(Video Description) Why are Islam and Mormonism so similar? Because the devil forgot to check Google Calendar for birthdays, apparently. Also, I recognize that most of the captions fly by too quickly to read, so go to the following website, and I’ll have them all linked THERE.
Hoekema was born in the Netherlands but immigrated to the United States in 1923. He attended Calvin College (A.B.), the University of Michigan (M.A.), Calvin Theological Seminary (Th.B.) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Th.D., 1953). After pastoring several Christian Reformed churches (1944-56), he became Associate Professor of Bible at Calvin College (1956-58). From 1958 to 1979, when he retired, he was Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(BTW, Hoekema was an Amillennialist. I do not personally hold this position. Likewise, this position has very little impact on the whole of these “traits” of aberrant beliefs… if any. A good 9-minute challenge to a main portion of his “Kingdom” view is HERE.)
- Anthony A. Hoekema, The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventism (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1963), 377-388.
[p.377>] THE DISTINCTIVE TRAITS OF THE CULT
In setting forth what I believe to be the distinctive traits of the cult, I do not wish to give the impression that not the slightest trace of these characteristics is to be found in the churches. If we are honest with ourselves, we shall find vestiges of these characteristics in the churches too. I venture to affirm, however, that [p.378>] the traits which will now be described are so uniquely characteristic of the cult that any group in which they play a leading role can no longer be recognized as belonging to the true church of Jesus Christ.
(1) An Extra-Scriptural Source of Authority. As the first of these distinctive traits of the cult, I instance the presence of an extra-Scriptural source of authority. Hutten aptly calls this trait “a Bible in the left hand.” Recalling the ordination of a Sweden-borgian minister, who held a Bible in his right hand and one of Swedenborg’s books in his left, Hutten observes that every cult has such a “Bible in the left hand,” which actually supersedes the Bible in the right hand. It should be added here that the cults face a kind of dilemma with respect to the question of authority. Since, in distinction from non-Christian religions, they claim to be Christian groups, they must somehow appeal to the authority of the Bible. Yet in order to justify their peculiar doctrines they must either correct Scripture, reinterpret Scripture, or add other sources of authority to Scripture. Their attitude toward Scripture is therefore always an ambivalent one: a mixture of apparent subjection to its authority and of arbitrary manipulation of its teachings.
That this matter of ultimate authority is of determinative importance in evaluating the cults has already been implied by the inclusion of a section on “Source of Authority” in the discussion of each of the cults treated in this volume. It was found that every cult discussed did, indeed, find its ultimate ground of authority in some extra-Scriptural source. Mormons, it was seen, consider the Bible to be full of errors and in dire need of supplementary material; hence their ultimate source of authority is found not in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. If there should be a contradiction between what is taught in the Bible and what is taught in these. supplementary sacred books, it is the teachings of the latter which are determinative for Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 18-30), For Christian Scientists, the final source of authority is Mrs. Eddy’s Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures; although the Bible is read at their Sunday services, it is Science and Health which determines how the Bible is to be understood (see above, pp. 182-86). Though Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the only basis for their teachings is the Bible, it has been seen that their New World Translation is a biased rendering of the Scriptures [p.379>] into which they have smuggled many of their own heretical teachings, that their method of using Scripture is to find passages which seem to support their view and to ignore passages which fail to provide such support, and that they insist that the Bible may only be understood as it is interpreted by the leaders of the Watchtower Society (see above, pp. 237-48).
The reader is reminded of the discussion found on pages 30-33, above, where it was pointed out that the Bible itself condemns the attempt to supplement it with any additional source of authority. These “Bibles in the left hand” are never innocent appendages to Scripture; they always overmaster and overshadow the truth of Scripture. Whenever a cult raises a book or a set of books to the level of Scripture, it does violence to the Word of God. God is no longer allowed to speak as He does in the Bible; He may now speak only as the sect deems proper. Thus the Word of God is brought under the yoke of man.
The claim of the cults to have a source of revelation beyond the Scriptures – for that is what these “Bibles in the left hand” really amount to — is a claim which places them outside the pale of Christian churches. It may be added, by way of warning, that whenever a denomination of Christendom gives so much veneration to a human teacher or group of teachers that he or they are thought to be virtually infallible, it is in this respect manifesting a trait of the cult! People in the Corinthian Church who said that they belonged to Paul, Apollos, or Cephas were rebuked by Paul as being carnally minded; they were told, instead, that Paul, Apollos, and Cephas belonged to them! (I Cor. 3:21-23). Christians today who might be tempted to say that they belong to, say, Calvin or Luther, should learn from this passage that the Biblical way of expressing our relationship to human leaders is this: they (the human leaders) belong to us, but we belong to Christ. If these leaders belong to us, their writings may never be considered superior in authority to the Word of God. Sola Scriptura must remain the motto of every truly Protestant Church!
(2) The Denial of Justification by Grace Alone. A second distinctive trait of the cult is the denial of the doctrine of justification by grace alone. Grace is no longer considered the free gift of God to the unworthy sinner, but a reward which has been earned by the faithful keeping of various conditions and requirements. Hutten, in fact, calls this trait the most basic character- [p.380>] istic of the cult. The Reformation, he contends, asserted the principle of solo gratia: man is saved by grace alone. Salvation, the Reformers taught, does not depend on any human or ecclesiastical co-operation with God. The concept gratia implies that salvation is given freely by God apart from any conditions which man may fulfill or which the church may make available. Even those responses to the Gospel which take place in man through the working of God’s Spirit — his faith, his conversion, his works, and his walk — are not meritorious, since they are all the fruits of God’s grace. Precisely because salvation is all of grace, it can never be a ground for Pharisaic pride but must always move us to deep humility and gratitude.
This demand for humility, however, goes against the grain of human nature. Man wants to be his own lord and master. This is especially so in the matter of his salvation. He shrinks from taking the leap of faith — a leap in which he must trust wholly in God for his salvation. He prefers to take his future destiny into his own hands; he does not wish to surrender this destiny to a strange, unknown power. This fundamental human drive, Hutten continues, is the real root of the cult’s protest against the church. The basic antithesis of the cult to the church is therefore the cult’s antipathy toward the central message of the Reformation: the message of justification by grace alone and by faith alone (.cola gratia, solo fide). Though there are variations in the degree to which the different cults reject this doctrine, they all do reject it. As a matter of fact, Hutten adds, the church must always be on its guard against slipping into this cultic manner of thinking about the way of salvation. Only when the church has completely conquered this cultic tendency within its own borders, will it have the strength to oppose the cult on this point.
