In a class at church one of the fellow parishioners mentioned this August 20th show by Albert Mohler where he discusses the official doctrinal change of the Mormon Church. MORMONISM RESEARCH MINISTRY (MRM) notes the difficulty in the change:
(Imported here 4/2014 [originally posted HERE 12/2007])
(above) Joseph Smith’s Handwritten Account of His Vision in His Diary
Ronald Said (an old debate many yearn ago):
“And about what Joseph Smith believed, he SAW the Father and Jesus Christ, at the same time. He saw that they had bodies like ours, except glorified….To say that Joseph Smith believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were the same is laughable, at best.”
Well, I will quote again the latter part of your comment for clarity, “To say that Joseph Smith believed that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were the same is laughable, at best.”, unfortunately you are laughing at the Book of Mormon. I added nothing to this book, or took anything out. So when you laugh, you’re laughing at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Secondly, the “vision” that defines for you who God (and his subsequent nature) is commonly referred to as the First Vision, is very important to LDS theology. And separates it from historical Christianity. The First Vision sets up the following, and thus Smith’s
- Prophetic authority,
- Teaching concerning the nature of God, and
- Condemnation of historical Christian beliefs is all dependent upon the credibility of this first vision account.
I would invite anyone who can examine evidence and delineate between what is truth and what is false [who were reading this real-time exchange… slightly edited for readability]. However, this invitation excludes Ronald because he already knows it to be true… how? Due to a feeling he received in his chest when he prayed over the book of Mormon. His only criterion is a sensation, which, if allowed or caused by a fallen angel, Ronald would have no recourse in testing this phenomenon.
Keep in mind that the Mormon Church believes in a form of tri-theism. In other words, the Father has a body of flesh and is a completely separate being than from Christ. Christ has his own body and was in fact born (by sexual union) by heavenly mother in heaven (the Planet Kolob) ~ [could you imagine Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard teaming up!?]. If Christ was not born, Heavenly Father would still be God, they are separate – corporeal – beings. And the Holy Ghost is a God as well, but has a spirit body, still quite discernible. I presume much like Casper the Friendly Ghost’s body. [For more info, see my 4 Trinity Posts on page 3]
The First Vision
Smith’s official account of this pivotal event was published in Times and Seasons in 1842, twenty-two years after the episode allegedly took place. This account is now published in the Pearle of Great Price, and is accepted as Scripture by Mormons. However, Mormon authorities suppressed at least three additional earlier accounts of the first vision, all by Smith, because they contradicted the “official” story. And the official first vision was not published until 1840.
For example, the earliest account we now posses, from 1832, varies in key details from the official 1842 version. There are discrepancies in Smith’s age, in the message given and the number of divine personages in the vision. There are also details added, such as the presence of an evil power, Smith’s reason for seeking the Lord, and the existence of a revival. All this lends serious doubt to the credibility of the official account.
Consider for instance, the divine persons in the revelation. In this version (1832) only “Jesus” appears. What happened to God the Father? The first handwritten account of Joseph Smith does not even mention the existence of the Father – who plays so crucial a role in the official version.
It is absolutely impossible for us to believe that Joseph Smith would not have mentioned the Father if he had actually appeared…. We feel that the only reasonable explanation for the Father not being mentioned in the account that was suppressed is that Joseph Smith did not see God the Father, and that he made up this part of the story after the writing of the first manuscript. This, of course, throws a shadow of doubt upon the whole story.
Consider yet another of Smith’s accounts written between 1835 and 1836. In this case there is no mention of God or Christ at all – only many spirits who “testified” of Jesus. But here again, the authority of the account – and of Mormonism’s “divine origin” – is called into question. No longer is it God and Jesus telling Joseph Smith to begin a new church because all the others are abominations; it is now only a group of nebulous “spirits.” why should anyone accept the word of a fifteen-year-old boy claimed he talked with some unidentified spirits? Even if he did, why should anyone trust such spirits in the first place? If my fifteen-year-old boy claimed he saw a vision of God or Jesus giving him divine authority, why should Mormons believe him?
