy. A question is agitated between two Elders of the church — whether or not a bucket of water will become heavier by putting a living fish in it. Much is said by each of the disputants; when at length, Smith decides in the negative, by saying — "I know by the spirit, that it will be no heavier." Any person who chooses, may easily ascertain by actual experiment, whether the Prophet was influenced in this decision by a true or false spirit.”
  • (Ezra Booth, Letter One, quoted Chapter XV, Mormonism Unveiled, Ed Howe).

There are instances when Joseph Smith, speaking in the character of a prophet, said things would happen which did not happen. This is not good:

  • “A REVELATION of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.”
  • (The Doctrine and Covenants, Section 84, 1-5).

But that generation has passed away, and there is still no such temple in Independence, Missouri. As Joseph pointed out, "Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet." (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse), and he exercised that right. As the Lord said, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied." (Jeremiah 23:21).

In the Mormon scheme of things, Jesus Christ created the world, but not including the spirits of men, who were born through natural generation of the union between Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Thus He is the creator, but He is not our Creator, only our elder brother. This is somewhat reminiscent of Marcion's second century scheme, though the 'two gods' responsible for, respectively, the world and humanity, are on friendlier terms. Who is Jesus Christ: is He eternal God, from everlasting to everlasting, or did He come into existence at some prior point in the eternal round?

Jesus Christ: Creator or creature? 
Jesus Christ is the Creator!

The Book of Mormon teaches, in conformity with Bible doctrine, that God spoke the worlds into being: "For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?" (Book of Mormon, Jacob 4:9). This creative word, or 'logos,' became incarnate in Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon describes Jesus Christ as creator of "all things:" "And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary." (Mosiah 3:8).

This doctrine of Christ as Creator erodes in Joseph's later teaching, along with all other Bible doctrine. The ground of creation shrinks; instead of speaking the worlds into being ex nihilo, God arranged pre-existing matter. If Jesus Christ truly created "all things" that were created, then He also pre-existed all created things. But God's eternity also erodes, replaced by gods procreating in time like a tribe of squirrels. What is left in contemporary Mormon doctrine is a Jesus Christ who did not create "all things" as stated in the Book of Mormon, but who Himself came into being.

Traditional theism recognizes that, if the material things we see around us came into being at some time, as they all did, then there must behind them be an uncaused cause, an eternally existent being who calls all these ephemeral things into the light of existence. Yet all this dissolves in Joseph's later teaching, into eternal matter and a tribe of gods who inhabit the cosmos as tenants, the way people do.

Hobgoblin of Little Minds

Not only are the various scriptures produced by Joseph Smith not in accord with the Bible, they are not even in accord with one another. Joseph Smith began his career as prophet celebrating monogamy:

  • “Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:27-28).

  • "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. . .Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts."
  • (Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:24-28).

  • "And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men's shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings."
  • (Book of Mormon, Ether 10:5).

...and ended quite differently: "In 1887 the Utah Church historian, Andrew Jenson, drawing upon the enormous file of secret manuscript material in the church library in Salt Lake City, compiled a list of twenty-seven wives of Joseph Smith." (Fawn M. Brodie, 'No Man Knows my History,' Appendix C, The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith). Just as Mohammed ibn Abdallah's wives came in for divine chiding in the Koran, Joseph's wife Emma is likewise instructed to stuff a sock in it:

 Plural Marriage 

In 1831, Joseph Smith is still reminding the Shakers that God made the two one: "Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. . ." (Revelation to the Shakers).

So what happened? The careers of Mohammed ibn Abdallah and Joseph Smith followed the same trajectory: these prophets found a following. Fleeing mockery, ridicule and vandalism, they formed communities around themselves. To the faithful, the prophet's word was law. What would a man do with that kind of power?

Surrounded by a little band that hung on their every word as the very word of God, these men saw opportunities open up which most men never face. If a man could get away with anything, would he? Or would he fear the God he claimed to serve? Both Mohammed ibn Abdallah and Joseph Smith decided, at a certain point in their prophetic career, that what they really wanted was their neighbor's wife. The 'God' for whom they spoke wholeheartedly seconded the move. In neither case did it escape the senior wife's notice that the 'God' who spoke sounded suspiciously like a ventriloquist's dummy.

As already noted, Joseph Smith covered a wide swath of theological territory in his wanderings, from modalism in the Book of Mormon to polytheism in his later writings. The god census in the Book of Mormon is one only:

  • “...for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 13:41).

  • "Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he answered, No."
  • (Alma 11:28-29).