It will not be difficult to show that the trait described above is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons, as has been seen, reject the doctrine of justification by faith as a pernicious doctrine which has exercised an influence for evil in the church. They further teach that individual salvation (entrance into one of the three Mormon heavens) is to be merited by man through his own acts, and that one can only become eligible for the highest degree of salvation by keeping the commandments of the Lord in all things (see above, pp. 59-62). Christian Scientists decisively reject justification by grace alone; for them, salvation from sin is accomplished when one ceases to sin, or when one stops believing that there is such a thing as sin — on either interpretation salva‑ [p.381>] tion is achieved by human works and not by the grace of God (see above, p. 212, and compare pp. 209-12). Though Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that salvation is of grace and that all credit for salvation belongs to Jehovah (see above, p. 283), a careful study of their writings will reveal that they, too, reject justification by grace. In the case of the 144,000, man saves himself by exercising faith, repentance, and dedication to Christ (functions in which he is said not to be dependent on God), by showing himself worthy of being selected as a member of the anointed class, and by carrying out his dedication to Jehovah faithfully until death (see above, pp. 282-83; compare pp. 279-83). In the case of the other sheep, these, without having had their natures renewed, are able to exercise faith in Christ, to dedicate their lives to him, and to remain faithful to the end — this faithfulness to be revealed chiefly by diligent witnessing (see above, pp. 283-85). After the millennium has begun, these other sheep, whether as survivors of Armageddon or as resurrected beings, are to be judged on the basis of their obedience to Jehovah during the millennium. If they continue to obey God during Satan’s final battle, they will be “justified,” that is, given the right to perfect life on the new earth — this “justification,” however, is based not on faith, but on works. As far as others are concerned, billions of those who, though sincere in their belief, lacked an opportunity to learn of righteousness from God will be raised during the millennium, will be instructed in God’s law, and will receive everlasting life on the new earth if they now obey God’s commandments.
It is clear, therefore, that these three cults definitely and deliberately reject the doctrine of justification by grace alone. Though they may speak of the grace of God, their theologies have no room for grace in the real sense of the word. For, as the Bible says, “If it [the remnant according to the election of grace] is [saved] by grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace” (Rom. 11:6). Note also the severe judgment leveled by Paul against this position in Galatians 5:4, “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.” Crystal clear is Titus 3:5: “Not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to [p.382>] his mercy he saved us….” By taking the position sketched above, therefore, the cults deny one of the cardinal teachings of Scripture.
(3) The Devaluation of Christ. In the third place, all cults are guilty of a devaluation of Christ. Hutten points out that, since the cult has assumed a determinative role in the distribution of salvation, the result is bound to be a minimizing of Christ as the only Mediator. This, he adds, does not need to mean a complete denial of Christ’s mission and work; it may express itself simply in a shifting of emphasis. We shall see this tendency revealing itself in a twofold way: in a devaluation of the Person of Christ and in a depreciation of His work. The latter is particularly characteristic of the cult; since salvation for the cult is not determined by the grace of God revealed at the cross of Christ, that cross is robbed of its unique soteriological significance.
Let us see how this trait can be found in the cults we have studied. Mormons teach that Jesus Christ was the firstborn of the spirit-children of Elohim; since, however, all men are spirit-children of Elohim, it is evident that the difference between Christ and men (even, for that matter, between Christ and Satan) is one of degree but not one of kind (see above, pp. 53-54). Christ is considered by Mormons not to be equal to the Father; he shared with other pre-existent spirits like Adam and Joseph Smith the task of “creating” this earth, and his incarnation is not unique, for other gods before him were incarnated on other earths (see above, p. 54). In fact, Christ’s incarnation was only illustrative of what happens to every man who perfectly fulfills all the ordinances of the Gospel: he, too, was once a pre-existent spirit, is now incarnate, and will some day be a god (see above, pp. 54, 61-62, 72). As far as the work of Christ is concerned, Mormons affirm that the atoning death of Christ was necessary to deliver all men from death, and did provide for all the right to be raised from the dead (see above, pp. 57-58). As was just observed, however, Christ’s atonement does not provide individual salvation for man since this is to be merited by man’s own acts; thus the Mormon Christ does not save in the full sense of the word but only gives man an opportunity to save himself (see above, pp. 58-61).
According to Christian Science, Jesus was not God but only a man, whereas Christ is the name for a certain divine idea: the idea that sickness and sin can be healed through Christian Science (see above, pp. 200-202). Jesus was therefore simply a man who demonstrated a divine idea. So unimportant, in fact, is Jesus in [p.383>] Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy could say that if such a person as Jesus had never existed, it would make no difference to her! (see above, p. 203). As far as the work of Jesus is concerned, Christian Scientists deny that he atoned for our sins by shedding his blood on the cross — after all, since sin has no real existence, why does it need to be atoned for? Jesus’ work was rather that of demonstrating the truth of Christian Science and of setting us an example of the kind of life we must live. Even this example, however, is not uniquely distinguished from that of the apostles (see above, pp. 207-9).
What Jehovah’s Witnesses do with the person of Christ is well known: he was, for them, not equal to Jehovah, but the first creature of Jehovah. In his prehuman state he was a created angel; during his stay on earth he was nothing more than a man; and after his stay on earth he was again nothing higher than a created angel, though now endowed with immortality. In none of these three stages, therefore, was or is Christ equal to Jehovah (see above, pp. 270-76). As regards the work of Christ, the Witnesses teach that Christ did lay down his human life for his people as a ransom. By means of this ransom Christ redeemed man from inherited sin and from the prospect of eternal death as a result of that sin (see above, pp. 276-77); his ransom provides a resurrection from the dead for all except certain classes of people (see above, p. 317). Christ did not, however, earn the right to everlasting life in heaven for the 144,000 since he earned only a perfect human life with its rights and earthly prospects; the 144,000 must themselves earn the right to heavenly life by sacrificing their earthly prospects (see above, p. 283). As for those who will spend eternity on the new earth, they, as we saw, will receive this blessing only if they have obeyed Jehovah’s commandments during the millennium. Neither the 144,000 nor those who will inhabit the new earth, therefore, are really saved by the work of Christ; Christ’s ransom has only served the purpose of enabling them to earn their future blessedness, either in heaven or on earth, by their own achievements.
It is quite clear, therefore, that the cults leave us with a Christ who is not the Christ. Neither in his person nor in his work is the Christ of the cult the Christ of the Bible. For the cultist, it is not really Christ who saves but man who must save himself. This position, however, cuts the very heart out of the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). The words of Paul to the Galatians, directed against those who in that day taught that one was saved partly [p.384>] through faith in Christ and partly through performing certain works of the law, are equally applicable to the cults of our day: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).
(4) The Group as the Exclusive Community of the Saved. A fourth distinctive trait of the cult is that it absolutizes itself as the exclusive community of the saved. Hutten points out that the anti-ecclesiastical polemic which is so characteristic of the cult is but the converse side of its own self-justification. Since the cult is convinced that it is the only true community of God’s people, it must try to show that the church is either an apostate organization or an actual instrument of the devil. There is among the cults no appreciation for the Biblical doctrine of the “one holy catholic Church” — that is, of the universal church of Christ, composed of Christ’s true people of all the ages and from all the nations. Every cult says, “We alone are the people of God.” The cult, so to speak, takes God by the arm, insisting that His evaluation of people must agree with its own.
Let us see how this trait is found in the cults we have studied. Mormons contend that the church of Jesus Christ was in a state of apostasy until God revealed Himself to Joseph Smith in 1820; when Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods from heavenly messengers in 1829 and 1830, the Restoration of the Church took place. The Mormon Church is therefore the only true church — because it alone has the Priesthood of the Almighty, and it alone since the time of Christ has received and may still receive divine revelation. One of the early apostles of the Mormon Church claimed that non-Mormon churches have no right to call themselves Christian since Christ has nothing to do with them, and a recent Mormon writer has said that there is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see above, pp. 62-64). It may be noted that the possibility of salvation for those who died in ignorance of Mormon teaching only confirms the point under discussion since such people can be saved only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 64-66).