So what do we have?
We now have three different handwritten manuscripts of the first vision. They are all written by Joseph Smith or his scribes and yet every one of them is different. The first vision account says there was only one personage. The second account says there were many, and the third says there were two.
The LDS Church accepts the one with two personages. If I were to accept one, it would be the first account. It was written six or seven years closer to the event. Also, this account, which mentions only one personage (Jesus), is the only account in Joseph Smith’s own handwriting (his diary).
In fact, as Fawn Brodie explains:
The description of the vision was first published by Orson Pratt in his Remarkable Visions in 1840, twenty years after it was supposed to have occurred. Between 1820 and 1840 Joseph’s friends were writing long panegyrics; his enemies were defaming him in an unceasing stream of affidavits and pamphlets, and Joseph himself was dictating several volumes of Bible-flavored prose. But no one in this long period even intimidated that he had heard the story of the two gods. At least, no such intimidation has survived in print or manuscript…. The first published Mormon history, begun with Joseph’s collaboration in 1834 by Oliver Cowdery, ignored it altogether… Joseph’s own description of the first vision was not published until 1842, twenty-two years after the memorable event….
If something happened that spring morning in 1820, it passed totally unnoticed in Joseph’s hometown, and apparently did not even fix itself in the minds of members of his own family. The awesome vision he described in later years may have been the elaboration of some half-remembered dream [keep in mind his first account in his diary] stimulated by the early revival excitement and reinforced by the rich folklore of visions circulating in his neighborhood. Or it may have been sheer invention, created some time after 1834 when the need arose for a magnificent tradition to cancel out the stories of his fortune-telling and money-digging.
So no one besides Joseph Smith in his diary even mentioned this vision for twenty years!? Unlike the resurrection report of Jesus, we have papyri dating to A.D. 55, Dead Sea scroll illusion dating to A.D. 49, and early creeds and catacomb writings dating to A.D. 44. These all describe the resurrection (as well as the belief that Jesus was God almighty). These are all based on earlier beliefs, so we can get the date even closer. But the point is this; such an event is well remembered and talked about. For the most important foundation for the origin of the Mormon Church to not even be mentioned in the throes of massive copying and writing seems to be the most serious objection to the vision being valid.
And, like I have shown, the Mormon Church has made sweeping changes to the Book of Mormon and Doctrines and Covenants, as well as other important Church writings. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they massively tampered with the official account of the first vision as well. This all shows that the foundation for the existence of the Mormon Church is called into question. But that’s okay Ronald, you can grasp onto that “burning in the bosom,” cause it’s all you got buddy.
(Originally posted in April of 2014)
This is a tough topic to deal with. Mainly because there are many who talk about the same topic who insert many wild-eyed conspiracy stories and points of view that include the New World Order, and many other historical reinterpretations that dilute both the goal and the veracity of the truth of the matter. However, there are many LDS respected, Mormon authors, that have come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith borrowed heavily from Freemasonry, which is really modern day Gnosticism (see #7 in my run-in with actor, Michael Berryman). One video presentation that includes a BYU Professor/Mormon, that speaks about this occultic connection found in Mormonism is the following video:
The Mormon author/professor who is mentioned in the above video, Dr. Quinn, wrote a book that caused a brow-or-two to raise within the Mormon church. His fellow compatriots that is. It is entitled Early Mormonism and the Magic World View. Here is a partial review of the book from MRM:
- Jesus of Historic Christianity: Jesus is eternal, there never was a time when He did not exist.He is the creator of the time/space continuum which includes the entire known and unknown universe, all the planets and stars, energy, gravity, natural laws, and the like – all this places him as part of the Trinity.Because of His all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-presence nature, he is rightly called God Almighty.