  • "For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fullness of his own time."
  • (2 Nephi 11:7).

  • ". . . whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God. . ."
  • (Book of Mormon, Ether 2:8).

When asked to reconcile the god count of the Book of Mormon with the "gods" who would later appear, Mormons fail to see the problem, explaining that 'one' means just the same as 'many.' Joseph Smith himself was aware, however, of a disjunction: either there is one god or there are many: "A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest." (28, Doctrine and Covenants Section 121, Prayers and prophecies from the Liberty, Missouri jail).

If Joseph Smith spoke as a prophet when he wrote in the Book of Mormon that there is only one God, then how is he speaking in the same spirit when he prophesies about the "gods"? It is not God who is the author of confusion. Man himself, whatever the size of his mind, too often finds consistency an elusive hobgoblin, impossible to catch.

Joseph Smith began by teaching, in the Book of Mormon, that Father, Son and Holy Ghost are "one God:"

  • “And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31:21).

  • "And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one. . ."
  • (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:27).

  • "And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one."
  • (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:36).

  • ". . .to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end."
  • (Book of Mormon, Mormon 7:7)

Joseph's understanding of that fact was defective, but the fact remains just as he stated it, and just as he himself had heard it preached: that Father, Son and Holy Ghost = one God. He ends by ridiculing. . .the very same idea he began by teaching:

  • “Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God! I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three!”
  • (Joseph Smith, Sermon on the Plurality of Gods).

 Plurality of Gods 

It should be apparent that a prophet who contradicts himself is no prophet.

Spell Check

  • “...and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax.”
  • (Book of Mormon, Enos 1:20).

Pssst...'cimeter'...scimitar? Not a novel weapon, 'cimeter' is a phonetic spelling for 'scimitar,' pronounced "sim'i-ter," from Old French "cimeterre." (Webster's International, 1965).

Joseph Smith likened himself to Mohammed ibn Abdallah:

"If the people will let us alone, we will preach the gospel in peace. But if they come on us to molest us, we will establish our religion by the sword. We will trample down our enemies and make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. I will be to this generation a second Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was 'the Alcoran or the Sword.' So shall it eventually be with us -- 'Joseph Smith or the Sword!'" (Joseph Smith, quoted pp.230-231, Fawn M. Brodie, 'No Man Knows my History)

There seems to be an element of conscious patterning here. Both these unlettered prophets collected harems and ended as the leader of a polity, not just a church. So 'scimitars' fit well with Joseph's documented interests, whereas there ain't no such thing as a 'cimeter.'

"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." (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22).

What conclusions do, and do not, follow from the visions of God experienced by Old Testament and New Testament saints?:

The Beatific Vision

The God Kind of Faith

  • "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."

    "By this we understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

    "Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute — for it is an attribute — from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.”
  • (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, First Lecture, 14-16).

Joseph Smith's influence turns up in surprising places. His distinctive teaching on faith, generations after his death, would take the world by storm as the Word of Faith movement:

on Faith

This language sounds distinctly 'off' to traditional theists. Why would an omniscient, omnipotent being need faith? Faith is for the blind, not the seeing: "For we walk by faith, not by sight..." (2 Corinthians 5:7).

The Doctrine of the Trinity

Sometimes, not wanting to alarm potential converts, the Mormons will say, 'we too believe in the trinity,' but then proceed to explain with something like this:

"The Godhead may be further illustrated by a council, consisting of three men — all possessing equal wisdom, knowledge, and truth, together with equal qualifications in every other respect. Each person would be a separate distinct person or substance from the other two, and yet the three would form but ONE council." (Absurdities of Immaterialism, Orson Pratt, 1849).

What is the real doctrine?

Biblical Proof:

Only One GodThe Father is GodThe Son is GodThe Holy Spirit is God

The four propositions proven above: that

a.) There is only One God;
b.) The Father is God;
c.) The Son is God;
d.) The Holy Spirit is God.

-- are at the heart of the fifth-century Athanasian Creed: "So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.  And yet they are not three gods: but one God." Mormons concur with b.), c.) and even d.); it's point a.) which needs remedial work!