Christian Science also claims to be the only true church. Since Mrs. Eddy is said to have received the final revelation of the divine principle of scientific mental healing, and since Science and Health is said to be the voice of truth uncontaminated by [p.385>] human hypotheses, it follows that, according to them, no group outside of Christian Science has or knows the truth (see above, pp. 183, 212-13). Though individual Christian Scientists may express appreciation for other Christian groups, it is clear from the statements just alluded to that the views of all other churches about the Bible and the way of salvation must officially be considered basically erroneous while Christian Science is held to be unerring and divine (see above, p. 184).
In Jehovah-Witness ecclesiology we reach the ultimate in bigotry. It is said by them that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are God’s true people and that all others, without exception, are followers of the devil. The Watchtower Society is now the only instrument or channel whereby Jehovah teaches His people on earth (see above, p. 247). The “great whore” of Revelation 17 is organized religion, Christian as well as heathen. The visible part of the devil’s organization on earth includes all of Christendom, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. The religious clergy are, in fact, the direct link between mankind and the demons (see above, pp. 285-86). At Armageddon all of earth’s inhabitants except Jehovah’s Witnesses will be wiped out of existence (see above, p. 311). Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, will survive Armageddon; during the millennium non-Witnesses who are raised from the dead will be given an opportunity to save themselves in response to the preaching and teaching of the princes, prominent among whom will be those who occupied leading positions with the New World Society on earth (see above, pp. 318-21).
Whenever a group takes the position that it is the only community of the saved, however, it violates an important aspect of Scripture teaching. Christ Himself warned against this type of bigotry when his disciples said to Him, “Master, we saw one casting out demons in thy name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us.” Jesus replied, “Forbid him not; for he that is not against you is for you” (Lk. 9:49, 50). We should therefore remember that whenever a denomination slips into a kind of thinking similar to that described above, it reveals a tendency toward cultic behavior.
(5) The Group’s Central Role in Eschatology. The last distinctive trait of the cult I would like to mention is this: the cult plays a central role in the eschatological climax of history. The cult is convinced that it has been called into existence by God for the purpose of filling in some gap in the truth which has been neglected by the ordinary churches. The birth of the cult thus marks the final climax of sacred history, the beginning of the [p.386>] latter days. Eschatology thus plays a determinative role in the
theology of the cult: it becomes the arena in which the glorification of the cult will complete itself. The cult is therefore the messenger and way-preparer for the imminent return of Christ; it is God’s partner in the drama of the end-time; it is the ark of safety for the coming flood; it is the instrument of divine judgment on unbelievers; it shall finally triumph in the sight of all the world as the group particularly favored by God.
This type of procedure Hutten calls a cultic perversion of Biblical eschatology. Whenever the cult has developed an eschatology, he continues, it places itself in the very center of it. The drama of the last things thus becomes the means whereby the cult is glorified and all its enemies are overwhelmingly defeated. Though the cult may now be small and insignificant, when the final climax of history arrives, it will receive from God the place of honor it deserves as a reward for its faithfulness to His commandments. The antithesis between God and Satan which has run through history will in the last days reach its climax as an antithesis between the cult and the rest of mankind, particularly the church.
As we attempt now to see how this trait is revealed in the cults we have studied, we must first make an important exception. Because of the absence of a real historical dimension in Christian Science, the latter has no general eschatology; hence it cannot be precisely fitted into the category just described. Christian Science denies that there will be a literal Second Coming of Christ, a general resurrection, a final judgment, and a new earth (see above, pp. 219-21). Though there is a kind of individual eschatology in this system, there is no general eschatology in the sense of a final, dramatic climax of history. Yet Christian Scientists do manifest a trace of the characteristic in question, since Mrs. Eddy contended more than once that what the Bible calls the Second Coming of Jesus Christ actually coincided with the rise of Christian Science (see above, p. 219). By statements such as these Mrs. Eddy did, in a sense, place Christian Science in the center of eschatology.
[p.387>] It will not be difficult to show the presence of the trait under discussion in the other two cults being considered. Mormons very definitely place themselves in the center of the eschatological drama, giving themselves a position of special privilege in it. The Mormons, God’s “Latter-day Saints,” consider themselves the bearers of the Restored Gospel – the Gospel which must now be proclaimed by them to all the world as God’s last word to mankind (see above, pp. 62-64). Before Christ returns, there will be a series of gatherings. Ephraim or the Ephraimites must be gathered first to prepare the way for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time comes for them to be gathered to Zion. Since most Mormons today are said to be Ephraimites, it is obvious that the gathering of Ephraim is going on at the present time. Ephraim is being gathered to Zion, the gathering-place on the
North American continent. The “lost ten tribes” will later be gathered to Zion, where they will receive “crowning blessings” from Ephraim – that is, from the Mormons. During the millennium Christ will rule over the Mormon Zion as well as over Jerusalem in Palestine (see above, pp. 67-69). At this time Mormons on earth will be joined by a heavenly group, the City of Enoch (see above, p. 69). Also during the millennium Mormons will preach to non-Mormons who are still alive, and will be baptized for the dead who have lived from the beginning of time (see above, p. 70). In the final state Mormons who have fully kept the commandments of the Gospel will enjoy the highest grade of blessedness in the celestial kingdom; non-Mormons can enter the celestial kingdom only if Mormons have been baptized for them (see above, pp. 66, 72-73). Most non-Mormons, however, will spend eternity in one of the two lower kingdoms, the terrestrial or the telestial (see above, pp. 73-74).
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that the kingdom of God was not established until A.D. 1914, that this kingdom is now the ruling part of God’s universal organization, and that this kingdom is comprised of Jesus Christ and those members of the 144,000 who are now in heaven (see above, pp. 295-97). These heavenly members of the anointed class (who were, for the most part, Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth) not only rule with Christ now, but are actually changed from human beings to divine beings (see above, p. 304). Between 1918 and the Battle of Armageddon, a judgment of the nations is taking place, in which all those who do not accept the Jehovah-Witness message and who show no kindness to its bearers are doomed to destruction at Armageddon [p.388>] – a destruction from which there will be no reawakening (see above, pp. 306-7). The Battle of Armageddon will therefore be a stupendous victory for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who will be the only survivors of this worldwide catastrophe (see above, p. 311). Armageddon survivors will have a favored position on the renewed earth during the millennium; many of them will be made princes (see above, pp. 311, 314, 318). Jehovah’s Witnesses who have died before Armageddon will have the privilege of being raised from the dead before the rest of earth’s inhabitants. Those who were active in the New World Society before the millennium will take a leading part in instructing newly-resurrected people in the laws of Jehovah (see above, pp. 318-19). For Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore, the climactic antithesis of history will be that between God’s true people, the Witnesses, and all others, including the churches of Christendom.
Whenever a religious group places itself in the center of the eschatological drama, it makes itself guilty of spiritual pride. Overlooking its own shortcomings and sins, it magnifies the sins of others. It blandly assumes that because of its own superior worthiness it has become God’s special favorite. When Christ came across a similar kind of pride among the Jewish leaders of His day, He rebuked it in no uncertain terms: “I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness. . .” (Mt. 8:11, 12).