- Jesus of the Watchtower (Jehovah’s Witnesses): Michael the Archangel is the first creative act of God, after that God creates everything else through Michael the Archangel.When Michael comes to earth he is known as Jesus Christ, but when back in heaven once again takes his place as Michael the Archangel.
- Jesus of LDS (Mormons): Jesus was the first begotten son by Heavenly Father and Mother (one of many mothers, but presumably this one is the most important.Polygamy is practiced in the Mormon top-tear heaven), Lucifer was also born of a sexual act in heaven, so Jesus and Satan are literally brothers – as we are all brothers and sisters, albeit most likely half-brother or sister.During the judgment period Elohim, Jesus, and Joseph Smith will judge every Mormon and according to his works.(I say his, because in Mormon theology women are consecrated to a Mormon man, so her salvation depends on his good works.If he does not make it, in heaven she may become one of the many wives of a Mormon male that did make the cut, so-to-speak.) Again, Jesus had to become exalted Himself to also attain the best Heaven so he to can be a god of his own world.This godhood exaltation goes back to infinity in Mormon theology.So Heavenly Father was once a man on a planet much like our, and he too had to attain exultation, he had a father, that father had a father, and so on. (see video below)
As I point out in my chapter on Mormonism, the “god” Mormons worship is too small. Why? Because Jesus is understood to be part of the ETERNAL Holy Trinity, and thus, as God proper, created even the space-time-continuum. Why is this significant? I will explain from an old post that turned into my chapter:
Do you understand? One would be better off worshiping information (as found in DNA: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) rather than “heavenly father.” Information, so-to-speak, is more powerful than the Mormon god. Hell, gravity is as well. Two completely different Gods — the Christian vs. LDS.
Again, to be clear, Mormons are not a Christian sect in the same vein as say, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Evangelical, or the like. Many LDS say they are Christians, but here is a simple example to show that they are waaay off following their conclusions to logical ends.
Imagine if you will, myself walking into a Mormon stake (church) and proclaiming myself a Mormon. To which, when asked/quizzed, I elucidate:
A knowledgeable Latter-day Saint would defy that such a person was, in fact, a true Mormon. why? Because this person who claims to be Mormon denies the very doctrines that make Mormons what they are. At the same time, however, a Mormon who claims to be Christian denies the very doctrines that make Christians what they are.
Indeed, Mormonism denies or distorts the basic tenants of Biblical Christianity. The two religions are incompatible. The areas of difference include the doctrine of God, the basis for authority, and the idea of salvation for mankind.
Enough said to make it clear we are talking about two separate — completely separate — faiths, we can wade back into the occult aspect of the LDS faith.
A hidden camera was brought into a temple ceremony that collaborates well the following video presentation showing the pre-1990 ceremony (which was replaced heavily with video presentations versus actors). The LDS church’s theology and ceremonies are always in flux, even the “historical” First Vision has been changed many times over.
The hidden camera footage (found here) is interesting because near the end the slits in the fabric wall are explained, and as we shall see in yet another video, these tie into the “magic Mormon underwear.” But first, the classic presentation of some of the temple ceremonies:
Here are a few of the similarities listed between Masonic and LDS temple ceremonies which cause HONEST Mormons to agree with historical evidences of Joseph Smiths involvement with Freemasonry, as well as well as aesthetic comparisons:
Of course, even after all the above, many Mormons will brush aside dealing with these challenging presentations to their theology. And thus reject truth for religious ideology. Faith is even viewed differently in LDS theology than it is in Christianity:
I know God is unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), cannot tell lies (Hebrews 6:18-19), again, does not lie…
Within Mormonism — if you were diligent to follow the above conversation — there is an endless line of gods, many, many gods in fact…. into infinity; that would negate truth being told us from either Elohim or Yahweh. To wit…
I will end with this presentation that is a good — humorously of course… but with an air of warning — connecting the Temple ceremony with the vaunted magic Mormon underwear, is this presentation by John Safran, entitled, “John Safran vs God – Masonic Mormon Underwear Exposed (pardon the pun..)” Here it is, enjoy:
(Originally posted in April of 2014)
This post is intimately tied to my chapter in my book on the Mormon concept thusly the attributes assigned to “god.” It is from a seminary level book all seminary level LDS have to read. Right click and choose “open link in new tab” in order to see it larger. The first three smaller scans are the publishing date and rear/front covers. I also cataloged these as part of my “Conversation Series” because the link to my chapter is partly from an actual conversation I had with two LDS missionaries. (I will also be importing and beefing up my “Mormon” tag.)
