Introduction to Cults Part Three
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Mormonism Or The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
1. It's historical background.
a. The founder of Mormonism is Joesph Smith Jr. (1805-1844). At 1820, he claimed to have had a vision of God the Father and God the Son.
b. In his vision, he claims that he was told that all churches were abominations to God and he was being charged as a prophet to restore the true goespel to the world.
c. He then claim to have had a second vision in 1823 the angel called Moroni appeared to him and told him about a number of gold plates which he would recover and translate.
d. Smith then claimed the finally uncovered the plates in 1827 which were inscribed with "reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics" and he was able to do the translating with a huge pair of spectacles called the "Urim and Thummim" Note: The Urim and Thummin are actually objects used by priest in the Old Testament to determine the will of God (Exodus 28:29-30, Levites 8:8).
e. From 1827 to 1829 he "translated" these plates, and in 1830 he published the result as The Book OF Mormon and formed his church.
f. While awaiting trial for destroying a newspaper office, which wrote articles against him, an angry mob stormed the jail and killed him.
g. Brigham Young took over as the new "First President" and "prophet" of the church. He lead thousands of Mormons on a difficult journey until they arrived in Salt Lake City of Utah 1847, which is still their headquaters today.
h. He started the practice of polygamy and had 25 wives. The church finally stopped this practice in 1890 when the USA government threatened to confiscate their property. But they substituted this practice with "celestical marriages."
i. Currently, the Mormon church claims 10 million members worldwide (1999) and 60,850 missionaries in 2001.
2. The Theology of Mormonis.
a. Mormons claim not to be either Catholic or Protestant but to be the only true church. If it has not been for Joseph Smith, there would be no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
b. The Mormon Church has 4 accepted works, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Prince. The present prophet's words are also a source of authority but they put more trust in the words of the 3 books than the Bible.
c. They teach that Jesus Christ was a preexistent spirit like the rest of us. He was set apart from the rest by the first born of God. In short, Jesus is not the unique Son of God.
d. The Mormon doctrine of God is contrdictory to what the Bible teaches, as Mormons believe in many gods and teach that God himself was once a man. In short, Mormons are polytheistic in its doctrine.
3. The Book of Mormon - some problems.
a. Joseph Smith only allowed a few "witnesses" to see the alleged "golden plates". which were later taken up to heaven by the angel Moroni. There were no reliable witnesses of the plates.
b. The Book of Mormons purports to be a history of 2 ancient civilizations, which were located on the American continent. No proof is found that they ever exist.
c. They claim the Book of Mormon was buried in A.D. 428 but it contained about 25,000 words verbatim from the King James Version of the Bible written in 1611.
d. The book is full of historical and factual errors and about 4,000 word corrections have been made to it from the 1830 edition (which he claimed to be divinely given) to the current edition. Yet the Mormons claim that the bible is not very reliable compared to their Book of Mormon.
e. Many historians believe Joseph Smith plagiarized (copied) a romance book called Manuscript Found by Solomon Spaulding to write the Book of Mormon.
4. Other practices and believes of the Mormons.
a. One of the most bizarre practices of the Mormons is the baptism of the dead and the laying of hands on the dead. Since Mormons believe that baptism is necessary for salvation, they compile genealogies of the "Gentile" ancestors and baptize them by proxy (on behalf).
b. They also minimize hell and say that all men will go to one of the three heavens. Unbelievers go to the telestial heaven, religious non-Mormons go to the terrestial heaven, and good Mormons go to the celestial heavens and the highest reward for a Mormon is become a god and rule a seprate planet with his family.
c. The earth is one of several inhabited planets ruled by gods and goddess, who were at one time humans on other planets.
d. The Trinity consists of three gods born in different times and places, the Father begot the Son and Holy Spirit through goddess wife in heaven.
a. The Mormons have managed to grow in numbers because of its good reputation with the public of its high moral standards and emphasis on the family.
b. It also offers benefits to be a member, it offer social security and takes care of its members and has lots of programs for its members like sports, hobbies, music, dances, etc. With this it has low level of juvenile delinquency, testifying to the success of church-centered programs.
c. Young Mormon children are taught from young that it is their duty to the church to serve a mission from the time they leave high school.
d. Since the teaching of Mormonism cannot be reconciled with the Bible, Mormons can be delievered from this cults by an honest study of the Bible. They should be challenged to compare the Bible with the teachings of the Mormonism.
Sources: Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions and the Occults, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1990
Walter Martine, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 2003
Josh McDowell, Don Stewart, Concise Guide to Today's Religions.
This full article was written by a teacher in my Sunday School.
Note: Other Christian cults not covered by this lessons but you should be aware of:
1. Christian Science. (polytheistic, pantheist views)
2. The Unification Church of Moonies. (Rev Moon is the messiah)
3. Seventh Day Adventism (50:50: but funny teachings on keepinh the Old Testament commandments).
4. The True Jesus Church (origins - China, Oneness view, exclusivist)
5. The Local Church (origins = China, Oneness view, exclusivist)