Hold on to Your Wallet

Joseph Smith's colorful career included the founding of the 'Kirtland Safety Society Bank Company,' organized in 1836. Those who left the movement told interesting stories about this short-lived bank and its assets, real or imaginary:

  • “Lining the shelves of the bank vault, they said, were many boxes, each marked $1,000. Actually these boxes were filled with 'sand, lead, old iron, stone, and combustibles,' but each had a top layer of bright fifty-cent silver coins. Anyone suspicious of the bank's stability was allowed to lift and count the boxes. 'The effect of those boxes was like magic;' said C.G. Webb...Joseph's secretary, Warren Parrish, who was cashier for a short time, wrote in 1838: 'I have been astonished to hear him declare that we had $60,000 in specie in our vaults and $600,000 at our command, when we had not to exceed $6,000 and could not command any more; also that we had but about ten thousand dollars of our bills in circulation when he, as cashier of that institution, knew that there was at least $150,000.'”
  • (Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows my History, Disaster in Kirtland, pp. 196-197).

Not surprisingly, "On January 27, less than a month after the bank's opening, the Painesville Telegraph reported that he had 'shut up shop...saying he would not redeem another dollar except with land.' Everyone possessing Kirtland bank bills now tried desperately to get rid of them. By February 1 they were selling for twelve and one half cents on the dollar." (Ibid., pp. 197-198). Most troubling of all, it appears that Joseph imposed upon people in his character of a prophet, assuring them the bank was solvent when it was not:

"But the Safety Society's poor start had shaken the faith of many Saints, leading them to question the prophet's spiritual leadership that had spurred their investment.  In the past , the Lord had revealed scripture through Joseph, making it easy for them to exercise faith that he was a prophet of God. But when Joseph's statements about the Safety Society appeared to go unfulfilled, and their investments began to slip away, many Saints became uneasy and critical of Joseph." (Saints: The Standard of Truth, Chapter 23, Every Snare, Kindle location 4692).

Joseph was ultimately obliged to slip out of town in the dead of night after his bank came crashing down. This outcome cannot inspire confidence in his prophetic vocation.


A common form of proof of God's triunity — His 'Three-in-One'ness — are the many instances where scripture ascribes one divine work indifferently to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Creation, one case in point, is covered above in "The First Page". The principle: "With regard to the divine nature, on the other hand, it is otherwise. We do not learn that the Father does something on his own, in which the Son does not co-operate. Or again, that the Son acts on his own without the Spirit. Rather does every operation which extends from God to creation and is designated according to our differing conceptions of it have its origin in the Father, proceed through the Son, and reach its completion by the Holy Spirit." (Gregory of Nyssa, On Not Three Gods). More cases in point:

Who Raised Jesus from the Dead?
Who Authored Holy Writ?
Who Alone is Holy?
Who Sanctifies Believers?
Who Gives Eternal Life?
Who Supplies Pastors?

Three in One

Family Ties

In the Wentworth Letter, Joseph Smith explains that the Book of Mormon reveals the racial history of contemporary Native Americans, who are a "remnant" of Israelites descended from Joseph:

"The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country." (Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter)
 The Wentworth 

When population groups are closely related, the link can be detected through medical means. But these methods do not confirm Middle Eastern descent of the Native Americans:

"In the 1990s, DNA studies gave Mormon detractors further ammunition and new allies such as Simon G. Southerton, a molecular biologist and former bishop in the church. Southerton, a senior research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, said genetic research allowed him to test his religious views against his scientific training. Genetic testing of Jews throughout the world had already shown that they shared common strains of DNA from the Middle East. Southerton examined studies of DNA lineages among Polynesians and indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America. One mapped maternal DNA lines from 7,300 Native Americans from 175 tribes. Southerton found no trace of Middle Eastern DNA in the genetic strands of today's American Indians and Pacific Islanders." (Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2006, 'Bedrock of a Faith is Jolted,' William Lobdell,

Some Mormon apologists are now calling the Book of Mormon an inspired work of fiction. Inspired or otherwise, fact it's not.

Anachronism KJV Only
White Supremacy Faith Alone
Dearly Beloved Last Chance
Strange Fire Secret Combinations
The Temple Modalism

The Book of Mormon

You Who Hear Prayer

Mormons are encouraged to pray to the heavenly Father:

  • “Prayer is the way we communicate with our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear our deepest feelings and concerns. Prayer isn’t complicated or rigid. It is simply communicating what’s in your heart to your Father in Heaven.”
  • (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, web-site).

They are not encouraged to pray to Jesus Christ, even though saints like Paul and Stephen did so:

"Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
"And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'" (Acts 7:59)

Some of their authorities frown on prayers to Jesus:

"Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed. . .This is plain sectarian nonsense. Our prayers are addressed to the Father, and to him only. They do not go through Christ, or the Blessed Virgin, or St. Genevieve or along the beads of a rosary." (Bruce R. McConkie, Our Relationship with the Lord, BYU).