The larger pages (below) are the meat of the issue dealt with and specifically referenced (and thus explained) in my chapter in my book, linked directly below. I was just reading veraciously on this topic then and was fine-tunes to respond, so, enjoy the read if you link to my chapter on it:
CLICK TO ENLARGE IN NEW WINDOW
In any discussion with a Mormon, the following redefinition of biblical/ Christian terms must be kept in mind. Although Mormons themselves may be ignorant of some of the definitions cited below, they represent true Mormon teaching as proven by an evaluation of standard Mormon theological works. (Mainly from John Ankerberg’s and John Weldon’s book, Cult Watch: What You Need To Know About Spiritual Deception)
FIRST, here is a good site where an easy online access to a glossary is found at TRUTH IN LOVE (you may have to sign up [free] to access it), via an adult study at church. Enjoy the below.
- Christianity: sectarianism; a false and damnable apostate religion.
- God: “Elohim”; one of innumerable self-progressing bodily deities; formerly a man, a finite creature. In early Mormon theology, Adam (of the Garden of Eden) was considered by many Mormons as the true earth deity.
- Jesus Christ: a self-progressing deity (“Jehovah” of the Old Testament) and the first spirit child of “Elohim” and his wife.
- Holy Ghost: a man with a spiritual body of matter.
- Trinity: tritheistic; coordinated under general Mormon polytheism; thus the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are separate deities.
- The Gospel: Mormon theology.
- Born-again: water baptism into Mormonism.
- Immortality: Mormon salvation by grace (limited to the universal resurrection of all men).
- Atonement: the provision God has supplied for an individual to earn their true salvation “by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith, 3).
- True salvationleternal life/redemption: Exaltation to Godhood in the highest part of the celestial kingdom based upon individual good works and personal merit; exaltation incorporates ruling a new world and sexual procreation in order to produce spirit children who will eventually be embodied and inhabit that world, each then having the opportunity to be exalted.
- The Fall: a spiritual step upward; a blessing permitting the production of physical bodies for preexistent spirits to inhabit and thus have the possibility of attaining their own “exaltation” or Godhood.
- Death: generally a step upward; death represents the possibility of a form of salvation (if not exaltation) for those who have never heard of Mormonism.
- Heaven: three “kingdoms of glory” comprising various spiritual gradations.
- Hell: generally purgatorial; possibly eternal for a very few (primarily apostate Mormons).
- Virgin birth: the birth of Christ through a physical sex act between God the Father (the Mormon earth god “Elohim”) and Mary (hence, not a virgin birth).
- Man: a preexistent spirit with the potential to earn Godhood by obedience to Mormon dictates.
- Creation: the reorganization of eternal matter.
- The Scriptures: the Book of Mormon; Doctrine and Covenants; The Pearl of Great Price; and the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith, 8).
- The Bible: an erring and often unreliable inspired record, properly interpreted only by Mormons and only in light of Mormon theology.
This is a common comparison I have used over the years:
You can see some of this “fleshed out” in my routine I typically follw with Mormon Missionaries that come to my door — as outlined somewhat in my chapter on Mormonism:
Infinitely Finite – Mormon … by on Scribd
BTW, if you can, memorize the following, and after they give you their testimony, you can give them yours:
This is the actual footage of an witnessing encounter outside of the Mormon Temple in Mesa, Arizona. If you see one encounter between a Christian and a Mormon we hope it is this. This is took place during Apologia Church’s evangelism outside of the Mormon Easter Pageant. We believe that this footage shows that Mormons and Christians can and should break down the walls between their communities in an effort to talk about the Word of God. Truth matters. Mormons and Christians can in fact have gracious and loving arguments about the truth. This video demonstrates that. For more, go to http://apologiastudios.com.