(SORRY, I wanted to discuss how the “euthyphro argument” being an issue for Mormonism and not applicable to Christianity and Judaism. Dropped the ball on that one.)
Over the years I have noticed that Dennis Prager has an unhealthy view that Mormonism and Christianity worship the same God. This is not true… at all. In a recent show Prager talks about a minimalist approach to see if people worship the same God. I am a huge fan of Dennis’s, BUT, in this case he isn’t even close to being correct on an issue one would think is important for him to get right.
At any rate, I couldn’t figure out how to get some of the fade issues to sync up better, plus I need to work on the audio (a little “tiny” sounding).
Even according to thee simple parameters, the LDS god is vastly different than the Judeo-Christian concept of God. In the video I recommend two books, I will add my chapter as a resource as well:
- The Mormon Concept of God: A Philosophical Analysis (Studies in American Religion), by Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish
- See an article by Dr. Beckwith here
- New Mormon Challenge, by Francis Beckwith, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen;
- See the Gods Fall: Four Rivals to Christianity, by Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish;
AND MY CHAPTER
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:
…as far as books on the life of Smith are concerned, probably no volume has stirred more overall controversy than D. Michael Quinn’s 1987 first-edition book entitled Early Mormonism and the Magic World View [hereafter Early Mormonism]. (The only single volume that may have caused even more hand-wringing from LDS apologists is probably Brent Metcalfe’s book entitled New Approaches to the Book of Mormon. It caused such controversy that the reviewers at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) dedicated an entire volume of their series entitled Review of Books on the Book of Mormon to criticize it.)
Quinn is a former professor at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University who was excommunicated in 1993 for apostasy based on his historical writings. Instead of trying to deny Joseph Smith’s penchant for occultic activities, Quinn—who says he “remains a DNA Mormon“—concluded that Smith’s background truly did involve divining rods, seer stones, a hat to shield his eyes in order to see hidden treasures, amulets, incantations, and rituals to summon spirits. Smith was a magician first class, Quinn believes, but he holds that Mormonism’s founder was also a man of God who used his magical tools to communicate with the Almighty God of this universe.
To say the book caused LDS leadership consternation is truly an understatement. The original volume, which used numerous “subjunctives, qualifiers, and qualified-qualifiers” such as “possibly,” “might,” and “apparently” due to the insistence of his editors who did not want Quinn to lose his church job, went out of print because “escalating publishing costs” made it so that they could not even reissue a paperback version for the 1987 hardcover price. Also, Quinn asked the publisher not to reprint the book until a revised version was ready. Thus, “by the 1990s otherwise-poor college students were paying $100 for a battered copy, while avid collectors shelled out $350 for a ‘mint-condition’ copy of (it)” (p. ix).
As he pointed out on pages ix-x, Quinn’s changes to the revised version were four-fold. One, he switched to endnotes rather than citing within the text, and he dropped a booming bibliography that he claims would have taken 80 pages to print. Second, he added new information. The third change was the addition of material extremely harsh towards his vocal critics—most of whom are LDS scholars—for the abuse he had taken in the previous 11 years. Finally, he wanted to take care of some errors and refine the text.
To read this book will require plenty of time and careful patience. Early Mormonism is not a book to be rushed through. After all, Quinn is famous for his copious endnotes. The book has 685 pages, and 257 of those pages—close to 40 percent of the book!—are endnotes…
- 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:
…I mentioned the contradistinction between LDS “creation” and historic Christian “creation” theology. I said in Mormon theology Heavenly Father didn’t create the first eye, or kidney, or coccyx and make sure that this information would continue on in the production of offspring with that information encoded in DNA and RNA.I stressed that in Mormon theology when Heavenly Father was born to his parents they had eyes already, because even his parents parents parents had the genetic code physically for eyes, thus passing on (not creating ex nihilo) genetic information from previous generations. The Mormon “God” didn’t create the eye, he merely performed a sexual act which continued his lineage. The historic Christian belief is that God not only created the first eye, liver, toe, and the like, but even spoke time into being as well as the environment and all the genetic machines to make sure this newly developed/created code would continue.
I then brought up something else that crossed my mind a few months back in a discussion on this blog about almost the same issue (really, a debate of sorts… the person finding my blog via comments I left at the Washington Times blog), and that is that matter and gods predated the Heavenly Father of this world. I asked them why they think that whenever an atheist debates the issue of God they never debate against the Mormon concept of God? The newbie was quick (“ooops” number two) to say he didn’t know, I then said, I will tell you. “It is because he would be arguing against himself.”
This time I got an inquisitive look from both of them. “Let me explain why this is,” and so I continued.I mentioned that when a person is born here on earth matter (atoms, quarks, dirt, water, air, etc) doesn’t begin to exist at the same time they are conceived, matter, in fact predated them. The earth, the stars, and the like were here long before the hypothetical 45-year old atheist.Not only that, but natural laws such as the law of gravity, the laws of motion – right then the new guy chimes in with a law (for the life of me I cannot remember what it was, but at this point he is helping me make my case…Classic!) – were also before this person being born and so, this person is subject to them. In the same way when Heavenly Father was birthed in his heaven first by his “Godley” parents he was born into an environment that worked with laws in place, even granting he was born with a spiritual body. I granted that in this heaven the laws may be a bit different — hypothetically speaking — but that laws had to be in place nonetheless, even genetic parameters (DNA, amino acids, etc) were in place and that this God was subject to them, much like the “gods” of Grecian lore, even being controlled by wild emotions.
Born into an environment that imposes forces on him that are both older than him and because of their (these laws) imposing forces on him (gravity, causality, entropy, etc) while he has to live in a body that can only take up that space where he is, is, well, more powerful than he.
Born into an environment that imposes forces on him that are both older than him and because of their (these laws) imposing on him (gravity, causality, entropy, etc) while he has to live in a body that can only take up that space where he is, is, well, more powerful than he.
Again I pointed out that in classical Judeo-Christian theistic thinking, God created even the laws of the weak and strong nuclear force and the like.Material, energy, even time was brought into existence at some point by my God.I then mentioned that “I was going to use a phrase by someone smarter than I and say that ‘there God is too small’.” At that point the seasoned young man chimed in and said that the church doesn’t teach officially that Heavenly Father was born to parents like us. At which point I got up, walked over to my bookshelf and pulled my copy of “Achieving Celestial Marriage (Student Manual)” off the shelf and brought it over to where I was seated and sat. I turned it over to the back cover and asked them who published the book I was holding. They of course did not what this book was, all they know knew was upon looking at the familiar “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” emblem that the book was published by their church – officially. The sinking feeling was tangible.