However the most basic doctrines of this novel faith are up for grabs; they are not set in stone as with older religions but are quite variable. Mormons, who do not believe in the trinity, are prone to identify Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, with Jesus Christ. This makes all the stranger their reluctance to pray to Jesus, because everyone who is godly prays to the living God:

"For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him." (Psalm 32:6)
"O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come." (Psalm 65:2).
"The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them." (Psalm 145:18-19).

The disciples in the Book of Mormon pray to Jesus: "And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God." (3 Nephi 19:18).

So what is the embarrassment? It's a problem because, by the Mormon count, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are 'three gods.' They claim to be henotheists, who occupy the rung below monotheists; henotheists worship one God, while considering that others may exist. Christians worship and adore Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If Mormons fall into line behind them, and yet still cling to their own unique definitions, they would be open polytheists! Having described Jesus Christ and God the Father as separate beings, the Mormons wander lost in a maze of unwelcome alternatives: either pray to both Jesus and the Father as the Bible directs, but which by their logic takes them out of henotheism and into open polytheism, or deprive Jesus Christ of the honor the Bible demands for Him: "But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: 'Let all the angels of God worship Him.'" (Hebrews 1:6). Jesus demands no less of us: "That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." (John 5:23). If your theology does not allow you to obey God's commands, your theology is wrong!

Not only the Bible, but also the Book of Mormon, commands men everywhere to worship the God of Israel. His people must worship Him: "And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out." (2 Nephi 25:29). This command is for all: ". . .and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." (2 Nephi 26:33). "All men" in America are to worship Him: ". . .for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:19). With so much exhortation ringing in their ears, why do Mormons hang back?

A Jealous God

Baptismal Regeneration

  • “For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.”
  • (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31:17).

During the years leading up to publication of the Book of Mormon, Alexander Campbell was preaching in America a gospel that identified the act of baptism with the new birth. This new gospel energized young Joseph.  The affection, however, was not mutual.

Baptismal Regeneration

Baptismal Regeneration

Dead Men Walking The Like Figure
Flag Factory Living Waters
Thief on the Cross Frozen Lake
Preach the Gospel Wind Blows
Martin Luther John Calvin
Answer New Lives for Old
Heart of Flesh Prayer Wheels
Born Again John Gill
Whosoever Believes Synonym
Nature of Sin Mark 16
Infant Baptism

Joseph Smith's difficulty in understanding the gospel message of salvation is shown succinctly in his translation of Romans 4:5, which runs, in the King James version,

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5).

This made no sense to Joseph, who instead gives us,

"But to him that seeketh not to be justified by the law of works, but believeth on him who justifieth not the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." (Romans 4:5, Joseph Smith translation.)

Why would God justify the ungodly, wondered Joseph? Plainly, there is a "NOT" missing there!

Mohammed ibn Abdallah and Joseph Smith reacted almost identically to the complaint, heard early on, that their 'revelations' conflicted with the Bible. The Bible has been corrupted!

  • “These revelations entirely supersede the Bible, and in fact, the Bible is declared too defective to be trusted, in its present form; and it is designed that it shall undergo a thorough alteration, or as they say, translation. This work is now in operation. The Gospel of St. Matthew has already received the purifying touch, and is prepared for the use of the church.”
  • (Ezra Booth, Letter Two, quoted Chapter XV, Mormonism Unveiled, by Ed Howe).

But not to worry, a new translation will fix the problem. Likewise, Mohammed ibn Abdallah never went so far as to accuse the Bible itself of corruption, rather he accused the Jews and Christians of misrepresenting its contents. Both men were founders; the new religions they established persist to this day. How does this happen? How can someone insist he is 'restoring' when he is creating?:

Mormon Doctrine

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote a widely-used compendium called 'Mormon Doctrine.' It may be somewhat out of date,— the Mormons are a people in flux,— but in its day it was solidly mainstream. Something Bruce McConkie says respecting the church formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he calls a "cult," is strangely apropos: "As is commonly the case in the apostate churches of the world, the beliefs and doctrines of the Reorganized Church are in a constant state of change and alteration." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 629-630). Tu quoque. Some thoughts:


Divine Sex Exalted Man
Adam God Heavenly Mother
Omnipresence Racism
Eternal Matter Is Mormonism a Cult?
Polytheism Gnolaum
All Things Common Ten Commandments

Mormon Doctrine 
Mormon Doctrine

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