This is, without question, one of the most heartwarming and powerful conversations we have had outside of the Mormon temple in Mesa, Arizona. This young man has been watching our videos and read our tract. He came to the temple to seek our Jeff to have a conversation. He was struggling with some important questions and some contradictions within Mormonism. This is the actual footage of what took place. If you’ve ever shared a video from Apologia, if you have any Mormon loved ones, or if you care about reaching Mormons with the Biblical Gospel, then, please consider joining us in sharing this footage. We believe it has the potential to help many, many Mormons and Christians. Get more content at http://apologiastudios.com. You can join us in ministry by signing up for All Access. When you do you’ll get access to every radio show, every TV show, every After Show, and Apologia Academy (where you can learn to witness to Mormons yourself). But more importantly, you’ll partner with us in ministry and help to make more content to reach the world with the Gospel.
The above man changed his heart and accepted Christ! I will post the description BELOW the video:
This is a very special video. It’s an actual recording of a conversation between Jeff Durbin and someone who was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was also a Mormon missionary. He made contact with us because of our online apologetics content (Thank you to our All Access partners for making that content possible). He has spent a lot of time struggling through issues related to his Mormon faith and he even showed up at the Mormon Easter Pageant to have a conversation with Jeff…
…Yesterday, he came into our studio and sat down with Jeff to ask a series of questions that both he and Jeff hope will be helpful to Christians and Mormons. We believe that this content can truly bless people and we would be so honored if you joined us in sharing it. Please pray for him and for the large segment of Mormons who are struggling with their faith.
Daniel C. Peterson discusses Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”… KEEP IN MIND, this is a Mormon apologist defending in parts Mormonism — However, Dr. Peterson spells out some grand church history and other common defenses of the faith. AS WELL AS the low threshold of scholarly aptitude in Hitchens work.
This is an old conversation from many years ago with a Mormon woman who read some of my chapter in my book. This is merely a cut-n-paste (with some slight edits for ease of reading) I kept from the forum.
My moniker is the “gears,” Johnna (the Mormon) is the “person.” And LDS, Latter Day Saints… are synonyms for Mormons.
I wish here to applaud Johnna, she is at least admitting that many “Saints” view Heavenly Father’s nature this way.
- Thank you Johnna for being honest.
For the reader to continue they must understand what Johnna just did. Often times when Mormon Elders come to your door they will shy away from this because you are not initiated into the Latter Day Saint Church. And so, I will define the LDS “god” so the conversation is fully understood. I will pull some from my chapter, but first start out with a layman’s understanding of the Mormon “god,” and then get into the weeds a bit.
I don’t know if this clears up the defining aspect of the LDS “god,” but this is what Johnna is referencing as believing. Publicly! Not trying to obfuscate their understanding to a non-Mormon.
I may add here that she also admits that her husband thinks this way as well, she didn’t need to share this private nugget with us, but she chose to, thanks again. Remember (speaking to the reader), it really doesn’t matter what Johnna thinks on the matter, her “goddess-hood” (i.e., salvation to the highest LDS heaven — or — she will be sealed to another LDS man/god she has never met) isn’t based at all on her thoughts on the matter. It is based entirely upon what her husband believes. That’s the bottom line.
An atheist could adopt a similar view in that evolution to a state where control of matter in a godlike fashion would be possible. Many naturalists hold to Eatern metaphysics, who have a similar view of matter being eternal. At this point I merely responded with an adapted excerpt from chapter one of Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson’s book, Questions to Ask Your Mormon Friend: Effective Ways to Challenge a Mormon’s Arguments Without Being Offensive (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1994):