I turned it over to reveal that this was a manual for couples to read prior to being married in the Temple, an official student manual to be exact. I opened up to page 129 and read the second emboldened title down the page aloud, “GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN” (capitals in the original), and then I read the next line underneath that that reads as follows, “He Lived on an Earth like Our Own.” The seasoned guy squirmed, the new guy almost right then went to his testimony, where I cut him off quite forcibly by saying I have a testimony of my own, and I gave what I could remember of my paragraph response when they give their testimony:
- I too have a testimony… I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Christ and Savior of the world… that He died for my sins and was resurrected. I know that I am saved by grace and not by works and will inherit heaven upon that principle. I also know that God hears and answers prayer. I know all this not only by the feeling I have from the inner witness of the Holy Ghost but by the reliability of God’s Word, the Bible, which declares it to be so. And, I also know that because of my relationship with Christ, Jesus has changed my life and continues to bless me!
… thus, beating him to the punch not allowing him to close the discussion (one) and two not letting him feel secure in this all too often used psychology of shabby belief.
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:
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe that God was once a man or that men can become gods.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Mormon Church is the only true church or that we need human prophets to guide the church.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is the Word of God.
I’m a Mormon but I don’t believe temples are necessary or that couples can be married for eternity.
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:
1) Masonic Preparation Room
The candidate is ushered into the preparation room where he meets the Junior Deacon and Stewards who divest him of all his clothing except his shirt. He is then handed an old pair of drawers, which he puts on.
Mormon Dressing Room
The initiate is divested of all his clothing, and then directed to the washing and anointing dressing rooms where he eventually puts on a special pair of under garments.
2) Masonic Compass
The candidate then enters, the Senior Deacon at the same time pressing his naked left breast with the point of the compass.
The point of the compass is sewn into the left [breast] of the garment.
3) Masonic Square
As the candidate enters, the angle of the square is pressed hard against his naked right breast.
The square is sewn into the right side of the garment.
4) Masons Washing Ceremony
Master orders the basin of the perfumed water and a clean napkin to be brought to him, and directs candidate to wash his hands, which he does…Master takes a box of perfumed ointment and anoints candidate on his head, eyes, mouth, heart, the tip of his right ear, hand, foot, and says – “You are now, my dear brother, received a member of our society.”
Mormon Washing Ceremony
The initiate is washed, and various organs of his body (head, lips, breast, ears, hand and feet, etc.) are anointed with holy consecrated oil.
5) Masons Presenting New Name To Candidate
“I also present you with a new name; it is CAUTION”
Mormon Temple Worker Presents New Name To Candidate
” I give you a new name which you should always remember, and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal … The name is ____.”
6) Man Representing Adam In Masonic Ceremony
Thrice Puissant Grand Master, representing Father Adam, is stationed in the east. (This occurs in the Knight of the Sun Degree.)
Man Representing Adam In Mormon Ceremony
Elohim — (Turning to the audience) – “This man who is now being operated upon is Michael who helped form the world. When he awakes … he will be known as Adam”
7) Man Representing Deity In Masonic Ceremony
One of the members now personates the Deity, behind the bush, and calls out “Moses! Moses!” (This occurs in the Royal Arch Degree.)
Man Representing God In Mormon Ceremony
A temple worker dressed in white clothing, representing Elohim, comes from behind the curtain.
8) Masons Use A Mallet
He gives a rap with the common gavel or mallet.
Mormons Use A Mallet
One of the temple workers, … gives three raps with a mallet.
Masonic entered apprentice vs. First token of the Aaronic Priesthood
9) Masonic Penalty Sign
Made from the due-guard by dropping the left hand carelessly; at the same time raise the right arm and draw the hand, still open, across the throat, thumb next [to] the throat, and drop the hand perpendicular by the side.
Mormon Penalty Sign
“The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.”
10) Masonic Grip
The right hands are joined together as in shaking hands and each sticks his thumb nail into the third joint or upper end of the fore finger.
The token is giving by clasping the right hands and placing the joint of the thumb directly over the first knuckle of the hand.
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:
Certain words can mean very different things to different people. For instance, if I say to an atheist, “I have faith in God,” the atheist assumes I mean that my belief in God has nothing to do with evidence. But this isn’t what I mean by faith at all. When I say that I have faith in God, I mean that I place my trust in God based on what I know about him.
William A. Dembski and Michael R. Licona, Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 38. (emphasis added)
I know God is unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), cannot tell lies (Hebrews 6:18-19), again, does not lie…
Isaiah 43:10-13; 44:6, 24; 45:5-6, 18-19; 46:9-10
(10) “You are My witnesses” — this is the LORD’s declaration — “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. (11) I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but Me. (12) I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed — and not some foreign god among you. So you are My witnesses”— this is the LORD’s declaration— “and I am God. (13) Also, from today on I am He alone, and none can deliver from My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?”
(6) This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but Me.
(24) This is what the LORD, your Redeemer who formed you from the womb, says: I am Yahweh, who made everything; who stretched out the heavens by Myself; who alone spread out the earth;
(5) I am Yahweh, and there is no other; there is no God but Me. I will strengthen you, though you do not know Me, (6) so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other.
(18) For this is what the LORD says — God is the Creator of the heavens. He formed the earth and made it. He established it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited — “I am Yahweh, and there is no other. (19) I have not spoken in secret, somewhere in a land of darkness. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob: Seek Me in a wasteland. I, Yahweh, speak truthfully;…
(9) Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me. (10) I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.
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 don’t want to get into the further division of “Elohim” and Yayweh” speaking in these texts. While I have dealt with it well, I would suggest for [my] time’s sake, going to CARM’s article entitled, “Jehovah is Elohim.” Needless to say a further complication in LDS theology working out coherently — towards truth — considering it’s own internal suppositions.
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:
(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.
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:
How Polygamy Hurts Society
by Making Girls/Women Chattel,
and Stopping Boys from Turning
into Healthy, Productive Men
Where Does Liberty Spring From?
“But what’s more surprising than his conclusions is his speculation that monogamy is at the root of democracy and equality” ~ Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich
In talking to a few people, I have noticed that they simply assume that polygamy is a valid lifestyle… that no harm, when compared to the ideal of one-man-and-one-woman in a marriage raising children. They do not know any history and why empires and countries have devolved in the past, nor do they follow logical arguments to their conclusions. (Here is the TinyURL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/k3o247o)
For instance, I had a conversation with a man I know (he is a man, but speaks on topics of importance as a boy) who simply stated, “I see no problem with it [being legalized], it doesn’t harm me personally.” He then asked what would “harm him.
A liberal society might, then, find it prudent to ignore homosexuality. It might well deem it unwise to peer into private bedrooms. However, this is not the issue before us. Today the demand is that homosexuality be endorsed and promoted with the full power of the law. This would require us to abandon the standard of nature, the one standard that can teach us the difference between freedom and slavery, between right and wrong…. (Read More)…. In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Court rejected the Mormons’ free exercise argument on the grounds that even though “Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion,… [it] was left free to reach actions [such as polygamy] which were in violation of social duties or subversive to the public good.” What the Court meant by this is that certain institutions and ways of life, such as marriage and the family, are essential to the preservation of civil society. (Read More)
I made multiple points throughout the conversation that many things he does “harms him” that he would not think do. For instance, he knows people personally affected by legislating laws via a vote towards a specific party. He knows two people, personally, that he works with that because of Obamacare lost their policies. One can afford to pay substantially more for his new coverage (thus, having less capital to invest in the company), and the other cannot afford a new policy. The point being that any change in legislation (small or large) has direct consequences to many.
Let us say that single-motherhood brought on by the father walking out on his responsibility and is rewarded for this action by being subsidized for his choice (see Thomas Sowell’s classic 1980 debate about the dynamics of welfare with Pennsylvania Secretary of Welfare, Helen O’Banion). Now, we KNOW the many consequences of fatherless homes (crime, delinquency, drug use, not finishing education, etc), even Obama admits this… higher tax rates and land taxes are incurred to pay for the jails, these persons also creating at a higher rate fatherless homes, and the like. Our co-worker in the shop had his biological father killed at an ATM… any bets on the murderers family structure? The statistics are on my side. So the question becomes this: “which of the two should government support in order to have a society that is best for the safety, well being, productivity, of its citizens?”
Another legislative act talked about in the shop after this conversation about polygamy took place, are politicians listening to environmental activists and legislating the regular light-bulb illegal. In January it will be officially against the law to sell most forms of the standard — incandescent — light-bulb (Breitbart). The idea is that if we use higher efficiency bulbs we will “save the planet” from those evil* fossil fuel emissions. (*I picture blood dripping from the word as well as evil laughter off in the distance somewhere.)
The problem? In every bulb that researchers tested they found that the protective coating around the light creating ‘phosphor’ was cracked, allowing dangerous ultraviolet rays to escape (RPT). You got it… through legislation, the power of government has made many people, in their own homes mind you, at a far greater risk for skin-cancer. A risk that this Irish-man knows all too well. What sounded good and altruistic, “saving the planet,” ironically has deadly consequences.
The question[s] coming from this event that made my home more dangerous is this: “Is a government big enough to tell me, the consumer, what light-bulb I can-and-cannot buy… is this good for liberty, or bad for liberty?”; “Is this a threat to or a bolstering of this experiment in freedom and self-governance the Founders started?”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ~ CS Lewis
“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.” ~ Ronald Reagan
I pointed out as well that society, while not outlawing same-sex relationships (see quote to the right), should not raise these relationships to the status of the ideal, that is, heterosexual, monogamous, marriages. Whether you believe in evolution or creation… the best environment for children to be raised is the hetero one [all things being equal]. This doesn’t mean there are not great single or gay parents… but there is an ideal that we know works… and was honed throughout mankind’s time on earth (naturally or Divinely inspired). We know. for instance, that polygamy increases “crime, prostitution and anti-social behavior. Greater inequality between men and women. Less parental investment in children. And, a general driving down of the age of marriage for all women” (Canadian study used in court, quoted more further below).
So the question becomes this: “which of the two should government support in order to have a society that is best for the safety, well being, productivity, of its citizens?” In other words, when society puts its stamp of approval on something, making other forms of “marriage” equal in worth to society as the hetero one, is that a net benefit to the health of society, or a net detraction from it?
I made a few points as found in my Cumalative Case against same-sex marriage which likewise apply to polygamy. In other words, we can see some detrimental aspects to relationships that are “less than” the ideal, and the results have different effects on society.
The conservative asks three questions the liberal, as we will see, does not ask:
1) compared to what?
2) at what cost?
3) what hard-evidence do you have?
I mentioned statistics of the jail population being from a less than ideal family structure, the jealousies in polygamous marriages and broken families. I asked as well if he (this person I know) knew about what philosophical/family structures the liberty he enjoys came from. After all this, I think he missed the point, because he told me, “this is MY belief… you can’t laugh [fault me] at my beliefs.” And the point is this:
A person may think polygamy (or other legislative rulings/laws) do not affect them, but when given evidence on how it can or does effect them AND the people involved — more negatively than the traditional family structure… you cannot then substitute your opinion in the place of facts. Society should support that structure that is best to raise children in, period. Same-sex “marriages,” single-motherhood/fatherhood, show devolution when compared to [everything being equal] the nuclear family structure.
Honesty is sometimes the best policy. One could say have said, “you know what, I never heard that before, let me think this over.” Or one can even say, “You are right… it does affect me, and it harms specifically the people involved… I don’t care.” So my friend should really have said this entering into to adults talking about a recent ruling in our United States:
“I see no problem with it [being legalized], it doesn’t harm me personally… and no matter what evidence you can show me of how the less than ideal family structure [traditional marriage] causes more incarceration, drug use, torn families, stresses on liberty, and the like… I am firm in ‘my opinion that opinion‘ trumps reality. MY reality IS fact. I do not wish to participate in possibly being wrong on a position [based only in my immediate understanding with no input from history, social scientists, statistics, or the like], or being mature enough to enter adulthood by taking in previously unknown evidence and testing it against my opinion, thus evolving or changing/challenging my previously held [actually — newly found] position based on evidence or differing points of conclusions based on others knowledge of history, social scientists, statistics, the cults, or the like.”
Or, put another way: “These are my unfounded, unassailable thoughts that I am sharing with you.” To engage in this type of conversation with a person who holds to this form of firm-absolutism is more a commentary on said person than the topic brought up in the shop.
Political correctness is the invention of Western intellectuals who feel guilty about the universal triumph of Western values and economic prosperity…. “In the long run of history, political correctness will be seen as an aberration in Western thought. The product of the uniquely unchallenged position of the West and unrivalled affluence, the comparative decline of the West compared to the East is likely to spell its demise. Finally, Western minds may be free again to reason rather than just emote, to pursue objective truth rather than subjective virtue.” ~ The Retreat of Reason, page 87
A person who practices this way of thinking is like a child telling the group of adults they like chocolate cake (or turtles). It is a form of emoting oneself to others. To which I would simply respond,
➯ “thank-you for sharing [emote, act-out] your unassailable position with us, but please, in the future abstain from adult conversation.”
Alternatively, if you do wish to emote, be prepared to not be taken seriously, ignored… or even derided a bit. (
What advice do I have? Cut down on video games and pick up a goddamn book! “…growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of pop-culture and shallow thinking…” (Ephesians 4;14, PapaG’s version).
An adult would formulate Sowell’s questions something like this:
1) How do polygamous marriages compare to traditional marriages?
2) What are the costs incurred by such choices? Are there any harmful effects to the
a.) persons involved as well as to the
b.) society and
c.) societies founding principles that have given us the freedoms we currently enjoy?
Is there a loss of or a gain in freedom in this indigenous structure? Are young girls more or less protected from predators or exploitation or used to gain affluence?
3) I have come to a firm conclusion on a subject I just heard of, HOW have I come to my conclusion? Is this new to mankind, or have past cultures practiced this? What were their outcomes?
The above is just an example of where “Stage-Two“ thinking can get you.
This thinking ~ thank God! ~ is the keystone to a healthy/well-balanced faith that is separate from but that interacts and can even change the culture it finds itself in (link in pic).
Lets see if we can shed some light on the history behind many freedoms assumed or freedoms not realized today, under-girded by the family structure via this “ethos” we speak of, Christianity:
Paul, who often gets a bad rap for his perceived low view of women, considered at least twelve women coworkers in his ministry.* Paul clearly had a high view of women: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The earliest Christians recited these remarkable, countercultural words as a baptismal confession. Widows, far from being abandoned, were cared for, and older women were given a place of honor. In light of all of this, is it any wonder “the ancient sources and modern historians agree that primary conversion to Christianity was far more prevalent among females than males”?
In recent history, Christians were responsible for the banning of three despicable practices inflicted upon women around the world. Christian missionaries pressured the Chinese government to abolish foot binding in 1912. This practice was done for the sole reason of pleasing men— “it made a woman with her feet bound in an arch walk tiptoe and sway seductively.” In 1829 the English outlawed the Indian practice of suttee, in which widows were burned alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands, because of Christianity’s teaching regarding widows and women. Finally, Western countries influenced by a Christian view of women and sexuality have condemned clitoridectomy (female genital mutilation), a gruesome practice that is still common in Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East.
- “But what’s more surprising than his conclusions is his speculation that monogamy is at the root of democracy and equality” ~ Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich
Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow, Is God Just a Human Invention? And Seventeen Other Questions Raised by the New Atheists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2010), 230-231.
Historian Alvin Schmidt points out how the spread of Christianity and Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); outlawing the brutal battles-to-the-death in which thousands of gladiators had died (in 404); outlawing the cruel punishment of branding the faces of criminals (in 315); instituting prison reforms such as the segregating of male and female prisoners (by 361); stopping the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians as well as among other nations; outlawing pedophilia; granting of property rights and other protections to women; banning polygamy (which is still practiced in some Muslim nations today); prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (in 1829); outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China (in 1912); persuading government officials to begin a system of public schools in Germany (in the sixteenth century); and advancing the idea of compulsory education of all children in a number of European countries.
During the history of the church, Christians have had a decisive influence in opposing and often abolishing slavery in the Roman Empire, in Ireland, and in most of Europe (though Schmidt frankly notes that a minority of “erring” Christian teachers have supported slavery in various centuries). In England, William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, led the successful effort to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself throughout the British Empire by 1840.
In the United States, though there were vocal defenders of slavery among Christians in the South, they were vastly outnumbered by the many Christians who were ardent abolitionists, speaking, writing, and agitating constantly for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Schmidt notes that two-thirds of the American abolitionists in the mid-1830s were Christian clergymen, and he gives numerous examples of the strong Christian commitment of several of the most influential of the antislavery crusaders, including Elijah Lovejoy (the first abolitionist martyr), Lyman Beecher, Edward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Charles Finney, Charles T. Torrey, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, “and others too numerous to mention.” The American civil rights movement that resulted in the outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination was led by Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian pastor, and supported by many Christian churches and groups.
There was also strong influence from Christian ideas and influential Christians in the formulation of the Magna Carta in England (1215) and of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution (1787) in the United States. These are three of the most significant documents in the history of governments on the earth, and all three show the marks of significant Christian influence in the foundational ideas of how governments should function.
Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010], 49-50.
From My Book:
Social commentator and radio show host, Dennis Prager, takes note that males tend to be “rule oriented.” The implication being that Western culture is heavily influenced in the Judeo-Christian standards of moral code — this, he says, is ironic… that, in the name of feminism women are attempting to emasculate the God of Western religious morality. “For if their goal is achieved, it is women who will suffer most from lawless males.” This is seen in the history of pagan cultures and their tendency to crumble under the weight of licentiousness and the lowly place women had in it. Christianity raised women out of these “pagan cultures in which polygamy, arranged marriages, and oppression of women predominated, the church promoted the idea of monogamous marriage by free consent of both spouses.”
 Dennis Prager, Think a Second Time (New York, NY: Regan Books, 1995), 249.
 Harold Berman, Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 226.
…what [if any] are the negative affects of polygamy on society? Are there any secular, progressive, arguments against it? We will explore this a bit here as the main topic of this post. To wit, the later point is the first I wish to deal with right now… and it shows a lack of asking the above three questions any conservatively minded libertarian would. Take note that equality is the guiding force in this short — honest — look by a group of decidedly progressive persons:
That’s right. Trying to argue against something as arbitrary as a number (e.g., marriage is between two people) once you have argued against a clear delineation that nature has honed, such as gender… is useless. Gay Patriot eruditely explains that is one, then the other (take note the emphasized portion near the end):
…Commenter Richard Bell notes the following: Judge Cites Same-Sex Marriage in Declaring Polygamy Ban Unconstitutional.
Interestingly, the judge’s 91-page opinion cites a series of legal precedents that have gradually redefined marriage, and limited the ability of the state to define it. Almost as though there had been some kind of negative gradient, and the law had been gravitationally drawn to the lower end of the gradient as a result of the lack of adhesion on that gradient.
As a condition for becoming a state in 1896, Congress required Utah to outlaw polygamy, which is marriage between three or more persons. This case involved a family of fundamentalist offshoots of nineteenth-century Mormonism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints disavowed polygamy in 1890, and again in 1904, but some splinter groups continue the practice.
Waddoups’ opinion would not only cover such groups, however, but also Muslims or anyone else who claims a right—religious or otherwise—to have multiple-person marriages. He notes that the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy in its 1878 case Reynolds v. U.S., but said he cannot simply rest upon that decision “without seriously addressing the much developed constitutional jurisprudence that now protects individuals from the criminal consequences intended by legislatures to apply to certain personal choices.” (read more)
Since marriage is no longer about creating a stable environment for children, and has become (and this mainly the fault of heterosexual liberals) about personal fulfillment, validation, and access to social benefits, there literally is no constraint on how much more broadly it can be redefined.
Take note that religious freedom IS enumerated specifically in the Constitution, whereas… marriage between same genders and multiple partners is not. Why mention this? Because in order to get “equality” as the progressive left sees it, religious positions will need to be expunged. In doing so, one ends without liberty, freedom, and the like.
The American Trinity:
“Socialism values equality more than liberty” ~ Prager
Here you find agreement between people who you would assume would be at odds with each-other, but share a love for both:
✂ tradition of [all] cultures (“tradition means giving a vote to most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead” ~ G.K. Chesterton) [even Grecian thinkers argued for heterosexual unions];
✂ what made societies collapse in the past (our Founders were students of history);
✂ and what is the best ideal for our experiment in freedom.
This next great commentary comes from two people who you would never think would be in such agreement… a conservative evangelical apologist, and a libertarian gay-man. The commentary is about a different case, but is similar in many ways. Here is conservative apologist, Frank Turek, making a point about a similar case:
✶ “…imagine a homosexual videographer being forced to video a speech that a conservative makes against homosexual behavior and same sex marriage. Should that homosexual videographer be forced to do so? Of course not! Then why Elane Photography?….”
Now, here is the libertarian, conservative, guy[s] I know who blogs — GayPatriot:
✶ “…it’s a bad law, a law that violates natural human rights to freedom of association and to freely-chosen work. It is not good for gays; picture a gay photographer being required by law to serve the wedding of some social conservative whom he or she despises.”
Again, if “for ‘a’,” it must be applied to “b.” What comes from this ILLIBERAL EGALITARIANISM is a TOTALITARIAN view that all must think alike. But lets get to some of the harms this does to our society. Lets start with a well-known Canadian [gay] sociologist who is against raising same-sex marriage to that of equal status of heterosexual marriage. I am not here arguing against same-sex marriage, I do that elsewhere… but we are taking Paul Nathanson’s premise and applying it to polygamy:
One of the most respected Canadian sociologist/scholar/homosexual, Paul Nathanson, writes that there are at least five functions that marriage serves–things that every culture must do in order to survive and thrive. They are:
1. Foster the bonding between men and women
2. Foster the birth and rearing of children
3. Foster the bonding between men and children
4. Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
5. Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults
Note that Nathanson considers these points critical to the continued survival of any culture. He continues “Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, … every human societ[y] has had to promote it actively . … Heterosexuality is always fostered by a cultural norm” that limits marriage to unions of men and women. He adds that people “are wrong in assuming that any society can do without it.”
Polygamy, likewise, breaks down this OH-SO-IMPORTANT aspect that is crucial to a healthy society.
This is from the documentary “Banking on Heaven: Polygamy in Heartland of the American West,” and is a small portion that talks about the harm of polygamy to boys. We know of the harm to women and girls… but this aspect is often not realized. Boys who have no fathers because the men need less boys to get more wives.
We know about the damages to women in these polygamous families (see some resources below), but these family structures have consequences for men as well. This “trickle up” negative affect, then, brings us to this larger question involved in this “rubber stamp of approval” by society on “less than” the ideal:
➯ “is polygamy good or bad for the liberty, freedom [and the like], for the following generations?”
There are many resources showing the deleterious effects of polygamy on men and women. Two resources not pictured in my resources are Sons of Perdition (which is a digital download and follows the lives of three boys) and a movie (YouTube) from a ministry I highly recommend, Sacred Groves. What is pictured above are:
- Escape, by Carolyn Jessop;
- Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs, by Elissa Wall;
- Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife, by Irene Spencer
Here is a great interview with a woman who was in a polygamous community for many years, it is long, but to understand why something is or may be bad to society’s “net goals,” one needs to spend time reading, watching, reflecting, and the like (see more interviews of people personally impacted by polygamy and the cults, here):
In a recent dealing with this in our neighbor to the north, well known Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich ponted out the following facts about this “net benefit” in regards to the traditional understanding of hetero marriages involving one-man-and-one-woman:
…Increased crime, prostitution and anti-social behaviour. Greater inequality between men and women. Less parental investment in children. And, a general driving down of the age of marriage for all women.
These are some of the harms of polygamy (or more correctly, polygyny, since it is almost always men marrying more than once) that are outlined in a 45-page research paper by noted Canadian scholar Joseph Henrich, filed Friday in B.C. Supreme Court.
Henrich is uniquely qualified to look at polygamy’s harm. He’s a member of the departments of economics, psychology and anthropology at the University of British Columbia and holds the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution.
But he’d never really thought about it until this year when Craig Jones approached him. Jones is the lead lawyer in the B.C. government’s constitutional reference case, which will be heard in November by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman.
Another social harm that Henrich says is consistent regardless of whether researchers use data from 19th-century Mormon communities or contemporary African societies is that children from polygynous families have considerably lower survival rates. It seems polygynous men, rather than investing in their offspring, use their money to add wives.
“Monogamy seems to direct male motivations in ways that create lower crime rates, greater wealth (GDP) per capita and better outcomes for children,” Henrich concludes.
But what’s more surprising than his conclusions is his speculation that monogamy is at the root of democracy and equality.
He argues that as the idea of monogamy spread through Europe during the 15th century, king and peasant alike had the same rules and the idea of equality gained a foothold — at least among men.
With reduced competition for women, men began loosening their tight control over wives and daughters.
And with fewer unmarried men, the pool of soldiers that had previously been harnessed by warring rulers was reduced.
Even though this compelling argument goes far beyond the scope of the trial, it may make it even harder for polygamy’s advocates to convince the judge that its practice is benign.
When the above debate was happening in Canada, our radio talk-shows here in the states discussed the matter in-depth. Here is one such show from Michael Medved on the topic:
Michael and Lynn Wilder’s Testimony is in a book (Lynn’s testimony is on a DVD as well):
Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church and Apologia Radio speaks on the street and gives the Gospel to a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Mormon Temple in Mesa, Arizona. This is awesome audio! Listen in to this conversation that displays how to demonstrate that Joseph Smith is clearly a false teacher and how Mormonism teaches a false-god and false-gospel. This conversation is a wonderful example of apologetics and evangelism. Share this with your friends: Mormon and Christian!
This is how I put it in footnote #7 in my chapter on Mormonism:
Usually I make this point – that Heavenly Father was a mortal man – early in the conversation, and, will revisit this idea of Heavenly Father being a man born into a world of his own by stating the argument another way. I will point out that it is possible that their god owned a gas station, worked at a grocery store as a clerk, went to college, or,even like myself, could have been convicted of crimes and done jail time before becoming “exalted.”
While morning and evening newscasts from all three broadcast networks in the last few days have focused on anti-Mormon sentiment within the Republican Party that may hinder Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency, FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on Monday noted that self-identified Republican voters are substantially more willing to accept a Mormon President compared to Democrats.
FNC correspondent Carl Cameron observed that Democrats are “least tolerant” compared to Republicans and independents as he recounted the findings of a Quinnipiac poll:
But a Quinnipiac poll of voters taken this year says fully 68 percent of Republicans are comfortable with a Mormon President, as are 64 percent of independents. Democrats are the least tolerant, with 49 percent comfortable with a Mormon President.
By contrast, on Monday’s Good Morning America, ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl cited an ABC News poll as he only recounted numbers for Republicans:
In an ABC News poll earlier this year, the overwhelming majority of Republicans said a candidate’s faith should not be a factor, but 20 percent – that’s one out of every five – said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate if he is Mormon.
On the previous night’s World News Sunday, ABC’s David Kerley had similarly resisted divulging the views of Democrats:
DAVID KERLEY: We crunched the numbers from four years ago. With nearly half of the Republican primary defining themselves as evangelicals, only 20 percent of them voted for Romney.
DAVID MUIR: David, you mentioned where evangelicals stand, but Americans as a whole, have they moved at all, in your opinion, on the Mormon faith?
KERLEY: They have. The Republicans have, as well, David. In fact, our latest poll showed about 20 percent of those leaning Republican say they are less likely to vote for a Mormon, but, back in 2008, that number was 36 percent, so it certainly has dropped significantly. But for Romney, it’s those evangelicals he’s got to deal with.
On Monday’s The Early Show on CBS, correspondent Whit Johnson noted polling on Republican voters from four years ago after Mitt Romney gave a speech addressing his religious beliefs, and more recently:
Polls after that speech showed that 52 percent of Republican primary voters said that most people they knew would vote for a Mormon. [52 percent say yes, 33 percent no] Fast forward four years, and not much has changed, with about half saying the same. [45 percent say yes, 36 percent no]
On Sunday’s Today show, after noting that in 2007 Romney had to reassure “conservative doubters,” NBC’s Mike Viqueira showed on screen the poll numbers on the views toward Mormons of several religious groups, as he highlightd the views of evangelical Christians:
A recent survey shows about a third of white evangelicals would be less likely to support a candidate if they were Mormon. Despite the efforts of Romney and others, those numbers have hardly changed since the last campaign.
Below are transcripts of relevant portions of several stories from ABC, CBS, NBC and FNC from Sunday and Monday: